Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italian Food Center

Since 1954, the Grand Italian Food Center had served Little Italy--sandwiches, breads, pasta, pastries, olives, cheese. Then it vanished. It lost its lease and shuttered either in late 2010 or early 2011.

Now there's a new "Italian Food Center" in its spot.


2011

This new Food Center doesn't look anything like the old Food Center. It's been made to appear old, however, with scrubby bricks and a faux-rusted sign that will likely convince the tourists into believing it's been here since there were actual Italians still living in Little Italy.



The level of decor, with windows vaguely reminiscent of the High Line's colored window art, subway tiled walls, and a ceiling hung with those trendy silver bowl lightbulbs, makes me think this is not a rebirth of the Italian Food Center we once knew.

But I could be wrong.

There's a website. Sort of. I've tried, but I can't find anything out on this one. Any clues?






21 comments:

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

And I wonder how many 'old' places are really that old? Perhaps putting a sign in the 1930s to make themselves appear even older, which Ephemeral NY recently showed about an old Clancy's Bar which really was a much newer one. Who can believe history anyway?

John M said...

And remember, we invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people.

Anonymous said...

All of this 'authentrification' is infuriatingly, annoyingly Orwellian in every way. Please tell me why it's better to rip down the old and original and replace it with something that looks old and original. Where is the fucking logic? Here's a tip: save some money by not having to involve a new tight-ass New York designer and construction crew and REFURBISH THE ORIGINAL GODDAM SIGNAGE. The replacement of the old with the 'old' just oozes self importance and disregard for the effect THAT IS ALREADY IN FUCKING PLACE. Oh-my-god. What the heck is wrong with these people?

Man, Disney had it right with the EPCOT Center. 'EPCOT' meaning 'Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow'. He must've been thinking of New York City in the 21st Century.

David said...

pass by that place all the time and they're never open.

Brendan said...

I hate that Disney-fantasy pre-industrial "small town" aesthetic so much. I'd have to think about it a lot more to fully explain why, but I really hate it. And it's so aggressively anti-New York.

Anonymous said...

That storefront looks like it could belong to a franchise in any suburban shopping center. NYC is quickly becoming the largest midwestern city in the US.

laura said...

i think it looks very nice. classic, timeless, organic, not flashy. very much a north eastern asthetic, the bricks especially. i know the old place, & yes i liked that as well. gee, what do you want brendon, a glass tower? midtown? if one is going to refurbish, best to keep the character of downtown NY.

Anonymous said...

I walk by it every day and very excited to see the space open. It was an eye sore before and i absolutely love the remodel. Hopefully the sandwiches are just as good

Gojira said...

An "eye sore"? It looked real, legitimate, down to earth, the way New York used to be, not faux, tarted-up, slick and shallow, the way New York is now.

David said...

it's the stepford wives version of little Italy!

Prof.Sze said...

I used to get milk and clam sauce at the old place!

Anonymous said...

gorgeous! much prettier then the previous dumpy storefront.

Brendan said...

Who are these anons with such awful middlebrow taste and what are they doing in New York?

I think I saw something like that in an in-flight magazine about up-and-coming downtown Dayton, Ohio.

Bob96 said...

A suggestion for those enchanted by the old look of this place: look right across the damn street and go into Alleva, the classic latticini that's been around forever. You could make a meal of their magnificent signage and brickwork inside--as well as some superb smoked mozzarella. BTW, a quick remembering of the old Grand Italian Food Center, whose late owner, Joe DiMattia, had quality provisions. And whose family's deli was where we shopped in my old So. Brooklyn nabe.

Bob96 said...

Just a suggestion to those enraptured by the new IFC: look across the damn street and you'll find Alleva, the classic latticini that's been anchoring that corner forever. Inside, its magnificent tile work and signage are almost as good as the smoked mozzarella. And a word or two to remember the late owner of the good old GIFC, Joe DiMattia, whose family ran the So Brooklyn deli we depended on so much back in the day.

Bob96 said...

Just a suggestion to those enraptured by the new IFC: look across the damn street and you'll find Alleva, the classic latticini that's been anchoring that corner forever. Inside, its magnificent tile work and signage are almost as good as the smoked mozzarella. And a word or two to remember the late owner of the good old GIFC, Joe DiMattia, whose family ran the So Brooklyn deli we depended on so much back in the day.

Anonymous said...

I don't like fake authentic stuff. A tourist is going to see this and think it has been there for a century, the real NY!! Is Alleva, across the street the real NY??? Yes!!! Still, there is a good point that it is better to have fake authentic storefronts than another glass tower.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem- people prefer the Epcot version to the real deal. Sure it looks pleasant- but the authentrified version is flat and soulless, has no passion, it is a clone.
I hope it is a remodel by the same owner, but its new look and "website coming soon!" seems plausible that a new owner is trying to glom onto the success of the original

Jennifer Becker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

terrified it will be another horrible yuppie bar like Brinkleys and Gatsby's.

Anonymous said...

The slobs who clambered to move to NYC don't understand history. There is no history in Applebee's America. The oldest thing around is the "old courthouse" downtown, or maybe a library. New York City is layered thick with it, but the nouveau locals are ignorant to the value of existing amidst such rich, legitimate history. Asking any of them to see the irony/ignorance in destroying the perfectly sound existing, in order to replace it with an imitation of the original, is wasted energy.

Situations like these are only changed/saved with the organizing of like minds(and resources).

p.s. The food was acceptable, but I was so turned off by the well executed marketing orgy that I vow never to return. If I can help it, an Italian American is getting my dining dollars next time.