After 65 years in business, Lee's Art Shop on West 57th Street is closing sometime in the next four to six weeks.
from Lee's Art Shop
The building was purchased in 2013 by real estate investor Joseph Safdieh of Safka Holdings, after which he proceeded to sue the owners, David Steinberg and Jill Isaacs, according to The Real Deal, "for refusing to further extend the due diligence period on the property despite several outstanding issues relating to its certificate of occupancy."
That deal fell through--and Thor's Joe Sitt got in on the action. Safka then sued Thor.
Through all the fighting over the property, Lee's stayed open.
photo: NY Times
Steinberg and Isaacs are the children of Gilbert Steinberg, who died in 2008. With his wife, Ruth, Steinberg bought the original store in 1951 and moved it to this building in 1975. They purchased the building 20 years later.
"The building would likely be transformed into a high-end retail box,"
industry pros told The Real Deal three years ago. The distinctive
structure was built in 1897 and is known as the Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was once home to a Schrafft’s
restaurant. And it is landmarked.
Lee's is beloved across the city. "It never fails," wrote the Times in 2012. "You go into Lee’s Art Shop, half a block from Carnegie Hall, as a customer — usually for something prosaic like a couple of Pilot Razor Points from their amazing 215-slot pen rack — and leave wishing you were an artist."
The shop is currently having a major liquidation sale, with deals up to 75% off.