Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Film Center Cafe

VANISHED

Todd in Hell's Kitchen tipped us to Michael Musto's report that the Film Center Cafe has closed--it's been here since 1933. Musto writes, "it's kaput... The sign outside thanks patrons for their years of support and urges them to go to the other eateries in the chain."


trishylicious' flickr

The cafe's Facebook page, as of August 7, says they're closed for renovations and will reopen in the fall.

I could not get a confirmation from the cafe owners and their telephone didn't answer--no "disconnected" message, no voice mail, it just rings and rings. The website remains up. But a call to their sister restaurant, Cara Mia, confirmed: "They're closed for good." So what happened between renovation plans on August 7 and closing for good? 78 years is a long time to survive and then just suddenly vanish.



Now this has me worried about the whole block.

Ninth Avenue between 44th and 45th has long been a haven of old New York in the shitstorm of the new. This block is also home to the Poseidon Bakery (since 1923), Rudy's Bar & Grill (since 1933), and Piccinini Brothers meats (since 1922). Combined with the Film Center Cafe's 78 years, that makes at least 333 years of small business history all together on one block.

Too often, when one falls, more follow, like teenagers during a suburban suicide cluster. Is it time for a death watch?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its upscale makeover was pretty stomach-churning. Good riddance.

maximum bob said...

You're right, that's a great block.
It does not bode well.
Remember Ninth Ave in the 35st to
41st area? There used to be a great
collection of food stores.
What still remains is the pork store, the International Grocery, where you can buy spices and staples
out of burlap bags, and one of the two previous fish markets, though it
has gone upscale and not any bargains anymore.

particular said...

I, too, am not surprised by the closing. The remake was a terrible mistake. What was once warm and inviting became cold and sterile. However, good food would have really helped. Drinks were always fine but the food was consistently mediocre. Where my heart breaks is what could possibly go in there -- not looking forward to that. Here comes another wings, beer, and 17 HD screens sports bar. Or, better yet, a Thai restaurant or bank. No fear for Rudy's or Poseidon leaving.

lauren said...

i stayed in NYC on west 43rd st/ninth ave. many years thru the 90s.- many xmases, had thanksgiving there in '08. havnt been there since. what a nice street ninth ave was! normal new york. dont understand what this "up scaling" term means. whats so downwardly mobile about some owner run business which sells practical things? whats so "upscale" about a sports bar? and why are these closing, the film center, groceries etc? the post was unclear. is it rising rents?? are they being evicted?

Anonymous said...

No! It was at the Film Center Cafe that I watched the Amazin' comeback in Game 6 of the '86 World Series. I haven't been in in years, but it was comforting knowing it was still there.

Stanford said...

Also worth noting, Rachel's, a longtime favorite on the east side of 9th Ave., between 43d and 44th, also closed this month. It re-opened this week as Patron, a Mexican restaurant.

MagWildwood said...

I love this part of Ninth Avenue. I forced visiting relatives at gunpoint to meet me there for dinner instead of in Times Square at one of the big-box chain restaurants. We strolled down the avenue on a lovely summer evening, window gazing at the old and new spots. Ended up at Uncle Nick's. Other patrons looked and acted like actual New York residents of several decades. No tourists that I could smell.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Film Center and had many a good time there. But I will always remember that clear, stunningly beautiful day, which turned to tragedy and devastation, on Sept 11, 2001, when walking all the way home from lower Manhattan with the other hoardes of people in shock, the Film Center was the place my sister and I rested, had a beer in silence, then left and walked the rest of the 3 miles home. Good-bye dear friend!

Anonymous said...

I went there with flm critic Ed Kelleher in the nineties. Nice memories. Nice district. Hope it will not turn like central Paris...

Jean-Pierre.

Kimberly Lawler said...

i just stumbled onto this page. I left NY 5 years ago and the changes I see when I return are staggering. I used to live on 49th and 9th and Film Center was my spot. So sad. Does anyone remember the name of the now defunct bookstore further up 9th? Maybe 55th? I can't remember exactly, but it was my sanctuary

Kimberly Lawler said...

So sad. I agree it had changed for the cheesier but in 2000 it was my spot. I lived on 49th and 9th and 9th Avenue was a bit off the grid. Does anyone remember the name of the now defunct bookstore a little further up 9th? Maybe 56th? I'm feeling nostalgic and can't summon it

Anonymous said...

worked there as a waiter in the 80's, great times. although I hated the manager and her husband the cook! :)