Monday, September 12, 2016

Christopher off 7th

Seems like something's happening on Christopher Street, just west of 7th Avenue South.

1. Karavas Pizza & Pita is gone. Back in 2011, the building owner said, “John Karavas and his parents have been tenants there for more than 50 years. The easiest way for us to make money would be to rent it out to some chain restaurant, and we don’t want to do that.”

Maybe there's a new owner?

2. The little spot next to Karavas is gone, too. I think it was one of those little souvenir stands, selling t-shirts and bongs.

3. Next to that, the long-time location of Boots & Saddle emptied out a couple years ago when "the new landlord" hiked the rent by a ton. Boots moved on, this spot has since been painted brown, and a sign on the door says Hakata Tonton Japanese restaurant is moving in.

What's happening here? Is it all one landlord giving the boot? And what about Village Cigars in their little triangular spot?


Scout said...

Yes, that little area has changed enormously since I first came to NYC in the 70s. I couldn't guess the number of small shops that have shuttered, to be replaced by either another small shop or a chain. Circle Rep, probably Off Broadway's best theatre ever, went under and became a grotesque hipster restaurant (which has since gone under, thankfully). Charles Ludlam died and his little theatre became one innocuous thing after another. The old Duplex, a fun hangout for theatre folk, moved from Grove Street across the square and became a spot for tourists to sit and feel bohemian, singing Elton John instead of show tunes. The Five Oaks died. The only thing in that area that reminds me of the past is The Monster, which will probably never go away.

Mike Lopez said...

Hakata has been on Grove for a Long time. They expanded into the old boots and saddle space.

laura rubin said...

average people have taken over new york. its now mainstream. another shopping & face stuffing pit stop.

Richard Federico said...

I've been wondering myself if the days of the historic "Village Cigars" and it's infamous "Hess Triangle" are possibly numbered since they don't own the building or the triangle anymore. The "70 Christopher Realty Corporation" has owned it since 1995 when They bought it from Yeshiva University. Village Cigars rents the store from them and even though it's a famous Village landmark, it seems nothing is sacred today.

Ironically 100 years ago the Hess Triangle was created out of opportunity to protest a different kind of developmental pressure which forced sweeping changes to that area.

John K said...

As Scout says, so much in and around this stretch of Christopher and 7th has changed since the 1970s--and even the 1990s and early 2000s!--and continues to, but so much of the vibrancy of all those little shops is gone, in favor of bland, soulless chains and high end boutiques. This isn't change, it's erasure. Thank you, Jeremiah, for refusing to accede through silence.

It's feels almost unreal to recall that Occupy New York (and other Occupy protests) were just five years ago. It feels like a lifetime, a decade, a century ago. One outcome of that movement, which was crushed by the Feds and local police was that New Yorkers elected a supposedly progressive mayor whose opponents and antagonists labeled him a Sandinista, a person of the Left. He promised to address the homeless crisis, gentrification, the lack of jobs for working class New Yorkers, and counter so much else that Mayor Bloomberg had promoted and advanced.

Instead, this mayor and his City Council now preside over one of the highest homeless levels since the 1980s. They have done almost nothing to stop hypergentrification, and he in particular is despised not only by the people who couldn't stand him when he ran, but he's losing his supporters by the day. Meanwhile, the real estate industry and Wall Street keep steamrolling everything without a pause. Talk about a giant con!

Kevin G said...

For some reason, I remember going into that place late night in the 70s for Taco Bell type burritos. Was it at one time a Mexican outlet? Or maybe they just served Mexican along with everything else.
Also remember Smilers around the corner. And Boots and Saddles, of course. Im waiting for when Tys vanishes down the street.

Donnie Moder said...

This little corner is like a set piece that is being dismantled. It is a figurehead, the cherry on top of the sundae, the calling card of what is the west village to many people. It is an identifying pastiche. And it will be wiped out completely if Village Cigars goes. Village Cigars itself was renovated 10 to 15 years ago and that took away some charm from that place. Obviously, there are financial concerns on such a busy corner that another type of store, or maximizing return by capitalizing on any development rights would bring. How many cigars or nick nacks can be sold at the current store, while a rolled ice cream or bagel emporium of a chain store could bring more? How bout a J. Crew or TGF Fridays? What the new owners of the real estate have in mind is probably something that goes with the theme of many real estate transactions in the city nowadays. Bringimg in a anchor tenant that is a national brand that will pay 4 times more rent on such a visible corner. Or build something that maximizes zoning rights and modernizes the look of the place while removing any uniqueness, tradition or character. Combining all the little stores into one and getting a big bucks tenant is probably in the cards.

Yank said...

Karavas used to be called 'Taco Rico', and served what was referred to on the menu board as 'chizzy pizza'. I used to stop there for a snack after a night out in the village. It changed name in the 80's.

anduarto said...

This blog hurts so much. I glad someone remembers Five Oaks. I wandered in one night in 1984 and was completely smitten. Where is the next New York? (And please don't tell the developers).

Yank said...

The Five Oaks was one in a million. After Marie Blake died, it continued as before for a year or two. Then there was a horrible makeover, then it closed.
Of all the lost places in NYC, The Oaks is the one I miss the most. Here's a treat for anyone who ever hung out on Grove in those days.