Back in 2011, I reported that Caffe Vivaldi in the Village was being forced to close by a tripled rent hike from their landlord, the now infamous Steve Croman.
They survived, and got a new lease, but the struggles continued. Now, even while Croman has been hit with a 20-count indictment for harassing tenants, Vivaldi reports that their harassment continued.
The owner of the 35-year-old jazz cafe has posted a petition online. He tells the whole story there, and explains:
"Today, I, Ishrat Ansari, owner and operator of Caffe Vivaldi since opening our doors in 1983, reach out to you yet again to help us save our 'cultural institution.' We need your help, your support, your voice. We need you to sign our petition, and to comment if you will.
Our objective is simple: the more we can draw in community support, the more we can show to the Supreme Court judge, who will be deciding our case against Mr. Croman this June, that Caffe Vivaldi deserves to remain open."
Vivaldi has live music 7 days a week and no cover charge. They serve ravioli. They have been featured in films by Woody Allen and Al Pacino. Customers past and present include Andy Warhol and Bette Midler. They also have a fireplace.
In his plea and petition, Mr. Ansari adds, "I am not making any claim for special allowances. We all have personal views about gentrification, about the speed of development versus the integrity and nostalgia of old neighborhoods. I totally understand this and am not one to stand in the way of modernization. But I have had over 20,000 creatives, artists, intellectuals, come through my doors at Caffe Vivaldi to blow us all away with their talents, and I want to keep my doors open, paying a reasonable rent, and operating without the harassment and threats of a landlord, whom I leave to the court of public and legislative opinion to judge."
Read his petition, sign and share it, and #SaveNYC