Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Carmine & Bleecker

When I heard about the eviction of Avignone Chemist--on Bleecker since 1929 and in business even longer--I went by to talk to the owner.

He told me that Force Capital Management, a hedge fund that manages $1.2 billion, not only bought his little building, they also bought the big building on the corner. Now they have the block.

Using the LLC 228 Bleecker Street Realty, Force Capital Management paid $18,700,000 for the corner building in 2012. Why? Don't tell me this old beauty can be torn down and replaced with a glass box.

And what about Trattoria Spaghetto on the ground floor? I asked--they told me they've got 15 more years on their lease.

By the way, Trattoria Spaghetto is a good place for lunch in the off hours, on a weekday. It's quiet. There's an old woman who sits by the door in a turban. She knows everyone and everyone knows her. She laughs and talks about the weather. Over the speakers, the music is Queen, nothing but Queen.

Trattoria Spaghetto opened sometime in the early 1990s or late 1980s. I'm not sure. Before that, it was the Bleecker Luncheonette, a beloved Italian soup counter that made a famous green minestrone. Some still don't forgive the Trattoria for "killing its old world charm."

So it goes.

via VintageOCD


Ellen Fagan said...

Oh, my! Thanks for this update, Jeremiah...I am cautiously relieved to hear that Spaghetto has that much more time on its lease. I love it so - it has been a go-to place for family for many years. Alas, I seem to have missed the glorious-looking luncheonette it displaced. What're ya gonna do...xoxo

Anonymous said...

Joe's Dairy still fucking empty....(SHAKING MY DAMN HEAD AND MY FIST)
THAT is the shit that really gets me, same w/ Prime Burger -- they push out these old skool joints that were just serving the community for YEARS....and then they sit. Empty. Ruining the neighborhood landscape, for seriously not one single reason. How was a stream of $$$, GOOD $$$, bad and an empty non-stream but-maybe-someday-a-BANK!-will-come-along! good???
Somebody explain to me those economics and make sense.

Anonymous said...

Landlords get tax breaks for lost income on vacant spaces so they can just wait it out until the get the rent they want.

Remove those incentives and it would have a big effect

Anonymous said...

Exactly plus if you borrow the money to buy the bldg they want chains not locals. The combo of these two things is why we are at this point. Hedge funds care about numbers and dollars. Not locals or their local stores.

Elisabeth said...

I used to eat lunch at the counter every Friday at the Bleecker St. Luncheonette. That green minestrone with some Zito's bread. Lunch counters are almost all gone. Used to be a great way to get a quick, cheap, delicious meal on your own, a perk of city life.

thepresentperfect said...

It's gorgeous! I hope they don't tear it down :(

Thomas said...

Fortunately, 228 Bleecker has landmark protection as it lies in the Greenwich Village historic district. It's unlikely the owners will be able to tear it down.

Pat said...

I used to go to Bleecker Luncheonette in the 70's and the minestrone was wonderful. I always used to get that, or if I were hungry, the linguine with pesto. There were two fellows working there who were still working for Trottoria Spaghetto the last time I was there, years ago.

pmb said...

I too miss the green minestrone and Zito's whole wheat Italian bread. I remember when Zito's closed, it was on the local news!! Devastating loss.

HotAlexFromTroy said...

I'd really like to see you working with Louise Story of the Times who just completed a masterpiece on illicit real estate transactions. I mean how can one company own an entire block in the village legally? if it is legal it shouldn't be.

John K said...

One of the reasons I love Jeremiah's Vanishing New York is that in addition to the great points Jeremiah makes there's always valuable commentary in the comments section. Do most people know that landlords get tax breaks for the lost income on vacant spaces? If not, that should be something that everyone who cares makes sure to raise with the City Council and state legislators in Albany, who appear to be in the firm control of the real estate industry (cf. Sheldon Silver).

As @HotAlexFromTroy says, it might be great to team up with Louise Story, or even interview her, about her amazing New York Times series, It's one of the best investigative pieces on the real estate industry I've seen in that paper in a while, and it was a bit ironic given how frequently the Times appears to be cheerleading for the high end market, hypergentrification and super-elites.