Thursday, December 15, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Sad news--Anthony Amato of the Amato Opera House has died. [EVG]

Thinking about Frank O'Hara. [PRD]

The Village's Casa Oliveira liquor store gets a fresh-painted neon sign. [NYN]

Tasting the chicken wings at the renovated Waverly diner. [MAD]

Trying out breakfast at the Waverly diner. [FIR]


James Campbell Taylor said...

The interior of the renovated Waverly Diner looks very different but how refreshing to see a restaurant close and reopen without losing its purpose or clientele. I hope they've also retained the signed photographs of deceased actors and long-since forgotten celebrities.

Bakerina said...

So I followed the "Stop Sugar & Plumm" link. Wow, that enterprise is *vile*. It screams "vanity project." The first location -- in a shopping mall in Paramus -- only opened in October 2011. And now S&P is not only moving into that block on Amsterdam Av., but they're also moving into that bigass complex in downtown Brooklyn, along with another prefab restaurant they own.

From there, I went to both S&P's website and to the blog that's attached to it. Good lord, talk about a whole lot of nothing. The blog posts, in particular, are just content-free, nothing but a lot of "OMG chocolate! OMG macarons! OMG waffles aren't just for breakfast anymore! Look, we're serving them with fried chicken!" And I say this as someone who loves an old-school candy store, any candy store, from Teuscher to Mondel's to Economy Candy. What S&P has created is something that looks like a candy store, a creperie, a restaurant, a fine French patisserie, but has no soul. For all the "OMG candy!," I see nothing here that says "We're here because we love everything about this food: making it, experimenting with it, sharing it with our community, listening to feedback from our community." The CEO admits as much: She may talk about loving the food she ate in Paris, but her motivation for opening the store was that she wanted a certain kind of retail experience, and dammit, she's gonna have it *her* way. Of course, pointing out that once upon a time, the City had glorious French pastry shops like Bonte and Colette, and those same shops would be unable to open in 2012 NYC, is an exercise in futility. And teeth-gnashing.

Yet, the thing that makes me angriest about all this? David Schatsky, the creator of Stop S&P, has been getting nasty mail from people who are patting S&P on the back for coming in and cleaning up an "eyesore" block (Amsterdam between 78th and 79th). The only reason that that block was an eyesore was because the building owner took a calculated risk that some big retailer would want to rent the whole block, so as his current tenants' leases came due, he just refused to renew them.

This is why the locksmith and the shoe repair and the sweet 24-hour restaurant left. It wasn't the economy that killed them. Their landlord emptied out that whole block, and then waited over a year for someone to come in and sign a lease. And now S&P has signed that lease, and is being treated like the savior of the block. I ask you. At least the Landmarks Preservation Commission pushed back. It's not enough, of course, but it made me feel a little less despondent.

(It's been 3 1/2 years since I left New York for California, and yet shenanigans like this still burn me up. As does Pinnacle Realty's transformation of Long Island City...but that's another rant for another time.