Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christine's

What's going on with Christine's Polish restaurant in the East Village?

A reader wrote in to say: "Christine's, at 208 First Avenue, closed recently. My friends and I ate there the very first day it opened back in the long-ago summer of 1982, and I can still clearly remember how the addition of just a new Polish coffee shop to what was then a really hardcore neighborhood could bring about such a sense of euphoria and excitement. (Little did we know what lurked ahead.) And now it's gone, leaving only Neptune (formerly KK's) on that stretch of upper First to carry the pierogi and blintzes torch."



But is Christine's shuttered for good? I went for breakfast at Neptune's and the waitress told me it's been "closed, like, forever." How long? "About two weeks," she clarified.

A photo on flickr shows it gated in mid-September with signs reading, "Closed for Renovations." But those signs are gone now, the place is empty and kind of trashed, with no sign of renovations in progress. So what's the story? Have we lost, along with Teresa's, one of the last of our Polish coffee shops?



From Allen Ginsberg's "Charnel Ground":

...Meanwhile the upstairs meth head shot cocaine & yowled up
and down
East 12th Street, kicked out of Christine’s Eatery till police cornered
him, ‘top a hot iron steamhole
near Stuyvesant Town Avenue A telephone booth calling his deaf
mother – sirens speed the way to Bellevue –
past whispering grass crack salesman jittering in circles on East 10th
Street’s
southwest corner where art yuppies come out of the overpriced Japanese
Sushi Bar -- & they poured salt into potato soup heart failure
vats at KK’s Polish restaurant...

20 comments:

Steph said...

It's closed. I walked by about 1 1/2 weeks ago and they were having an auction to get rid of everything inside ie pots, pans, chairs, tables. I took a blurry photo on my cameraphone to send you but it didn't do justice.

KnicksBasketballNY said...

1982?

Is that the year FRANK STALLONE released his now CLASSIC song FAR FROM OVER?

That song f*cking rules!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The cold red borscht rocked my world for almost 4 years. Sad...

Be said...

This sucks. My girlfriend and I used to go there for breakfast all the time this past year, it's right next to her old apartment. We need more Polish diners, not less. Basta.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ms. Quinn will turn it into a chic eatery for Ms. Burden and fellow elites.

BTW, whatever happened to Frank Stallone?

knicksbasketballny said...

Frank Stallone by now, probably has already done what every other self respecting native New Yorker has done by now...

Moved the hell out NY!

kitfisk said...

I'm pretty sure that Christine's -really- closed about 7 years ago, I heard they were having some tax trouble...

It was then re-opened by its new owners in the smaller, renovated space, roughly 1/2 the size of the previous Christine's. The new owners were a waiter and waitress from the previous version.

I can't speak for the newly closed Christine's, but the old version had my favorite pierogis in NYC.

They also had a great breakfast special for three bucks! And it was always served by a FOB hottie that made us want to travel to parts East..

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks for clarifying. i thought it closed yrs ago, too, then reopened with the new awning. wasn't the old one red and white with a castle or something on it?

kitfisk said...

Yes - that's the one! It took up two storefronts, and was kinda separated in the middle.

Jeremiah Moss said...

wish i had a pic of it

hntrnyc said...

hey kitfisk, neptune still has the FOB hotties in spades. been eating there since the late 80's. nice outdoor garden in back. i gave up on veselka a long time ago and pledged b'fast allegiance to the poles.
if neptune closes.......man i don't even want to think about it.

Anonymous said...

I used to like Neptune--my go to spot--but they fired their longstanding manager about a year ago--she was the best and they fired alot of the former staff and brought these younger blonder shittier types in--don't like it so much and I don't go there anymore--

z. said...

I still like Little Poland on 2nd...

Anonymous said...

Frank Stallone is currently appearing on the reality TV show Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Wrestling. He looks much better than Sly at this point, but he just doesn't have the balls needed to be on a wrestling show. Surprisingly, the show is pretty entertaining!

rao said...

theresa's was always my favorite; i'm still mourning that loss. but don't forget about polonia, they make a mean pancake w/ fruit, & cheap!!!

Eugene said...

Losing Christine's is a tragedy for the East Village. It is such affordable ethnic restaurants which once gave the entire area its unique character, one which is quickly eroding. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Not only Christine's, but David's Bagels, just a few blocks up 1st Avenue, has now closed. It had phenomenal bagels (gigantic, puffy, chewy) and was a beloved neighborhood institution. I think a Hot and Crusty on the same corner probably killed it. Unbelievable.

Jill said...

I never thought the 2nd round of Christine's was as good as the first. I can't count the number of breakfast specials I ate there. Cheap and reliable. Wasn't there a painting on the wall that was presumably barter for meals. I wish I could remember which painter. It wasn't a very good painting, and was faded and gooey.

Anonymous said...

Frank is much larger than Sly where it matters ...surprisingly so and like a fine Veniero's canoli ...really full! luscious in fact! I miss Christine's! I am so hungry for kielbasa as u might have guessed.
Vicadeen Jones

xenopoeta said...

When I came to NYC at the age of 25, in 2001, I started out working at the Strand and living in the north Bronx. I would take the 4 train downtown to get the breakfast special every day at Christine's for $2.10 (challah french toast, orange juice and coffee) Then I'd go to work. Afterward, there would always be a lot of people hanging out at Union Square lighting candles for the 9/11 victims, and having conversations about the war. It was an interesting time. In 8 years, NYC has changed quite a lot, and I'm sure it had changed quite a lot before me.