The cafe The Adore at 17 East 13th Street closed in early December. The gate is down, a FOR LEASE sign is up, and there's a note covered with tearful customer goodbyes.
I never went there, but was fascinated by the old signage out front that says ERSKINE PRESS. Walter Grutchfield reports that Erskine opened here in 1911.
Sometime after Erskine, The Villager (?) moved in. When it moved out, Anais Nin and Gonzalo More brought in Gemor Press in 1944.
Nin writes about it in her diary:
Nin worked at the press eight hours a day and complained about it throughout her Diary. During this time she saw a lot of Russian movies, underwent psychoanalysis, and hoped for news of Hitler's death. She printed Under a Glass Bell and published a book of poems by the Syrian poet Berthie Zilka with a red suede cover. She struggled to "keep the press afloat."
In the fall of 1944 the press was harassed by a man "carrying some kind of a badge" and claiming to be a "night watchman." He told Nin that every shop in the neighborhood paid him for his protection and if Nin didn't pay they'd be burglarized. Nin refused and the next day the shop's plate-glass window was shattered. They fixed the window and it was shattered again. Getting drunk with the night watchman, however, got him to back off and he provided his protection for free.
But life at the press was taxing for Nin. In October she wrote, "I am smothering under the weight of the press." Gonzalo wasn't doing his job, claiming, "I'm an old anarchist. I cannot be disciplined," so Nin had to take time away from her writing to manage the business, which she resented.
I'm not sure when the press closed. Perhaps in the late 1940s. And what moved in to 17 E. 13th after that, who knows?
As for what's to come, I'll let a Yelper say it: "There's a liquor permit plastered to gate. This cozy place was my ace to escape the chaos of Union Square. Sad how something so adorable will be replaced with something expensive and lame."