Earlier this week, I was in Chelsea, wondering where the hell to have lunch. There aren't a lot of tolerable places left. Then I thought of La Taza de Oro. Perfect. But when I got there, I found the place shuttered and a sign on the door thanking customers for their patronage.
I panicked--but the sign also said they're not closed for good, just making a bunch of changes to satisfy the Health Department. Presumably, they will reopen and all will be well. But I've been worried about the place.
Its neighbor, Mezza Luna Pizza, recently shuttered. The building to the north of that has been demolished for new development. Two doors down from La Taza de Oro, a building collapsed during Hurricane Sandy and has been boarded up since. And then there's a check-cashing place--which simply isn't going to last in the new Chelsea.
These are signs that make me nervous.
Another thing that makes me nervous is Google's presence across the avenue and all the recent shutterings that have been throttling this stretch of 8th Avenue.
Call me paranoid, but it seems like the Health Department always shows up at times like this.
La Taza de Oro is an old-school survivor. The service is friendly and warm. The food is good and hearty, plentiful and affordable. If New York City had a protection plan for preserving its cultural assets, La Taza de Oro would be on the list.
But we don't have a protection plan. We have nothing. We are defenseless, at the mercy of a new mayor who has done nothing to save the city from being choked in chains and upscale development.
So let's hope La Taza de Oro reopens soon, that the Health Department gets off their back, and that it somehow continues to survive in this increasingly hostile city. Without it, and places like it, where are we going to eat lunch?