26 November 2008

More News on the Soon-to-Be Bookish P & G Bar

The NY Observer has acted on the news first reported here that the classic Upper West Side tavern P&G Cafe will move to a new home at 78th and Columbus, a building that was once the lair of post-scandal Florodora girl Evelyn Nesbit.

Owner Steve Chahalis told the Observer—which has been on this story like a cheap suit since the beginning—a few more details. The new location is huge: 4,300 square feet, four times as big as the cozy P&G. It will have a stage for live music and a full kitchen, thus restoring food service to the bar which once used to serve eats along with suds.

"We’re going to do steak and chops—like the sign has said forever," Mr. Chahalis said. "We’re also going to do burgers. I make these awesome teriyaki garlic-saffron-rubbed burgers. We’re going to do chicken wings and legs. I make my own hot sauces. I make a buffalo sauce and a hot teriyaki." I'm getting a little excited.

But I'm also a little worried. Read this:

The new venue will also have a more refined look than the previous stripped-down dive. One corner of the new L-shaped space, for instance, will feature a fireplace, chess tables and shelves of books. “I want to really do it up like a man’s study in deep burgundy and walnut,” Mr. Chahalis said, explaining, “On Columbus Avenue, you can’t just open a shithole.”

Chess? Books? At the P&G?

I don't know.

Plus, Chahalis wouldn't talk on the record about whether he's taking the sign with him—which is in direct contrast to what he told Lost City reader (and blogger himself) Ken Mac. Even Robert Tierney, the lazy-ass jerk of a chairman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, has stated his "concern about the iconic sign." For me, the P&G can never be the P&G again without that sign. It must be save.


Anonymous said...

Despite your wonderful posts on Troy, N.Y., this blog really annoys me sometimes. The owner is trying to make some money and build a secure life for himself, and you've got to bitch about it. So his idea of a cool bar isn't the same as yours. You know what? He's the owner. Until you're ready to spend several years socking away every spare dollar until you can afford to get a space and furnish it, and then work about 16 hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life, and risk all your savings at the same time, please zip it. It's his money, not yours. You buy a place and you can do whatever you like with it.

As the old proverb goes, Those who can, do. And those who can't, blog.

BTW, the Landmarks Commission doesn't designate or regulate signs. So they have absolutely no role here.

Maybe you could buy the sign? Or start pushing for its preservation? Get in touch with Landmark West--they're always ready to raise a ruckus about something, and maybe they can help broker a deal for a new home.

"It must be save"? What the hell is that?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Yeah, Mikey, a lot of things annoy me, too. That's why I have the blog.

I think you misread the post. I want P&G to succeed. I want it to live again. My stating a few reservations about its future does not negate that fact. You mistake my criticism for censure. Not all editorial must be out-and-out cheerleading to be positive.

On other points, I know the Landmarks Commission doesn't designate signs. This, I think, is a serious oversight and should be amended. I'm not alone in thinking this. Also, I would buy the sign if I could. I would buy many signs if I could. I'd start a sign museum. But, as things now stand, I often have a tough time buying milk.

As for you're tired old proverb, I don't just blog, I do. Look at my profile. I'm a professional writer. I have been for 20 years. I blog because I find it fulfills a need I have that isn't satisfied by other writing avenues. Newspaper and magazine editors are very conservative and not particularly inspired; they would never be interested in the things I write about on Lost City. Blogs are no longer just forums for frustrated hacks (if they ever were). They are a legitimate field of written expression. At least, in my view.

Sorry this post annoyed you. I hope you keep reading and find some other posts you like better. And long live Troy!

Anonymous said...

Well, it's not just this post. I'm remembering your post about how you wanted to go to Katz's on a Sunday evening and considered their closing for a private party to be a personal affront. And I quote:

"What? A private party at Katz's? Sorry, but this is not right. Katz's is all about democracy. A big, sprawling place that could fit the population of a small village and where everyone is welcome and treated the same. It's (sic) very ambiance reeks of 'the people.' It should never be roped off for the benefit of some moneyed toffs. It's just wrong."

Um, unless democracy is about $16 reubens, Katz's is not about democracy. Katz's is a business, and it's primarily about making money for its owners instead of satisfying your personal vision of what Katz's is or what it ought to be. God forbid the owners try to make a few extra bucks during Sunday evening dead time. The restaurant business is hard enough; give 'em a break.

And, regarding ambiance that "reeks of 'the people,'" I get enough of that from the homeless guys on the R Train. No thanks.

Seriously, though, has Landmark West expressed any interest in the P&G sign issue? You might want to try getting in touch with them.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

You have a point. I think we're both basically on the same side. I want Katz's to survive. You want Katz's to survive. However it survives is fine with me, as long as it retains its true character. I just personally feel gentrification (which can take the form of private parties) tends to erode character. I also feel that places like Katz's are not just "businesses." I have to respectfully disagree that Katz's is "primarily about making money for its owners instead of satisfying your personal vision of what Katz's is or what it ought to be." Places like that deli have been around so long and are cherished by so many, the city would be so much poorer if they disappeared. They bear a responsibility to the public that goes beyond customer service and the mere making of money. The Brooklyn Dodgers were a business. The organization was about making money. Yet many Brooklynites were angry and felt betrayed when the team left. Were they wrong? I don't think so. And if the owner of Katz's sells out to someone who wants to build a condo tower, I will feel betrayed. I'm sure you'll probably disagree with me on this. A lot of my notions are not exactly practical. But that doesn't mean they're wrong. There's more to life in a city than making expedient business decisions.

If I hear anything about the sign, I'll be sure to post about it.