30 October 2007

In Tribeca, Old Ain't That Old

Can this be right. The Sun reports that Delphi Restaurant, the oldest continually running eatery in Tribeca, will close its doors tomorrow, Oct. 31.

It opened its doors in 1970.

The oldest restaurant in Tribeca is 37 years old? I'm older than it.

I guess that makes sense. Tribeca, as a residential neighborhood, only gained traction about 20 years ago. It's lousy with restaurants now, but in the past was all industry, like butter and eggs and such.

The cause written on Delphi's death certificate was a familiar one: greed. The restaurant's landlord woke one day recently and realized he was running short about $44,000 a month and needed some walking around money. So he upped Delphi's monthly rent from $11,000 to $55,000. $55,000.

Where do these guys get the gaul? I ask you?

So, who has $55,000 a month? David Bouley, apparently. He's going to open an upscale Japanese-themed restaurant called Brushstrokes (ugh. awful name.) in the space. Bouley's already got two restaurants across the block. But, hey, doesn't every Manhattan block need three Bouley restaurants? That way you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at three different places, never have to take the subway and never leave Bouleyland.


emily said...

it's already closed actually. i work near there and had seen a sign up thanking its customers for 37 years and then yesterday all the tables were down and they there cleaning. i was really bummed - i never even got the chance to eat there!

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to imagine that any restaurant can handle a rent of $55K per month, even one run by David Bouley.

Greg said...

You can't expect the landlord to charge 500% less than the market will bear for sentimental reasons. If someone came to you and said, look, I'll give you $40,000 a month, or pay for the Delphi to stay open, I really doubt you would choose the latter. The problem of the obliteration of NYC's character has to do with changes in the global economy, not with landlords having "gaul." If we don't like how unfettered capitalism works, then we have to change the system, not chastise individuals.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Actually, I can and I do and I will expect people (even landlords, who are barely people) to have other motivations and considerations than greed. And I can honestly say that that, if I were the landlord, I would think twice, thrice and four times before kicking out a good and worthy tenant who contributed history and loyalty to the community before taking on another simply because they waved a lot of cash in my face. As for the global economy, what planet are you on? Do you really think New York's cultural heritage is being raped because of an abstract notion like the global economy. That Delphi landlord isn't the puppet of the capitalist system. He has a will and a mind of his own. He's no victim. People always use "That's the way the capitalist system works" as an excuse for feckless amorality. No system of government, however good or bad, should be used as an excuse for people to cease taking responsibility for their behavior and actions.

Greg said...

It has a lot to do with the global economy. Because the dollar is so weak, and because New York is increasingly seen as one of the few leading international cities, foreign investors are helping to drive up the cost of everything dramatically. The reason we have $55K/month restaurants is because we have a population of super-wealthy who are enriched by the status quo.

I never said the landlord was a victim, or that money should be his only consideration. I just don't expect him to take a 500% pay cut to keep Delphi open, and I doubt you would either.