A tipster wrote in a few weeks ago to report that Di Fiore Marquet Cafe on East 12th had its last day in business after 22 years.
While there has been no official word from the owner, no goodbye sign on the door, Marquet has remained shuttered and untouched since, the tables all set for customers who will never come again.
An employee has posted on their Facebook page: "Out of business, thanks for your patronage."
I don't know why Marquet closed, only that it's been darkened under scaffolding for quite some time, due to the construction of parking garage turned high-end luxury condo building 17 East 12, where the owners consider 12th and University to be "one of the most sought-after areas of the city," reminiscent of "the historic Gold Coast."
The block is changing. In addition to 17 East 12, the Bowlmor building is going luxury condo, too. The stationery store shut down recently, chains are moving in. And let's not forget the loss of 12th Street Books back in 2008.
Celeste di Fiore, via Homegrown
I never went to Marquet, so I will leave its description to this article from The Examiner's Leann Lavin a few years back:
"...it is owner Celeste Di Fiore who is the real-deal charmer – the Elaine of the downtown, Village cohort. For more than 10 years, she's looked after her customers like a doting, sometimes worrisome, always supportive, can’t-help-herself favorite friend or aunt. The customers are neighborhoodies: from the nearby Forbes magazine staff, the creative artists and patrons of the Salmagundi artist colony; writers and authors; along with students and professors from the Cardoza law school on the corner, or NYU. There are the quiet celebrities: Meryl Streep, Sean Pean and Giada De Laurentiis' mom, to name a few. Like a butterfly, Celeste can be seen alighting at a table to ask about the customer's latest book, or another’s health, or to agree with another about the neighborhood’s lack of a grocery store due to changing real estate."