Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Five Rose's Pizza

VANISHING

While I realize few people will be reading this tonight or tomorrow, I have some sad news to report: Five Rose's Pizza on 1st Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets is closing. Saturday (11/29) will be the last day.



The tip came in from The Shadow's Chris Flash who writes that the "pizza is soooo special, with that crunchy crust that no other pizzeria can accomplish. It reminds me of the pizza I use to enjoy in NYC as a kid that is no longer available."



I went to say goodbye and chat with Christina, the proprietor and cook, a warm and lovely person who will touch your arm when she talks to you and call you "honey" at least a dozen times. While I was there, people came to bid farewell, hugging Christina and posing for pictures. John from DeRobertis across the street came bearing pastries.

Christina has been at Five Rose's for 27 years. It was her first job when she arrived in New York City from Poland in 1981. Eight years ago she became the owner. Now the landlords and original owners are hiking up the rent and Christina must move on.

[UPDATE 1/09: A daughter of the original owner wrote in to The Villager to correct information in a letter: "The fact is that the store’s current owner informed us that she was not going to continue running the store and that she would be closing. Since there was no discussion about future rent, her rent was not increased! She just decided to close." Upon the shop's closure, her family displayed historic, personal photos in the window, as reported by EV Grieve.]



The neighborhood has changed so much, Christina noted. The sidewalks are crowded with kids come to get drunk. It used to take her 10 minutes to walk to the F train, now it takes 20, "And all the way, it's excuse me, excuse me--they're bumping into me, all the way down honey!"

Christina is looking forward to a much needed vacation of 6 weeks in Krakow to visit family. She hopes to move the pizza place to a new location by March or April, maybe on 4th Street and Avenue A. She'll keep us posted with a note in the window of Something Sweet, the bakery on the corner.

She laments the timing, and the fact that many people will come back to town from Thanksgiving and be shocked to find her gone. So if you're in town and not too stuffed with leftover turkey, go on Saturday when Christina will be setting up a table full of pies for all her fans--and while you're there, say a prayer to the Virgin Mary that Christina's crunchy-crust pizza will live to see another day.

28 comments:

Jill said...

This is absolutely devastating news. Many years ago a friend gave me a tip that they sell fresh pizza dough (last I checked it was only $3 but that might have been a while ago) to make your own pizza or calzone at home. It was always good for a fun and easy meal. They also had really good rice balls and pasta dishes. Oh... I'm so sad....

Anonymous said...

i always go here for the square slice that is vegan by default. i never understood why there weren't more folks there. i might be there tomorrow with my super8 camera. i love the mother mary and i love the owner... another place gone... -steph.g.

Marlie said...

Please relocate and stay in the area--I remember Rosemary and her daughters also working very hard for many years there too--I love this place--garlic soup and those lovely women who peeled garlic for hours for the soup...

Anonymous said...

Greed in the Apple is killing our neighborhoods. Places like this give a neighborhood its flavor and personality. I guess that change is inevitable but it just makes me sick. -Angel Elf

julie wilson said...

ugh!

AirPilot said...

I used to eat there years ago when the whole family was working there. Mama and papa would sit at the round, plastic covered table and peel hundreds of bulbs of garlic. The pizza was great, tasty with just the right amount of charred crust. Another part of affordable NY bites the dust.

chris flash said...

I don't know how many readers are aware of this, but it is the original Five Roses owners, who own the building and have family members living upstairs, who are raising the rent to something like $9,000 per month. (That means selling 120 slices per day, assuming that the slices cost nothing to make!)

I don't know who they THINK is going to rent for that kind of money (banks and Starbucks generally prefer corner locations), especially in the current economic meltdown.

So, like other greedy landlords, not only are they killing a small business that is part of the community, they're also going to hurt themselves by having an empty space that pays NO rent for a very long time.

Wherever Christina reopens, I'll be there!

L'Emmerdeur said...

Between Black Friday stampedes and landlords living in rent-jack lala land, I see we are only in the first stages of the collapse.

This retard landlord will be begging Christina to move back for $1000 a month very soon.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how long the biz has been in place, including the time the original owners spent there? so it's like at least 30 years old!!?! wow. i tried scrounging for more history on the 'net but can't seem to find anything. like, the mother mary, was that there before the current owner? i guess is should ask cristina today myself... --steph.g.

Jeremiah Moss said...

let us know what you find out steph. but, yes, i can say the madonna belongs to the italians who ran it before. it's not going with christina.

Marjorie said...

I love this blog. I found it quite by accident, while trying to find the name of what I now know is the Gordon Novelty Shop. I passed Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop today and I actually stopped in my tracks and said, "What year is this?" I thought I had time traveled. I was euphoric. Then, I saw the T- Mobile store and my happiness was short-lived.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks marjorie--glad you found it. i'm enjoying checking out your shots from the 1970s.

Marjorie said...

lHi, Jeremiah. My blog is filled with personal photos. In order to see some of the material from long ago you have to go back and dig through older months at my blog. I even have up a letter from 1928 that my grandmother wrote to my mother. Did you see "the photo that gets an encore?" Try to take a look because I think that the area will be turned into an esplanade and park.

chris flash said...

Hey everybody,

I passed Five Roses today (Monday)(it was closed yesterday) and saw that everything inside has been put into piles to be sold at auction this afternoon. Christinia was there, feeling rather sad, and I felt sad for her.

Mike G said...

Absolutely devastating news. Saddest closing since Chez Brigitte. I was in a few weeks ago and had a lovely slice of sausage pizza and a cup of lentil soup. While there, some young girl rather rudely ordered her dish, complaining about her wait the whole time. Fiarly indicative of the neighborhood today.

I wish her much luck.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel bad for her. The pizza sucked. Businesses that suck go out of business. Sucky businesses that go out of business get memorialized on this silly blog.

Marjorie said...

Anonymous? May I conclude nostalgia is not your strong interest? May I also conclude that visiting silly "Willoughby" is not on your travel itinerary for the near future?

Anonymous said...

I loved 5 roses! I guess jerkyboy "Anonymous" must like Dominoes. That was some real New York pizza. Like you used to find all over. Whoever you are, go back to where you came from. You "don't feel sorry for her"? What are you like 8 years old? In case you haven't been paying attention lately, the free market does not correct itself...Greed has destroyed that theory.

Anonymous said...

Greed is good. Fuck all your whiners. YOU LOSE.

Anonymous said...

Sorry dude ...You lose. Loser. Your money is all tanked in a losing capitalist "free" market. You are the whiner..."I don't feel sorry for her" oh boo hoo we feel so sorry for you that you don't care. Poor guy don't you have any friends to tell. Oh, I guess they don't care either. You're one of those idiots that watched the movie Wall Street and thought it was real...Ha ha...the guy who wrote that movie was amazed that anyone thought the "Greed is good" theory was serious! The Douglas character was the bad guy. What a moron!

Anonymous said...

Wait until the boards go up and nothing replaces these restaurants. There will be a run on 8x8 plywood soon. THE COMING DEPRESSION NEWS REPORT

Anonymous said...

Between David's Bagel and now Five Roses, I don't even know where to begin. I've been a teacher at PS 19 (Asher Levey between 11th and 12th St) for eight years. Both of these establishments supported us with food for holiday parties, PTA functions, and fundraisers. They were true community supporters and set a wonderful example for our students...what's happening to the East Village? What ashame. It's losing its character in a NY minute.

Anonymous said...

This is sad, I used to call "Five Roses" the best slice in the Entire Universe. I hope Christina will find a new storefront she can afford.

Anonymous said...

So very sorry and sad Christina is gone - that is indeed a tragedy - she was a nice comfy fixture.
Shame on the landlords !
They knew her for so many years and this is what they did to her !
Bah Humbug !

George said...

Christina is a wonderful person. I have eaten at 5 roses since 1983 and Christina was Always there with a smile unlike the origional owners. I will miss the amazing food but most of all the warm and wonderful Christina. I wish her well in the future. I am sad.
George

Linda said...

I passed by this morning after dropping my daughter off at Beacon on E. 12th St. (She graduated from PS 19 last spring) and was devastated at the sight of 5 Roses closed. I wish I'd known so I could have had one last slice and said goodbye. Thanks for the announcement and this blog!

I passed by Love Saves the Day last week and saw the sign that they are closing for good in January. I can't stand it. What is the neighborhood, and the city turning into? Astroland too. My daughter was heartbroken about David's Bagels, another PS 19 after school snack place. Where will it end? Another slick new storefront or boarded up windows?

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking today about how much I missed 5 Roses today, so I googled it to see if anyone else missed it as well... I didn't know it was closing; Christina never told me... sounds out of character for the landlords to raise the rent so high, as they opened the place years ago,and seem to have a high regard for old family traditions... truth be told, when they ran it the pizza was the best in the city... Christina never changed the recipes and she kept that old neighborhood pizza as intact as she could in her failing business... the neighborhood will of course never be the same... we have lost so many great places...and the replacements never will have the character or the staying power of the family businesses that made the east village attractive in the first place...but the newer influx is as transient as the businesses they support...no more family run businesses where the owners live upstairs or own their buildings... Rosemarie and her husband opened that business, and her mom sat at a table peeling garlic for YEARS before Christina took over...and the cheese really used to stretch when you bit into a slice...the way it does in the movies, and the way it is supposed to...they were there in the early 70's when my first dog used to run away from home to turn up at their window (they used to have a window they served from) begging pizza... I always knew where to find her...wow..I could go on... I guess I was just wondering where I could find a good slice in my neighborhood...ordered from Nick's on St. Marks and A... had a fly on the bottom of the crust...lucky I found it..when I tried to return it they denied that it was their pizza... ugggg... St. Marks and 1st Avenue is o.k...but not the great crust or sauce from Rosemarie's... still lamenting the great slice void in our neighborhood...

Anonymous said...

Krystyna has semi-retired and now lives in Negril Jamaica where she still makes the best pizza on earth! You can find her at the 23-7 Bar on the beach in Negril happily making pizzas and sipping Pina Colodas! See you in Jamaica!