Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rawhide Gets Chained

A new tenant has taken over the Rawhide's space. It's not a bank and it's not a frozen-yogurt shop, but it's not anything very different, either.

Crain's reports that Chelsea's iconic gay leather bar is "being replaced by a West coast pizza chain, in another sign of the gentrification of the area around the popular High Line."

Project Pie is known as "the Chipotle of fast-casual pizza," which means it's a chain that models itself on another chain where your food is made on an assembly line.

Said the landlord's representative, "They thought it would be great for the area to have something that wasn’t a 7-Eleven or Dunkin' Donuts, something with a little more local flair where the community would like to patronize."

Local flair? Project Pie comes from San Diego. They also have one in Vegas, and another in the Philippines, with many more to come. They recently launched an aggressive expansion plan. Kind of like 7-Eleven. This is all the city can expect now--chains and more chains. Maybe it's all the city deserves.

the past

the future

This past March, I reported that the Rawhide would be closing after 34 years of serving the gay and leather communities in Chelsea. It was the first gay bar in the neighborhood when it opened in 1979. It survived hatred and bricks through the windows. It survived the AIDS crisis and Giuliani. But it could not survive the High Line and Bloomberg's New York. Then it was gone.

The California pizza chain signed a 15-year lease for the space at $228 per square foot for 2,640 square feet. You do the math. That's a lot of assembly line pizza.

Inside the Rawhide
Rawhide Goodbye


Phil said...

"This is all the city can expect now--chains and more chains. Maybe it's all the city deserves."
That's probably one of the most precisely accurate observations you've made. It's one I also made a while back. It's great when someone else sees it too. Makes you realise you're not seeing things.

Anonymous said...

"This is all the city can expect now--chains and more chains. Maybe it's all the city deserves."

That's all the city *does* deserve.

This town is SO done it's not even funny.

Anonymous said...

I agree maybe that's all we deserve.

You know the zombies and followers that now define what a New Yorker is will be swarming to this place as some "must try", writing their cringe-worthy Yelp reviews and keeping it afloat and paving the way for yet more chains.

Kyle Campion said...

I usually end up going on a daily diatribe at work about this but it falls on deaf ears - after a while you have to wonder if anyone outside of "us" really even cares.

Unfortunately, it seemas as if a very large portion of our society values pure conveneince over less tangible (although very real) things like history, place and continuity in communities that are going under inevitable change.

Another issue we face is this notion that all of this is somehow "natural" - as if subsidies to luxury developers or arena builders or strategic rezoning are "market forces" but opposition to generic chain stores or luxury condos for Russian billionaires is a crime against God's natural economic order.

What a shame - you hit the nail on the head, Jeremiah, it might be what we reminds me of what the NY Times wrote regarding the demolition of the original Penn Station:

"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn't afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tin-horn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed"


Anonymous said...

How much is this new tenant paying per month? How much did they raise the rent to get Rawhide out?

Brendan said...

Why would someone open a pizza chain from California in New York? WTF?

RoyBatty said...

Manhattan = one giant loaf of wonderbread.

JAZ said...

Kyle - no need to even wonder; the vast majority outside of "us" really do not care.

When I get started on my rants and I'm picking up on the 'not this again' eyerolls from lifelong friends who grew up with me here, I know it's hopeless to expect anyone else to give a shit.

The pre-hypergentrification arrivals that came here because they loved what the city was all about & wanted to be a part of the fabric, along with a sadly small core of natives are all alone in caring, and there's not damn thing we can do other than take the daily slaps in the face that the next morning's stories never fail to deliver.

It's Carrie Bradshaw's fro-yo city of fluff and privilege, and the rest of us are just in the way. But at least they're giving us options; we can either fill a suitcase or become a speedbump.

Goofus Thomas said...

I can only hope that once the transformation is complete, that the people who turned the city into what it is becoming now will look around and say that this place is boring, "let's systematically ruin somewhere else" and then be gone allowing the pendulum to once again begin to swing in the other direction.

Anonymous said...

I just filled a suitcase (and many boxes) and left after 20+ years in NYC. There just didn't seem to be any options.

I miss my routine and friends but not the city (at least what the city has become). Not sure yet if I'll return. What do I have to look forward to if I do? 3/4 of my income just for the basics? An "orderly" police state of walking izombies?

I miss summer nights on the piers (with all the voguers and cruising), the deserted East Village and when it took guts to move to the city (not mommy and daddy's money).

The city has become a shadow of what it once was (which was amazing) and those who defend it simply don't know what else to do.

Anonymous said...

Oh please Brendan, you'd be the first one in line when this place opens and will be celebrating the closure of Paradise since it doesn't remind you of the Midwest.

Charles said...

You know, I'm glad you found this item and emphasized the very revealing quote about this chain representing "local flair." Thing is, to the folks who these development are marketed to, a chain like this will feel local and familiar because there's one wherever they happen to go--whether it's to their best friend's neighborhood in LA, downstairs from the office in Midtown, or to a business hub in the Philippines. But unlike Dunkin, there's not one in the Bronx--at least until it gets gentrified.

This is just what Manuel Castells wrote about 20 years ago in The Network Society -- disembodied networks of rich people are replacing local neighborhoods in major cities all over. It's all coming true.

Kyle Campion said...


Same story my way - the same looks and the same "oh well" reactions.

I work with a guy who grew up in Bed-Stuy / Crown Heights who can't get enough of the Williamsburg scene...just doesn't make any sense to me. What could possibly be appealing about tripled rents, faux ethnic resturants with double the price and half the quality menus and bodegas replaced by $10 coffee bars?

Anonymous said...

It's funny that people are surprised by this. Look at Bloomberg. He's a zombie who's no more a New Yorker than any of those tourist who swarm these awful restaurants. I moved out to Brooklyn 4 years ago and have never regretted it (after living in Chelsea for 18 years). Brooklyn still has small stores, coffee shops...hell I even have a small CD/album store on my street run by an incredible guy knows his music. For now, I live the life I moved to NYC to live, without paying $3000 for a "luxury" apartment. Let the idiots have the city. I was done with it a very long time ago.

D. Berrios said...

The reason lots of native New Yorkers like the changes is because the city used to be awful: dirty, dangerous, violent, torn by racial strife, falling apart at the seams, ungovernable. The crack era, the muggings, the wildings, the squeegee men, and the riots were the worst.

Rudy Giuliani started the turnaround, and Mike Bloomberg has cemented it. People from all over the USA and the world want to come to New York. They want to spend their money here. They want to live here.

"Sex and the City" showed the glamor and fun New York offers, and most people really like the safe, clean city that New York is now. If you're a hard worker and top achiever and like to play hard, it's even better than before.

Anonymous said...

@D. Berrios, "better than before" are you crazy? How long have you been in NYC?

New York was good BECAUSE it was ungovernable, like the "wild west". It attracted people looking for life on the edge, who are usually misfits in "straight" society, and who are usually more creative. Now it's nothing but a bland, grossly overpriced playground for tourists and trust fund kids. That's "better"?

The cherry on the cake of your comment was that you used the affect of "Sex and The City" on the city as a "positive". WOW. Again, how long have you been in NYC?

Sinestra said...

D Berrios and his/her ilk is what we are up against. Talking points straight out of some developer's handbook. And this person is not alone. Look at some of the comments on articles like the one about rents and the 5 pointz factory. They are horrifying.
Rome has been sacked. We can stay and be their servants or we can leave this sad state of affairs. We can fight back but what we are fighting now is an idea that is being embedded in media/movies/news. This false glamor, luxury, worship of commercialism, amoral and vapid role models such as backstabbing businesspeople and vapid celebrities.
Any ideas for places that have a cool NYC vibe that aren't full of airheads and yunnies?

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to sound fatalistic but the only thing that will stop this corporate white wahsing is either an economic collapse or another terror attack.

laura said...

yes the city has gotton boring. i hate chains, especially resturants, & mega box b.s. but still i could live w/out the old crime, drugs, garbage. one thing has nothing to do w/the other. worst of both worlds. FYI, new york/brooklyn/bronx/queens had some really nice middle class/working class areas. small businesses, ethnic enclaves. then came the next invasion. south bronx, alphabet city, flatbush, etc etc. became hell holes, drug enclaves. white flight began. oh excuse me, thats when you guys moved in, when it was cheap. we left, you came. you came, you genetrified, you added a cache. then the new landlords threw you out. what goes around comes around. now youre running from people from wisconsin!?? see how it feels?? the "other" is always the "other" they dont always have your social tastes.YOU are not exactly holding hands & singing "we are the world"... are you???? we certainly didnt.

D. Berrios said...

Laura makes a very good point. The same people complaining about the improvements to the city displaced previous residents. Nothing lasts forever. Most New Yorkers like the positive changes. Look who's in the lead now. Christine Quinn. She will continue the great work Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg did. If Bloomberg could run for a fourth term he'd win in a landslide because he's doing what New Yorkers and tourists want and love. Making the city better.

@Anonymous writes:

It wasn't good because it "ungovernable," it was horrible. Dirty, wild, dangerous, and falling apart. If you were in those Crown Heights riots you wouldn't have thought it was so "GREAT." Plus creative misfits still come to New York. Open the New York Times or the Observer. The crazy, kooky types are doing very well.

But the rest who wanted a clean, safer, calmer city, like the one Giuliani and Bloomberg brought us, are happy too. If you had been one of the people mugged or pistol-whipped or raped, you'd be crying for less crime and stop and frisk.

Just remember what West Street used to look like. Under the mayor before Giuliani nothing happened at all, except riots. Giuliani cleaned up the West Side Highway and it is still a tourist draw. Look at Soho and Chelsea. Look at the Upper West Side, which used to be rundown and parts were dangerous. Look at the Lower East Side. No more drug addicts and shooutouts. New York is now the envy of the world.

Sinestra said...

Really? Is that you Mayor Mike?
Seriously, I am so tired of this fake ass argument of "If you liked NYC before you must love drugs and crime" That is utter bullshit. It is NOT an either/ or.
You can have a safer, cleaner city without giving up your identity and selling out. Your beloved mayors sold us out to the highest bidder- there is no place for us now. Even working class enclaves are "luxurified". This is not about the people of NYC. This is about money, power and corporatization, pillage and plunder. Do you think they care about us regular folks? Where is the affordable housing (NOT luxury condos for millionaires), encouragement of small business, affordability of transit and other essentials?
I was born here and I am watching my beloved city get sacked by people of your ilk, Berrios who eagerly drank the Kool Aid and now are trying to rewrite history by saying the "old" NYC was worthless trash. If you loved NYC you wouldn't talk shit about her- she was a hell of a lot more interesting than your luxury meets mall of America crap.

Anonymous said...

Why are you on this blog D. Berrios?
Are you just a "plant" to infuriate the other readers?

ofherses B799 said...

Ever notice that D. Berrios started popping-up in here the monet C. Quinn started following you on twitter. And when you click on his name, is the website. Definitely C. Quinn's chicnchilla.

As for your argument that Giuliani. Bloomberg and what D. Berrios's queen strive to continue, which is to eliminate "crack era, the muggings, the wildings, the squeegee men, and the riots" and"No more drug addicts and shooutouts.", guess what, they're still around, except they're being done by the hedegefunders and bankers, banks, corporations, real estate developers, the douchefratboys.

"New York is now the envy of the world. " "New Yorkers and tourists want and love". Don't you mean rich and transplanted from the midwest New Yorkers and moneyed tourists, Douchebag Berrios?

Jeremiah Moss said...

ofherses, thanks for making the connections. i had not noticed. a Quinnberg plant in our midst!

RoyBatty said...

D. Berrios = Quinberg's muppet

Brendan said...

De Blasio and Thompson are both in striking distance of Quinn in the latest poll. Will there be an official JVNY endorsement?