After 55 years in business at 54th and 7th, the Famous Oyster Bar was forced to close one year ago. The owner of the restaurant said a new landlord took over the building and the rent was hiked, from $12,000 to $50,000 a month.
The hostess told me that the new landlord refused to renew their lease. "I think she'll keep it empty," the hostess said. "I think the building is coming down."
One year later, the space is still empty. Gutted and stripped. (The antique neon sign made it to Delancey Street.)
Landlords are allowed to do this in New York. They're allowed to kick out long-term, beloved businesses by jacking up the rent or simply refusing to renew the lease. They're allowed to leave the spaces empty for years, waiting for property values to increase, waiting for Starbucks to make the right offer.
In the meantime, we're left with a dying city. And no one is doing a thing about it. #SaveNYC.
Oyster Bar to Close
Neon Sign to Delancey