Monday, February 19, 2018

Your Neighborhood Office


The emptying out of western Bleecker Street continues with the coming closure of Your Neighborhood Office store.

Last week, owner Helen Ann Lally sent an email to her customers to say:

"I am sorry to say that after 24 years, Your Neighborhood Office will be closing, effective Saturday, March 31, 2018. I have not come to this decision lightly, but I do know that it’s time for me to move on to the next phase of my life."

Unconfirmed, a couple of readers say it was the rent that did it. As we know, this end of Bleecker has been through hell in the past 5 - 10 years. First, almost all the independent small businesses were pushed out by high rents and un-renewed leases. They were all replaced by luxury shops, many of them global chains.

More recently, many of those luxury corporations decided to shutter their Bleecker locations. Storefronts have since sat empty, creating high-rent blight.

After the closure of Manatus and a few other small places on this block, Your Neighborhood Office was one of two shops that weren't luxury and/or a chain. Now there's just the Village Apothecary pharmacy, currently undergoing a renovation. And Manatus is still sitting empty--after four years.

Your Neighborhood Office is beloved by many--voted "Best Doorman Substitute" by New York and winner of a GVSHP Village Award. It will surely be missed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lanza's Murals

The great Lanza's restaurant shuttered in the summer of 2016. It had been in the East Village since 1904 and I miss it.

When we heard that Joe & Pat's pizzeria would be moving in, it seemed okay. I worried about Lanza's antique murals, but a peek inside showed they were being preserved under plastic during renovations.

A more recent peek shows the murals have been revealed--and they look good.

In the very back, the lady with one bared breast lives on.

Joe & Pat's has added two walls of vintage photos, presumably from their 57 years of family business on Staten Island.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NY Cake


NY Cake, the much-loved cake supply shop on 22nd Street near 6th Avenue is closing its doors.

"We're Moving," reads a sign in the window. They're not sure where they're going yet, but you can put your name on the mailing list to be notified.

A multi-generation family business, NY Cake was started by Joan Mansour in 1991-- it was previously known as the Chocolate Gallery in 1989.

The shop is a wonderland of cake supplies--shelves of sprinkles and sugars, racks of molds for making chocolate lollipops.

And lots of those plastic novelties for decorating cakes for every occasion.

They also have this amazing door, for reasons that remain a mystery:

I haven't been able to get through to NY Cake to find out why they're closing and hoping to relocate nearby. Back in 2011, they inked a 10-year lease extension, according to the Commercial Observer. “They’d been wonderful tenants,” said the landlord at the time. “The neighborhood is conducive to their business.”

The building has also been filling up with tech companies as the neighborhood changes.

Grub Street followed up on this story and reports:

“We have to be out by June; we’re looking for somewhere to go,” says co-owner and co-founder Lisa Mansour. “You can imagine the rent prices. I am looking diligently. Our old landlord passed away, and a niece and nephew took over a little before January. We never had problems before; we’ve been here 30 years.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

Artwashing the Sunshine's Demise

The Sunshine Cinema closed last month--bought by developers who plan to demolish the historic building and put up a glassy office tower that will surely help to further hyper-gentrify the neighborhood.

All photos by Herb Jue

On Thursday of this week, those developers, East End Capital & K Property Group, are hosting a party to celebrate--what exactly? Their triumph over history? The invitation says it's to "CELEBRATE THE LOWER EAST SIDE & PREVIEW OUR NEW OFFICE DEVELOPMENT."

I'm not sure how one can do both simultaneously.

Anyway, it's free and we're all invited.

The party will feature some artwashing--or poetry washing, I suppose you'd call it. Yes, poets are performing at a party thrown by luxury real estate developers to hype a project that is literally demolishing Lower East Side culture.

Some protesters might show up, but probably not.

This is the new Lower East Side.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hudson Diner Goodbye

As earlier reported, the Hudson Diner has closed.

A reader sends in these shots of one regular's heartfelt goodbye note, taped to the window below the roll-down gate:

We hear that Babu and much of the Hudson staff have moved on to the Moonstruck Eatery on E. 58th Street.

photo: Justin Hicks

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Boots & Saddle

There's a marshal's seizure notice on the door of Boots & Saddle, the popular gay and drag bar that's been in the Village for over 40 years, and fans are panicking.

I've been unable to reach the owner for comment, but people close to Boots on Facebook say the place is temporarily closed--there's a dispute with the landlord--and they hope to reopen soon.

As you may recall, the bar was priced out of its long-time home on Christopher Street back in 2014. They relocated to 7th Avenue South.

Court St. Office Supplies

Reader Mark Satlof writes in:

"Court St. Office Supplies here in Downtown Brooklyn is going. They say they will be closing in about two weeks and have been there 40 years. Old-school, old-fashioned stationery and everything else store. It's really a wonder, not a small store. Really a loss of the fabric."

On the shop's Facebook page, they write:

"Our shelves are emptying as we say goodbye, and the store has been full of well-wishers. We'll be closing in a few weeks, but we're staying in the office supply business. So like us on Facebook, join our email list or stop by just to say hello."

They will continue to run the shop online. Owner Jacob Gutman told Brooklyn Paper, “Our challenge has been the shift in how people purchase things these days. Our decision to close the store has nothing to do with rent.”

So blame this one on Internet shoppers.