Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Andrews Gone

Last August I visited the last of the remaining Andrews Coffee Shops in the city. There were two at the time. And now--there is one.

This week, in an Eater post about a new "dark dining concept from Paris" and its "fall arrival at a former Andrew's Coffee Shop," I recognized the blue sign above the papered windows as the lovely little Andrews on 38th. Apparently, it has closed, I guess sometime this past year.

August 2010

It's regrettable. It was a good, out-of-the-way place, cheap and neighborly. As I described it last summer: "It had a slightly desultory air about it. No one was pumping happiness into the place. There were no flatscreen TVs screaming and no bouncy music. The song on the radio when I walked in was singing from 1990, 'If you don't love me, why don't you let me go?' Here, they let you eat in peace."

So much for all that.

At the time, I wrote, "If I had to bet which Andrews will be next to vanish, I'd say it's 38th Street, for all of the above reasons. It's not loud enough, not obnoxious enough to survive."

Sorry to win that bet, but those are the hallmarks of doom--agreeable and quiet? Doomed.

August 2010

As for what's to come, writes Eater: "they will serve a $65 prix fixe" and "have diners enter the room via a conga line... Also there are panic buttons."

I feel panicky just thinking about it.

Read more about Andrews:
Andrews Remainders
Andrews Coffee Shop


Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

In 50 years someone will be crying over a coffee shop as much as we see one destroyed and erased now. Does anyone remember the Central Diner on 4th Ave between 13th St and 14th St? Or the Central Diner on Broadway and 28th St? Of course not, they were just good eateries of the 1960-70s that functioned and served its purpose. Tears are futile. Have another cup of joe elsewhere.

EV Grieve said...

Why are foodies so retarded?

JAZ said...

Yes, those are the hallmarks of a doomed diner. God forbid, people want to sit down somewhere and just eat the fucking meal without having their sense of sight and sound assaulted endlessly.

I guess when you look around in public and see everyone's face buried in a 'smart' phone, it doesn't surprise me to see us all be catered to like a bunch of impatient infants in need of constant visual stimulation.

Alana said...


kateoverseas said...

I remember reading about the blind-dining thing a couple of years ago--apparently the restaurant in Paris was staffed by the local School for the Blind students. Certainly kind of a gimmicky experience, but sounded like an interesting the Exploratorium's Tactile Dome, but tastier.

Jeremiah Moss said...

JAZ, we are so fucked. everything is turning into this. i can hardly get through the previews in a movie without closing my eyes and plugging my ears. and then i really feel old! but it's another visual, aural assault. there are so many.

maximum bob said...

In 1976 I got my first job in NYC at
EUE/Screen Gems at 222 E.44 St.
Next door was an Andrews coffee shop where I used to grab breakfast.
The city back then was like another
world. It was more human, homelier,
a little frayed around the edges, but infinitely more interesting.
Now it's a conga line for douchebags.

Warren Bobrow said...

You've gotta love the city planners. I sat in Times Sq. yesterday for several hours...taking it all in.

New York has changed. So has the world. I bemoan the city I love every day. I've written that NYC has become a parody of itself. This is never more true than in Times Square.

Later in the day I found myself in the South Street Seaport area. Although filled with historic buildings and ships, this area has lost its soul. I pine for at least a few prison barges on the river!

James Taylor said...

Jeremiah, did you hear about this?

Reading this article made me nauseous.

Jeremiah Moss said...

god--when they finally kill cash completely, we'll all be living in the Handmaid's Tale.

Eli Balin said...

Track down some articles from the past year about the current problems with the Seaport Museum. The fate of the ships isn't a guarantee, and it's hard to imagine that the cluttered barges from which I and many other volunteers worked on maintaining them will fit into Bloomberg's plans for transforming the East River waterfront.

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm tempted to go just to press the panic button, but I doubt I will.

Mitch Broder said...

I liked having Andrews to look at — but not to eat in. I visited the (now deceased) one on John Street awhile back and was served perhaps the worst coffee shop food ever. It was sad, but they had let themselves go. At least we still have others — Viand, Astro, Utopia, Red Flame — that are still vital. But not too vital.

Anonymous said...

Used to go to an Andrews on lower 5th, around 17th or 18th. Has it gone? A conga line of diners????

How many years of NYC history has Mayor Mike steamrolled out of existence?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I don't know if you're joking or not but then I realize the joke is on us and it all turns out to be true. Conga lines - that's what need.

Ed said...

I have to agree with Mitch Broder. I happened to work for awhile near the Andrews on John Street, and again near one of the ones in the Garment District area. I would go twice and then not bother. I found the food to be mediocre at best and overpriced.

I think the idea of Andrews was much better than the reality.

Michael Simmons said...

Dear JAZ and Jeremiah,

20 years ago I read an interview with the great guitarist and film scorer Ry Cooder in which he said he could no longer stand going to the movies. I paraphrase but he said something to the effect that he leaves the theater "feeling beat-up."

And that was 20 years ago. Noise has become a popular drug. If the douchoisie isn't getting stimulated on multiple fronts, apparently boredom sets in. Hence -- among other things - the decline in book reading. Check out the "flashing lights" monologue in Mike Leigh's film "Naked."

A fellow member of the curmudgerati

onemorefoldedsunset said...

I was at the City Light diner on Tenth Avenue this week, & ended up talking to the saddest diner owner you could imagine. The place was almost empty, & he said no young people came in any more, but that they'd be sorry when they got into their fifties & there were no diners left. Don't know about that, but this guy was completely done in by fatigue & the changing demographic of Hell's Kitchen.

Michael Simmons said...

Here's the "flashing lights" monologue, aka "the bored" speech from "Naked."

MagWildwood said...

Wow. I came to Jeremiah's site precisely to report that Andrew's on 38th Street is gone. I discovered it this week and was so depressed. The last time I was there was early summer, which was about the fifth time I'd been there since December 23. When I went on Dec. 23 I had not been there ever before. As I was paying for my meal I asked the cashier if they would be open for Christmas Eve and he said something like "Nah, not busy enough." I couldn't believe it wouldn't have been swarming with shoppers a decade ago. I really enjoyed going there the few times I did this past year. It was a true haven for me. It was NOT CROWDED. There was no stress about being pushed out the second you finished your coffee. People sat there and leisurely talked to each other or read a newspaper. IT was truly a wonderful experience. Food wasn't bad. Decor dingy, but not unclean. I"m so freaking sad. Some of us want to retreat to a place like an Andrews rather than perch on dainty chairs in the middle of freaking Broadway clutching a Crappuccino like it's a slurpee and tweeting facebooking blackberrying mindlessly.

I'd like to find a list somewhere of coffeeshops in Manhattan that are still around. By coffeeshop by the way I mean like the Cosmic Coffeshop at Columbus Circle; a Two Guys; Viand, etc. I notice more and more whenever I ask someone on the street if there's a coffeeshop nearby, they will answer with, "Yeah, there's a Starbucks a block over." People don't even know what coffeeshop means anymore.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I love the Andrews Coffee Shops.

Willow said...

JAZ and Jeremiah, couldn't agree more re: constant assault on the senses.

I don't live in NY, but I find the same problem in the city where I live as far as any little scrap of undeveloped nature. It's like everything has to be turned into an amusement park ride for bored people with too much money.

I think the flashing lights incessantly boring into our brains have gotten tenfold worse after the switch from analog to digital. I can't watch movies or most television for that very reason. It's seizure-inducing, and I think it actually starts to turn people digital. haha Less hunan, that's for sure.