Wednesday, October 10, 2012

El Faro

Recently, DNA reported that Spanish restaurant El Faro has been closed indefinitely, "as its owner tries to raise more than $80,000 to pay city fines and other expenses." The city found mice in the 85-year-old place--they also want El Faro to be renovated to meet the city's standards.



El Faro opened in 1927, when the Village was full of Spanish sailors, and has been surviving at the edge of the Meatpacking District ever since. It's got that Last Mohican look about it. I've gone in a few times, worried that it would not last much longer, that it would soon be targeted in the Bloombergian cross-hairs. A newcomer, I was always welcomed and felt as if I'd stumbled into an older New York, where everyone knows everyone, and they all have a dusty, slightly patrician air.

Nothing this warm and welcoming could be allowed to remain in the new New York. Not here on this plot of prime real estate.

El Faro is proud of the fact that it has never changed. On the website, they say that many customers "have grown up inside El Faro and it is a part of their family, a place that is as comfortable to them as the house they grew up in. El Faro is the same as it was when their parents came here on their first date, 30 years ago! They can sit in the same booth, eat out of the same pot, the food is the same as when they first came!"



As El Faro's owner told DNA, "A lot of people are distraught. We have people who have come here for four generations with their families. I am receiving a great amount of kindness from my customers... It's like an extension of their house," he said. "We delivered food to some of our elderly [customers] and even brought them milk and bread if they couldn't leave home. It was more than a restaurant."



But won't it look great as a Marc Jacobs store?

What can we do to make sure that never happens, and that El Faro stays open and unchanged for generations to come?



11 comments:

EV Grieve said...

I found myself over in this area with time to kill recently. It was just awful. Masses of high-end shoppers, like some sort of Jersey Shore pageantry in which the person who could text while walking, scream at their friend and barrel into pedestrians received some sort of prize.

I remembered El Faro, and quickly found refuge at the quiet bar (it was late one Sunday afternoon). Some other MePa survivor walked in with the same dazed look... and was quickly welcomed.

I looked around the place, at what New York magazine described as "quaintly dilapidated," and wondered how they could survive surrounded by so much high-end hooey.

Long live El Faro.

Sebastian said...

As someone who recently lost an iconic eating and drinking landmark that he didn't even know was iconic until the last weekend...All I can say is hold in there, and don't sell out. El Faro does NOT need to become Thursday's of New York (Thursday's Montreal is in the process of being replaced by condos and a shopping center, attached to an upscale department store). If people in the neighborhood really need to go to a trendy store...if you're worried about parking, take a bus or taxi, if you're worried about clogged streets, hello, there's this thing called the SUBWAY that, without, New York wouldn't have been able to be the great city it is.

I want to hear that El Faro will NOT be consigned to the history books!

Anonymous said...

Friends, it looks like it may be too late. The Times announced that it has closed for good. Not sure if this is the case or not.

Closing

EL FARO After 85 years, this West Village icon has served its last lobster in white sauce.

Mitch said...

What is the owner doing to raise the money?

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm sad I never got to hang out in El Faro and hope it'll be re-opened when I come back to visit.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Anon. hard to say if that "closing" for good is true--i'm hoping not.

maybe the Times will follow up with a full story.

Anonymous said...

am I the only one confused by Sebastian's comment???

Chris Crowley said...

Is there a way to donate or are they gone for good?

tiny tim said...

I think Sebastian was saying...get out there and visit these places you value. Maybe if they had enough regular customers you wouldn't be reading about them here.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, initially I confused this place with El Charro on Charles St. and got VERY upset. This is still terrible, but if anything happens to El Charro...

The All-Seeing Eye, Jr. said...

This was the place where, sometime in the '70s, I walked in and saw Alice Neel, the painter, dining with Gus Hall, then still head of the CPUSA. Thirties bohemia in concentrated form! Like seeing the last two aurochs at the watering hole.