The powers-that-be have body-snatched Chumley's. Like they've done to so many of our classic joints. It happened to Minetta's, to Fedora and Rocco's, the Lion and the Waverly Inn. They tried doing it to John's of 12th Street, but were foiled.
Writing on the trend, the Times in 2010 noted that the Village "has become like a theme park of the past, as these restored standards offer a vision of a lost bohemian New York — albeit with a well-heeled clientele and prices to match."
"Authentrification" is one word for it. Wrote Alexandria Symonds in 2011 of upscale businesses that authentrify: "in their quest for authenticity, they’re seizing on elements that represent the area’s past and repurposing them as a design scheme."
photo: Alex Smith - Flaming Pablum
I don't have to go to Chumley's to know what's happened to it, but in case you need a first-hand account, here's Pete Wells in the Times this week:
"If you heard that Chumley’s is open again, you were misinformed. The dim, spare, beer-scented hideaway in the West Village is gone, torn down, not coming back. At its old address is a restaurant that has nothing in common with the original except a name, a door, an archway and framed photographs of, and jackets of books by, writers who used to drink there. Most of them wouldn’t be able to afford a cocktail there now, let alone dinner...
...Now, instead of atmosphere, Chumley’s has décor; the book jackets and photographs are elements in a haunted house attraction featuring the ghosts of Hemingway and Kerouac. The neighbors sleep better, but the neighborhood isn’t as interesting."
Here's when it used to be (minute mark 1:43). Pour one out.
before the collapse