Continuing the tour of Yorkville survivors, next door to the Heidelberg restaurant is Schaller & Weber, a family-owned food and butcher shop specializing in wursts since 1937.
Its address, 1654 Second Ave, was originally listed on the MTA's deathlist of private properties to be seized for the Second Ave Subway. The "4-story residential with ground floor meat market" was meant to accommodate the 86th Street station entrance. Thankfully, someone came to their senses and, in a project update, eliminated this entrance, thus sparing the building. (Miraculously, the MTA has also decided to seize a Chase Bank and a Duane Reade! Imagine a city in which eminent domain only affected chains, banks, and luxury condos. What a concept.)
Nusschinken and Nivea
So Schaller & Weber will live on. They seem to be doing well. The place was very busy when I was there and they got some good press during the Pope's recent visit, thanks in part to Mr. Schaller's invention of the "Popewurst," a combination of bockwurst and bratwurst wrapped in a pretzel.
Although business was brisk for the lone cashier, when an elderly customer with a walker needed help getting out the door, the cashier left her post and held the door for the woman. No one in the line complained.
I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that these are the little moments that save us, that renew us and keep us feeling human, connected. When the city is completely taken over by Generation O, with their hollow brand of commerce, these moments won't happen anymore. And some essential part of us will simply die, quietly and with a whimper.
There is more Yorkville to come. Until then, check out ForgottenNY's tour for more Schaller & Weber.