Thursday, May 1, 2008

Schaller & Weber

Continuing the tour of Yorkville survivors, next door to the Heidelberg restaurant is Schaller & Weber, a family-owned food and butcher shop specializing in wursts since 1937.

Its address, 1654 Second Ave, was originally listed on the MTA's deathlist of private properties to be seized for the Second Ave Subway. The "4-story residential with ground floor meat market" was meant to accommodate the 86th Street station entrance. Thankfully, someone came to their senses and, in a project update, eliminated this entrance, thus sparing the building. (Miraculously, the MTA has also decided to seize a Chase Bank and a Duane Reade! Imagine a city in which eminent domain only affected chains, banks, and luxury condos. What a concept.)

Nusschinken and Nivea

So Schaller & Weber will live on. They seem to be doing well. The place was very busy when I was there and they got some good press during the Pope's recent visit, thanks in part to Mr. Schaller's invention of the "Popewurst," a combination of bockwurst and bratwurst wrapped in a pretzel.

Although business was brisk for the lone cashier, when an elderly customer with a walker needed help getting out the door, the cashier left her post and held the door for the woman. No one in the line complained.

I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that these are the little moments that save us, that renew us and keep us feeling human, connected. When the city is completely taken over by Generation O, with their hollow brand of commerce, these moments won't happen anymore. And some essential part of us will simply die, quietly and with a whimper.

There is more Yorkville to come. Until then, check out ForgottenNY's tour for more Schaller & Weber.


Lidian said...

Oh, Schaller and Weber! My dad used to joke about how precisely everything was lined up in their front the name and place is very familiar to me. Yorkville is my old neighborhood.

I really miss Paprikas Weiss, that was such a fantastic place. It has changed so much - that area - from when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.

Anonymous said...

My heart stopped when I saw Schaller and Weber's name on your page. I guess I've come to regard you more as an angel of death than a chronicler of the surviving...Oh, and don't miss the weisswurst, as well the small bags of bacon chunks (great in sauces, sandwiches, etc.)near the cash register.

Jeremiah Moss said...

don't drop dead on us baha! it's okay--they seem to be doing well and survived their close call with the second-ave-subway of doom.

Anonymous said...

My stepgrandfather was the Hennigs of Lassen & Hennigs in Brooklyn. It was a great German deli, still exists, but is about as German as Di Fara these days.

Anonymous said...

Been travelling to NYC as a buyer from Cleveland for
over 30 years. Made it a point to stay in every neigh-
borhood and learned every nook and cranny of Man-
hatten. Watching it turn into a mall like we'd find here
on I271 is just sad. Will always love the energy, will
mourn the loss of the umbrella store, Johnny Jupiter,
Mythology, you name it, it's gone.

Unknown said...

I started life on East 83rd Street and received many free samples of cold cuts from kindly butchers at S&W on 86th St.
I miss old Yorkville. My favorite place was the Ideal on 86th St. It was timeless and made me feel like nothing had changed since 1930.