Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fate of J.J.'s Navy Yard

Our friend at One More Folded Sunset points us to a recent New York Times Living In profile of "the two-block-wide semi-industrial neighborhood of Wallabout," which has, apparently, been "coming into its own." And you know what that means.

Embedded in the story is this stomach-churning bit of information about J. J.’s Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge: "its new owner plans to lease to a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Subway."

Dunkin Donuts and Subway? It's a double whammy.


SWTCurran

J.J.'s Navy Yard closed in 2010 after over a century in business.

Once catering to the men who built warships for World War I and II, in its final days, it continued to serve as a second home to locals and Navy Yard laborers. So not much changed here between 1907 and 2010--except maybe for the addition of scantily clad dancing girls.


still from New York Dive (go to 2:33)

I never took the chance to go inside (still kicking myself), but filmmaker Reed Korach did for his movie New York Dive.

He interviewed the owner and one of the dancers, who said, "people come here, some people need somebody actually to sit and talk, it's not just all about the dancing and feeling up on nobody. Some people just need that common, you know, communication."


E.V. Grieve

E.V. Grieve went in, too. He recalls, "Eventually around 10 p.m., a lot more women are suddenly in the bar... they walk in, talk with the bartender, spend a lot of time in the women's room. Soon, there are anywhere from five to 10 women va-va-va-vooming around in lingerie, bikinis, etc. Oh! They're all very outgoing, especially when there are just two of you in the bar.

Every few minutes Delicious or Cinnamon or Diamond walks up and asks again if you'd like a dance."


Google streetview, 2011

You're not going to get any of this at Dunkin Donuts. And you're not going to get it Subway, either.

They’re taking away a piece of history,” said owner Steve Frankel when the building was sold for $3 million. He told filmmaker Reed Korach, "If I close everything down, what am I gonna do, sit on my couch and get fat and dumpy? I don't want to do that. I'm not ready to die yet."



gutted and glassed--Brownstoner, 2011

20 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Ha. Well, this seems about right given the way things are going.

Anonymous said...

I guess you can't keep a business space going without actual customers. Where are all the people who care that would go in there to save it?

Jeremiah Moss said...

the clientele was largely working class people of color.

i'm not sure business had much to do with the closure--the building was sold.

Anonymous said...

Historically this was a very dangerous neighborhood.

Sig. Nonloso said...

Just wanted to let you know that I listed your blog as one of my five favorites (on veneziablog.blogspot.com). I think the procedure is for you to now list 5 of your own favorites in a post--if you like. Is this like a chain letter? But there are no threats if you choose not to.
Anyway, I enjoy your blog, heart-breaking as it often is, and absurd as it seems to me that the huge city I lived in from '93 until very recently should be disappearing more rapidly than the long-threatened and tourist-overrun tiny city where I now live. When I feel homesick for NYC I remind myself I'd need a time machine to get back to the place I miss...

Sally Anne Syberg said...

Does anyone NEED another Subway and Dunkin' Donuts? I think not.

Anonymous said...

IT was located DIRECTLY across the street from Steiner studios, the nicest film sound stages in the city.

I can't tell you how many times an actor/celebrity, working there, for the first time, would ask "Hey, where can I grab a beer around here?"

And then they'd walk in...

and then they'd never speak of it again.

Hilarious!

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm sorry I never made it to this place. Now that it's going to be a combo Subway/Dunkin' Donuts I'll stay far away.

laura said...

these new businesses are targeted to the same working class.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they're here for the 'working' class; the startup and 'creative' people spending their investor' s and mommy and daddy's working money.

Brendan said...

Anonymous, read the post. We're talking about Dunkin Donuts and Subway. Laura is right.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I read the post. Laura is right. It's for the 'working' class, alright. Still spending the investor' s and mommy and daddy's money, regardless if they' re on Dunkin' or Subway.

BJ Weedman said...

Laura I love you.

Anonymous said...

I never eat at dunkin donuts or subways. Why not a Mamoun's falafel? Delicious and a good price.

Brendan said...

People with investors or family money do not go to Dunkin Donuts or Subway.

Anonymous said...

Of course people with investor' s or mommy and daddy' s money don' t go to Dunkin' or Subway. Sure. Are they 'working' class? Sure.

laura said...

my grandfather worked @the navy yard. sheet metal worker. i am confused, is this area becoming totally upscale? is yes, why the low end chain places? is there still a navy yard? if yes, then these places are for the workers. its foolish to say that upperclass people on trust funds would go there. they did not go to the old place, why here? enough w/this obsession. there must be office workers/blue collar otherwize there would not be a "subway". its like east 14th street, you get a mix of people. the rents are too high there for a smaller business, so forget about the falafel.

Brendan said...

Because of their scale, chains can undercut small businesses on price and still make a bigger profit. This is a huge bummer, but is unrelated to gentrification.

Accurately describing the problems matters.

swtcurran said...

thank you for the credit to the facade photo of jj's and link to my original blog posting.

Anonymous said...

It's time for some preservationist to step up to the plate and take over these places and re-open them, even if it means the place loses a bit of character, they can preserve the old New York spirit. I don't know how much spirit Dunkin Donuts brings to the city.