31 August 2008

Somewhat Encouraging News About Chumley's

Work has gone on so long on Chumley's, and so many promises of a coming reopening have come and gone, that many of us have given up all hope that the former Greenwich Village speakeasy, which collapsed and closed in April 2007, would ever see the light of day again.

However, The New York Times, which hasn't paid the attention it should, published an article on Aug. 29 that is slightly encouraging in that the parties involved don't seem to have cried "uncle" just yet. According to the story, the job has taken so long because, every time they think they've got all the structural problems covered, another ugly difficulty surfaces. Here are some excerpts:

The landlord, Margaret Streicker Porres... said the most recent timetable called for the work to be completed in "midfall of this year." But the contractors discovered still more problems earlier this month, and she said the architects and engineers had been conferring with the Buildings Department. [Partner] Mr. Miller said he now hoped Chumley’s would reopen early next spring — "or, if we’re lucky, late winter."

"They were always going to put up a new facade," he said, standing across Bedford Street, looking at the new front wall. The old facade "was always in bad enough disrepair that it needed to go down and come back up."

But far more work turned out to be necessary, including a new roof and a second wall...

There was also asbestos that had to be removed, Ms. Streicker Porres said, and a part of the basement that that had to be rebuilt. The foundation in the front, below the new facade, had to be replaced. And that was just in the front of the building. Ms. Streicker Porres said structural integrity had turned out to be a problem in the middle and the rear sections. "The conditions there are as bad or worse than what happened in the front of the building," she said.

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