Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Vanishings

At the end of each year, I offer a list of businesses that vanished during the year. Last year, I posted a Master List of vanishings through the Bloomberg years. We hoped that this year would be different, that the vanishings would slow down. They have not. Small businesses remain under assault in New York City and nothing is being done to save them.

If you're sick of the funerals, please join my Save New York Facebook page and consider these proposals for stopping the vanishing. We still have a lot to save before it's gone.



Gray's Papaya
On 8th Street, this was the second-to-last Gray's Papaya in the city. It did brisk business and was beloved. Death by rent hike. It will be replaced by a Liquiteria smoothie shop.

81 years old, beloved by many, dead via rent hike.

Barnes & Noble flagship
Yes, part of a chain that helped destroy our local bookstores. Still, the place was old--since 1932--and now it will be a Banana Republic.

Rainbows & Triangles
In Chelsea since 1994. Could not afford the rent.

In Chelsea for 38 years, death by rent hike.

Famous Oyster Bar
In Midtown since 1959. The new landlord refused to renew their lease.

Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th
Beautiful building demolished against public outcry, to be developed into luxury tower. Rizzoli found a new space, not nearly as grand.

Serving the Village, and especially the queer community, since the 1980s. Death by massive rent hike.

Olympic Diner and Jade Fountain Liquors
35 years old, death by development of Essex Crossing.

Antiques Garage
Since 1993, death by luxury redevelopment.

Archangel Antiques
After 21 years in the East Village, the rent was too high. They retired.

Lucky Cheng's
Could not survive their move to Midtown.

Pearl Paint
Building sold.

Since 1995. Death by luxury development.

76 years old.  Death by luxury development.

This was the last of Kim's local empire. Death by rent hike.

El Paso Restaurant
It was old. The cause of death is unknown.

Rodeo Bar
30 years old, could not afford the rent.

Chat N Chew
Since 1994, cause of death unknown.

Hair Box Barber Shop
A barber shop for 100 years, replaced by a frozen yogurt shop.

Subway Inn
Death by luxury development. Since 1937, evicted, forced to move despite petition and public outcry -- reopening elsewhere, but it won't ever be the same.

Marquet Cafe
22 years old, cause of death unknown.

3-Star Coffee Shop
It was old. The Health Department may have violated it out of existence.

John's Bakery
In Ditmas Park over 50 years, possible rent hike.

Video Gallery
In Park Slope many years.

Yaffa Cafe
After 32 years in the East Village, shuttered by the DOH and vanished.

After 15 years, followed Yaffa out of business.

El Quijote
Since 1930. Taken over by the new owner of the new luxury Chelsea Hotel, given a high-end, big-name chef. Still standing, but don't expect it to ever be the same again.

Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore
Death by massive rent hike. Is now a Foot Locker.

Smith's Bar & Restaurant
60 years old, cause of death unknown, possible resurrection coming.

Two Boots Bleecker St.
22 years old, lease renewal denied by new landlord.

Honest Boy Fruit Stand
Since 1980, parcel sold by MTA for luxury development.

Dance Manhattan
22 years old, landlord refused to renew their lease.

Grande Monuments
Since the 1940s, turning into a tattoo parlor.

Bruno Bakery
Since 1973, death by rent.

Galapagos Art Space
Can't afford the rent, moving to Detroit.

DeRobertis Pasticceria
110 years old, owners sold the building--cited lack of business, competition from Starbucks, and overwhelming costs from the city.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
15 years old, landlord denied to renew lease--Bonnie's working on a new lease elsewhere.

Sam Flax flagship
After 95 years, can't afford the rent.

Posman Books, Grand Central
15 years old, evicted by the MTA to make way for luxury development.

Complete Traveller Book Shop
After 36 years in business, death due to big rent hike.

Cafe Edison
After 34 years of serving Broadway, Hotel Edison owner Gerald Barad refused a new lease to the beloved business. An enormous outpouring of support, from community members and politicians, could not save the place. They hope to reopen elsewhere, but the Polish Tearoom--that delirious pink cathedral--is gone forever.

I am sure I am missing many, many lost businesses. Please add them in the comments. Also, if you see an error, please offer corrections in the comments.

Previous Years' Year-End Reports:
2009: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
2011: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4


Anonymous said...

Pete's Waterfront Alehouse - Cobble Hill
Death by rent hike I believe

Last Exit - Cobble Hill

Cody's - Cobble Hill
Death by Rad and Bone

sunnyroom8 said...

Snack Dragon on East 3rd St in the East Village is gone. The great Mobil Gad and Service Station on Houston St and Avenue C is gone. Most of 14th Street from First Avenue and Avenue B are gone

Anonymous said...

Academy Floral on the Upper West Side.

From West Side Rag November 2014:

"Academy Floral: Academy moved from 107th street to 2628 Broadway (100th street) just a few months ago. But earlier this month, the city marshal slapped a notice on the door giving the landlord legal possession, and a for-rent sign went up. Academy Floral, around since 1910, is no longer accepting orders."

MJ said...

Verb Cafe in Williamsburg, which opened in 1999 on Bedford Ave closed this year owing to a rent hike. After sitting empty for a few months, the space is now a store that sells expensive soap shaped like cupcakes and those scented sticks.

Fun, independent music venues 285 Kent and Glasslands also closed this year.

Anonymous said...

Kotobuke sushi!! Not sure of the reason.

Anonymous said...

La-Di-Da on Broadway in the 80s. Death by rent hike.

Filene's and DSW on Broadway and 79th. Luxury redevelopment.

Anonymous said...

Benny's Burritos


Anonymous said...

Lumber Boys on 2nd ave and 39th St. One of the last places in Manhattan that would cut wood to order on the premises. Forced to move across the street this summer. Still alive, but much smaller and they have to send the lumber out to be cut.

Anonymous said...

NATIVE BEAN coffee house on Ave A, between 3rd and 4th Street. CLOSED.

Grand St. said...

FWIW, Ye Olde Heartland Brewery on USQ is closing tomorrow after 20 years.

Anonymous said...

The middle class and New Yorkers. Replaced by the rich foreigners and Middle-America transplant trustafarians.

Also, common sense, respect, and courtesy.

Anonymous said...

Popover Café on the Upper West Side closed in January 2014.

From West Side Rag:
“Popover Cafe, the neighborhood mainstay on 87th street and Amsterdam Avenue, is closing its doors on January 5th after losing its lease, the restaurant announced in a poster on the window.
Popover has been open since 1981.
The closing is part of a depressing wave this year on the Upper West Side…”

Anonymous said...

The back fence...

Anonymous said...

Alan's Alley. Rent hike.

Anonymous said...

7A on Ave A. That was a blow!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Luis/Danny's electronics repair shop (5th Avenue, Brooklyn) - no new lease, & building put up for sale. Around for over twenty years.

Botanica La Milagrosa (Court Street, Brooklyn) Building sold.

A succession of incarnations of a long-present small supermarket at Fourth & 15th Street, Brooklyn). To be demolished for a high-rise apartment building.

Small businesses that counted.

Anonymous said...

Park Slope's Tea Lounge closed a few weeks ago.

Death by Audio and Spike Hill (which are two music venues in Williamsburg) also closed this year. Trash Bar is closing soon.

Quentin said...

Carnegie Hall Barber Shop after 50 years in business. Their lease was up and the increase was too steep

esquared™ said...

Fetch Bar & Grill;
Soup Burg;
Nancy's Pig Heaven in UES closed original location, but moved;
John's Pizzeria

Columbia Cottage in Morningside Heights;
The Hudson Beach Cafe at 105th street in UWS;
K&S Market, a Korean Deli at the corner of 92nd street and Broadway, closed after 30 years; and other Korean delis;
other UWS closings


Tea Lounge in Park Slope;
Brooklyn Ale House and Dumont in Williamsburg;
other Brooklyn closings

and last but not least, the ones that brought the Scary Sadshaws into town, Pastis. It's their town now. Fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Chez Le Chef (Frederic) Lexington Ave- 28/29th
I am not sure if he retired or retired by rent hike. Was located on the UES-York Ave-in the 1980's and then moved to Lex.

"Dogblog" said...

J and R Music.. Please pay tribute

Pat said...

Matt McGhee relocated to Hudson, New York after 38 years in Greenwich Village on Christopher Street and later 174 Waverly Place. He sells beautiful gorgeous Christmas ornaments.

Chung Wong said...

You forgot your post about C'est Magnifique ...closed after 56 years http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.ca/2014/08/cest-magnifique.html

I'm not a robot said...

Les Sans Culottes East on 57th and 2nd avenue, been there since 1976, closed early this year


Anonymous said...

RCI on 98th and Broadway, closed after 80 years: http://www.westsiderag.com/2014/10/18/rci-appliances-set-to-close-after-80-years-on-the-upper-west-side

Anonymous said...

On the other hand we can be thankful that St Marks Bookshop moved successfully and is making a go of it. It almost seems like a miracle. They even recently got a grant from James Patterson, one of the many he hands out every year to independent book stores.

Anonymous said...

Other closures on the Upper West Side...

Gotham Food on Columbus & 73rd, opened in 1970 and forced out by rent hike in 2014.

Sambucca (72nd Street between CPW and Columbus) closed after 28 years.

Even though more kids in neighborhood, Planet Kids on Amsterdam Ave & 69th (moved there in 1999 from Broadway & 104?) closed - owner said people came to look then shopped on-line or in suburbs

Mitch said...

Don't forget El Taller, on the UWS. Forced out by a rent increase, moving to the East Side, a smaller space.


Anonymous said...

Zuni on the corner of 9th and 43rd. Closed suddenly in June after 22 years in Hell's Kitchen. One of their longtime waiters told me they lost their lease and they couldn't afford the landlord's new rent demands. It was a hole in the wall, and one of the last remaining joints in the neighborhood where you could get a drink and a good meal at a reasonable price. Now the former storefront has been sitting empty for over six months. It saddens me every time I walk by.

Anonymous said...

The Scholastic Bookstore on Broadway (home of the giant reading dinosaur) is shutting its doors; closing sale on now.

Aussie meatpie-lovers' Pie Face closed all its NYC locations:

Once Upon a Tart on Sullivan St. closed and then reopened -- huzzah!

More here:

Harry Matthews said...

The loss of small businesses is sad, but sometimes inevitable. I was once hired by a friend who owned a West Village restaurant. He had been hospitalized with a serious illness, and the manager he left in charge robbed him blind. I struggled for a few weeks, but the records were a mess and I told my friend he should hire a forensic accountant and a lawyer to sue the (now dismissed) manager. He refused. The restaurant closed. I found another job.

I doubt that my experience is unique. Just look at all those make-over shows on cable TV: Restaurant Impossible, Restaurant Restoration, and on and on.

Galapagos is a special case. Priced out of Williamsburg, they were offered a special rent in Dumbo. Two Trees (the Walentas family) wanted night life and creative people in the neighborhood, where they own much of property. The long-long-long delayed reconstruction of the adjacent Empire Stores warehouses is raising the value of the Galapagos space.

Galapagos chose not to negotiate a new lease or seek other space in New York. Real estate in Detroit is cheap, mostly because the city is shrinking. I wish Galapagos the best of luck.

ScottS said...

I know you don't much consider Queens as part of NYC, but I am deeply saddened by the sudden closure of Zante Diner at the foot of the 39AV station in LIC.
It was open in early November, two weeks later it was shuttered with stuff still inside, very eerie.
I've asked around but no one seems to know what happened.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Surprise Surprise! close in 2014? Or was it 2013? It's all a blur...

Anonymous said...

Sweet Gifts/ Video Cafe in Hell's Kitchen (family-run for 20+ years) forced out by rent hikes in Jan '14.

Terri said...

Well, I guess it doesn't make the 2014 list, but Maggie Brown's on Myrtle Ave in Clinton Hill/Ft Greene closes today. Hopefully a fancy food store selling delicacies will open up, leading us all to wonder how they stay open with only 8 items on the shelves. Or maybe we'll have ANOTHER new American restaurant exactly like the last 10 that opened in the area.

laura r. said...

sad that an old world coffee pastry place has competition from "starbucks". that's the problem w/people. few want beauty & tranquility. there was a time that greenwich village/little italy had so many of these cafes. the rizzoli bookstore distruction is a crime. where are the preservationists? jackie O would have fought this. havnt looked @ this entire list, its depressing. cant imagine what has dissapeared since JMVNY did his first post.

Anonymous said...

John's Bakery isn't closing because of a rent hike. They own the building and, sadly, apparently realized they could make more money with less work by renting it out. They claimed to have a tenant lined up, but nothing's been said since and the space is still empty.

Anonymous said...

The music and performance art venue Goodbye Blue Monday in Brooklyn closed in late November.....

Anonymous said...

The space for the above referenced Popover Cafe is still vacant, one year later after Popover closed due to rent increase.

Fomer Manhattanite said...

First on 2015 vanishings -- Center Cinemas in Sunnyside, closed Sunday 1-4.



Hugh said...

Indian Cafe (Bway and 107)
rent hike/no lease renew
Ding Dong Lounge (Col and 106)
landlord did not renew lease

Myron said...

You forgot Roseland Ballroom demolished in 2014; very historic place; should have been made a landmark.