Monday, August 1, 2016

Cafe Edison Whitewashed

When Times Square's Cafe Edison closed in December 2014, after a long and mighty fight to save its life, we lost something unique that can never be recreated. A beloved mom-and-pop, a warm and comfortable place decorated like a wedding cake, the filigreed walls and ceiling painted powder pink and baby blue.

The new restaurant moving in, we learned last year, will be Friedman's Lunch. What will Friedman's do to the space? Reader Shade took a recent peek through the window and sent in this shot.

As you can see, the place has been white-washed. No more pink and blue. And, from a distance, those columns look suspiciously smooth--has all the antique filigree been scraped away?

Here's what the columns used to look like--they date back a long time:

Oh, sure, maybe the white paint is just a primer coat. Maybe they're going to bring back the pink and blue in "homage" to the past. Really, though, I hope not. Those colors belong to what we lost--to what was destroyed by greed. Not to the conquerors.

As for Friedman's Lunch, I've said it here before, but it's worth repeating. It is not, as their real-estate broker told the Daily News, "a modest, family business."

Friedman’s is run by a hospitality group with over 20 other restaurants, including an Asian fusion joint, a salad place, and the Pick A Bagel chain.

And in case you think some Friedman family runs the place, think again. There are no Friedmans here. According to the restaurant’s website, the name is a tribute to Milton Friedman. He was the modern-day father of neoliberalism (which is neither new nor liberal). The man who advised the murderous dictator Augusto Pinochet to “shock” the people of Chile with radical economics. The free-market fundamentalist whose theories became policy under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, leading to vast inequality, the destruction of the environment, Donald Trump, and pretty much every other nightmare of modern life.

News breaks about Cafe Edison's forced closure
Over 600 supporters come to our first of many Lunch Mobs
Local politicians and Mayor Bill de Blasio join the fight to Save Cafe Edison
Big rally and press conference at Cafe Edison
The last day announcement
Cafe Edison Closes


Ms. said...

POTENT research here about the non-existent Friedman Family and the roots of the real Friedman that serves as model. Real estate is very real, very global and never ever about modesty.

Andrew Porter said...

"There Ain't No Such thing as a Free Lunch" was popularized by Robert A. Heinlein under the acronym TANSTAAFL, pronounced tanstaffel. Although the phrase goes way back, Heinlein popularized it in his 1966 novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." Friedman's use came over a decade later:

Jim Bay said...

You should take a look at what they've done to the Edison's south lobby passageway (the one that was in The Godfather)