Monday, July 6, 2009

Last Supper at Joe's

Last week I had my last meal at Joe Jr.'s: cheeseburger deluxe and chocolate egg cream. As Grieve reported, Joe's has closed.

The news came out last week that Joe's would close on Sunday after 35 years in the Village. They lost their lease--one man at the counter stated, "They had the lease, but the landlord backed out at the last minute." Others said about the landlord, "It's the son, not the father, who's making problems." In an interview on NY1 the landlord said he would try to extend the lease through July and, about his son, "forget him altogether." But no dice.

On my visit, the little diner was packed and people kept flowing in--to sign a petition, give their regrets and outrage, and eat a meal. Some people were in denial, "It won't really happen." Others were somber, "It's a terrible shame." Some were angry, "The landlord is a greedy prick." The waitress was exhausted, "I haven't stopped since 3:00 this afternoon."

The petition on the counter filled up fast, people signing their names under the words: "DON'T LET JOE JR'S CLOSE: After 35 years in the neighborhood, please let the landlord know how important Joe's is to the Greenwich Village community. Joe's is our kitchen, our meeting place, our hangout, our comfort food. Our neighborhood will lose a treasure should it shut down this weekend."

Next to the petition was a paper with the landlord's name and number, urging people to call. One woman called on the spot, leaving an angry message for the landlord stating, among other things, "This is a shonda!"

Outside, passersby stopped to read the sign in shock, crying out, "Oh, no!" They went in to sign the petition, too. People lingered on the sidewalk, talking about what could be done to save Joe's--hire a lawyer, organize a rally, call Tom Duane!--and about the many losses of the vanishing city, in which anything can be taken away without much warning at all.

See all my Joe's photos here


Richard said...

Sad. It was always a great place.

The Hater said...

This is another neighborhood tragedy. Our family will call the landlord, Tom Duane, and we add the Mayor's office, Christine Quinn and Deborah Glick.

Sempion said...

Yes, another tragedy-- a social tragedy I call them. I'll add it to the long and growing list of places that made this City the City that it "was".

Grand St. said...

Passed by at about noon today and saw the booths being removed. The landlord is clearly wasting no time getting this "prime retail space" ready.

While I was there, a cab pulled up and out came an old guy with a walker and his aide. The man had bruises and cuts as if he'd recently suffered a fall. They stared at the activity for a few seconds before I told them that Joe's had closed yesterday after losing it's lease.
He thanked me for the info, and they started south on 6th. Missed his last meal at Joe's by a day. Sad stuff.