Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Carmine's IHOP

VANISHING!(?)

After setting off a panic when it opened in 2012, and "Effectively Stabbing Village in Heart," it appears that the IHOP on Carmine Street has one foot in the grave. Still open for business, a FOR LEASE sign recently appeared on its front.



Originally, IHOP signed a 49-year lease for this corner of Carmine and Varick, paying $300,000 per year. The real estate agent who brokered the deal told the Wall Street Journal that Carmine, "was a dumpy street. Now it's top-notch." IHOP is "a big brand, and it'll help me convince other big brands to follow. People don't even know where Carmine Street is--yet. We'll fix that."

Not so fast.

As a bonus, this news comes just after a self-professed "New Yorker from Elsewhere" waxed nostalgic in Downtown for this very IHOP, recalling a recent snowy night on Carmine when "tourists and locals alike gathered at clean, florescent-lit, flavored-syrup laden tables" for a taste of Ye Olde Suburbia. She explained why Manhattan's glut of chains appeals so much to the newest newcomers to the city: "We go to IHOP or Denny’s or Applebee’s because when you walk into a place like that, a place that speaks of other-state suburbia with every wheeze of the vinyl padded booths, every crack of the egg-yolk spattered menus, it reminds you that you are from Somewhere Else, and for a half hour you can settle back into your accent and some mediocre but utterly familiar food."

It is utterly depressing to think of young people coming to New York and dragging their suburban worlds with them, like separation-anxious teenagers carrying their old teddy bears off to college. Manhattan is not Waukesha, or Toledo, or Walla Walla. Nor should it be.

While it's likely that a bank or another chain will take IHOP's place, I'd like to enjoy this For Lease sign as a hopeful sign that the revanchist onslaught of suburbanization is failing. The controversial 7-Eleven on St. Mark's Place closed last month, now this--what's next? Will we go through a process of de-suburbanization?


Previously:
Carmine's IHOP
Before IHOP
Chain Stores in the City

21 comments:

Someone Said said...

"... it reminds you that you are from Somewhere Else..."

I do not even live in Manhattan and this makes me ill. Gosh, you want everyone who thinks like that to go back there. Now.

Goggla said...

Ok, this is getting off-topic, but I gotta step up an defend Walla Walla. It is *not* a suburb. In fact, it was settled by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman - two NEW YORKERS who gentrified the area with their east coast culture, religion and smallpox, all but wiping out the natives. In retribution, they were murdered, but not before founding an excellent college. The town park was designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted and resembles a miniature Central Park. When I lived there in the early 90s, there were no chain restaurants (all locally owned) and I never heard of Applebees until I came to NYC. Not everything west of the Hudson is in the Homogeneous Zone.

Rant over!

As for the article - ugh.



mingusal said...

This news almost makes this so far horrid New Year downtown (losing Gray's, Milady's, and seeing so many other places gone or going) worthwhile.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Thanks Goggla. Clearly I know nothing of Walla Walla, but I do like the sound of the name.

Anonymous said...

Seeing how commercial rents in that area are skyrocketing the next tenant will likely be as bad as IHOP's.

However I am surprised that locals shunned the place. The big portions at competitive prices seemed like a winning idea...

Romy Ashby said...

Sorry Jeremiah, but I have to agree with Goggla on Walla Walla, which I know well. Plenty of awful suburbs are right across the Hudson, but Walla Walla was never suburban.

Brendan said...

Waukesha, on the other hand, is exactly what you imagine.

Michael Cantor said...

Very well written! I live a block away-and rarely was there much of a crowd in there.
That rent is not so bad for such a large space btw.

A Murray's Cheese type epicurian shop-half retail and half restaurant/wine bar-might do well there.

But--you are probably correct-a bank or maybe a grocery store will end up there.

Walt Gekko said...

Mingusal:

That was the second Gray's Papaya that closed recently. The original location is still on 72nd and Broadway, where it has been since it opened in 1973.

Goggla:

Very interesting on the history of Walla Walla, never knew that.

It's sad to see all these places that are a part of New York go like they have in recent years, but the problem is, many of the "real" New Yorkers from earlier eras have left over the past 25+ years or so as the rents skyrocketed. The New York I remember growing up pretty much has been gone for a number of years now.

The problem is, some of these landlords I believe are actually companies that have to answer to shareholders and are on much tighter regulations ever since the collapse in 2008. That, coupled with demand from companies willing to pay whatever it took for "prime" locations have been a big part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

The quote mentions Dennys but they don't have a store in NYC yet; IHOP probably flipped their lease to them....

But here's the thing about chains: I used to eat at the counter at the Woolworths at 42nd & 3rd (was cheap and convenient) which, of course, was an uber chain launched right here that long ago buried a lot of mom & pops in the hinterland; is the malling of manhattan a sort of karmic retribution for a process (chain stores) that, arguably, NYC set in motion?

Worse: why has cheap & convenient become so goddam difficult to find???

Anonymous said...

The decidedly un-Jeremiah-like optimism, even, dare I say, happiness, that's in this post, the post about the 7-11 on St. Mark's Place, and ones about the beginning of DeBlasio's term, is downright scary. Who ARE you and what have you done with Jeremiah Moss???

All kidding aside, let's not get all overexcited here. First of all, there's no confirmation of a close in the first place, and secondly, much like the situation on St. Mark's, this is not any true sign of a sea change. It's a sign that the brokers, soulless unthinking creatures that they are, sold the first corporation that walked through their door on the space, without even bothering to think about whether they were a good fit for it or not. And, just like putting a 7-11 on St. Mark's across the street from the East Village's most beloved bodega, putting an iHop on Carmine Street surrounded by some of the best pubs and small restaurants in the city in a neighborhood populated almost entirely by A, local rich people, B, non-local children of rich people, and C, local old timers, otherwise known as the three groups least likely to eat at iHop, was a fool's errand.
But the space isn't going to magically turn into a diner owned by a 76-year-old man named "Salvatore" or a dive bar from the 1950s now. It's going to become a Bank of America branch, or a CVS. That's just the reality. There's no such thing as "de-suburbanization," there's "gentrification" and "degentrification." Most cities go through back-and-forth cycles between the two, but this is an unusually long gentrification phase, and shows no signs of slowing. If it ever will again. Something fundamental has changed...

Cory Seamer said...

I'm from somewhere else and every now and then I like to visit a crappy chain OUTSIDE of the city. One of the reasons I moved to NY is because it has character and some authenticity. Chains turn neighborhoods into anywhere land or nowhere special land. If you are reading this, please support your local independently owned restaurants and stores. They are far superior to the chains anyway.

laura r. said...

thats on hell of an ugly place, about time it goes. "dennys" is another ugly horror. as for "woolworths", it wasnt ugly like this! it fit into the landscape. i semi agree w/ J about howard johnsons chain. the food was good, but i think the visual was ugly middle america. carmine was a nice street. some fat tacky joe schmoe thought "ihop" was upscaling. when i reality its kind of downward middle mobile. good news about the 7/11. what is there now?

Anonymous said...

Nearly 30 years ago when I was a young kid moving to NYC I too came from a suburban town. The goal for me back then was to get as far, far away from the excruciatingly boring environment that I had to grow up in. Why the hell someone, a young person yet, would want to come here and have a place they can go to that represents their lame upbringing in the 'burbs is a mindset I DO NOT understand.

With that said it's good to see that some of these chains (surprise!) are not connecting with the neighborhoods they plant themselves in. In fact I haven't seen more than 5 people at one time at the 7-11 on Avenue A, but when summer comes that may be a whole different story with Slurpees and all that. But for now that place looks quiet all the time. Continue to support the locals and independents!

Anonymous said...

Wait - seriously, how did Woolworths "fit into the landscape"?

This notion gets to the hagiographic feeling I get from some of the nostalgic recollections here (including mine): Woolworths had corporate standards as tightly wound as anything 7-11 or IHOP put together, and the notion they gave any shit about neighborhood context is totally false. They were, like Walmart today, determined to kill competition in the form of mom & pops, and they were successful (witness eponymous tower downtown).

And, I hate to say it, cause I love these places: the Blarney Stone is a chain too!

So, my point is, the chain moniker should be examined, because we seem to have a selective appreciation for it...

Little Earthquake said...

Remember, this island was originally gentrified by a soulless Dutch multinational firm with outposts around the world!

Yank said...

Hear bloody hear!
And, if you're looking for cheap and delicious, go to Manutus Diner on Bleeker St. I was back in NYC recently, and was delighted to see it was still there. We ate at Manutus 5 times in one week.
One breakfast I had was 2 eggs, home fries, toast, crispy fresh bacon, fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, and great service with a smile. The tab? $7.45.

Anonymous said...

IHOP is not new to the city. In the early 70s Sunday mornings, my father used to take my brothers and I (leaving mom with the baby) to the 'International House of Pancakes' (as it was called back then) on Broadway in the Bronx. As a kid, I thought it was really something fancy, a special treat! Blueberry syrup! Whipped butter! The high ceiling! International! Smiley face pancakes!

vzabuser said...

But NOW IHOP is a fast food joint - try asking to have eggs made a special way - no can do anymore---its no longer a 'restaurant'..and Maple Syrup is not affordable anymore- you can get 5% at best!

Anonymous said...

As of yesterday, there was no longer a For Lease sign on IHOP. Change of plans?

Anonymous said...

Yup...here to stay :-*