Monday, June 20, 2016

Campanile & Rubber Stamps

A reader wrote in to let us know that the Campanile restaurant on E. 29th Street has closed. It's been awhile. Eater shared the news a year ago--and I missed it. They wrote:

"Northern Italian eatery Campanile has closed after 18 years of business. According to the restaurant's Facebook, the building was sold and the landlord wants to turn it into a high rise."

The building that housed Campanile at 30 E. 29th was originally the very old New York Telephone Building. I can't locate any plans for a high rise here, but something's happening along this block.

One building away, neighbor Stampworx is also gone. They'd been around since 1946. Probably as long as Campanile's pink neon sign's been hanging there, the remnant of another restaurant.

Stampworx was located in a wooden house owned in the 1800s by the Pringle family. It has a lovely second-floor facade and an interesting history.

Life used to take me to this block somewhat regularly. I liked standing outside and looking up at the twin vertical signs of RUBBER STAMPS and RESTAURANT. That sliver felt like part of an older city.

One night, I saw a man in the doorway of the building between the two. He was behind the glass, playing a flute. The Campanile's neon sign shone pink, making the night air blush.

I meant to write about it, but never did. I took a photo, but that's lost somewhere in the clutter of my photo archive. Still, I remember it well. It was one of those little New York scenes that only happen in old buildings.

Campanile's gone. The rubber stamps shop is gone. And the man who played the flute is probably gone, too. I don't know what will come to replace them all, but we can guess.


John M said...

I used to work on that block until late last year and loved the neon sign and the fact that Stampworx still existed in the funny little building. I do have a phone photo of the sign lit up from a winter day somewhere. Last time I went by, I saw the the restaurant looked closed and had a premonition of cheap-looking glass and steel condos...too bad. It was a nice block once upon a time.

Robert Vaughan said...

I miss Campanile. We had many business lunch dates there - not the best, but convenient and very old school. I took Anne Kaufman (the daughter of George S. Kaufman) to lunch there one afternoon several years ago. A very long lunch - she has the best stories and I can listen to her for hours. At her very advanced age she doesn't remember that she might have told you a story or two, but I love hearing them over and over. The staff let us sit and stay. When all was said and done, Anne asked if it was okay to ask for a doggie-bag. When we left, I looked across the street at the Martha Washington and remembered what that used to be like when I first came to New York for school. That was the year that The Gibson Girl on 28th and Park Avenue South closed.

Thanks for reminding me.

Pat said...

The Martha Washington fell on hard times, was a S.R.O. welfare hotel in the 70's - 80's along with the Seville, Prince George, Martinique and others in the area. They have been renamed and spruced up for their new life. Years ago you saw many strange folk in the area around Broadway 28th Street to 32nd Street, Koch dumped them all here.