Monday, February 28, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

In tragic news this weekend, one of my favorite places, the great Manganaro's is selling their building and may soon after shutter. "We've had it," they say, after a century in business. [WSJ]

More sad news: The Chinatown Fair Arcade has shuttered for good. Gone from Manhattan, it may reopen in Williamsburg. [BB]

"You just can't reconcile 'If you can make it here you can make it anywhere' with Little Wisconsin... We eat people from Wisconsin for lunch and use their bones as toothpicks." [Crain's]

Birdel's Records in Bed-Stuy to shutter. [CR]

Orologio says goodbye to Avenue A. [EVG]

Willets Point businesspeople to Bloomberg: "If you want what I got, act like a man and come face me. Don’t use eminent domain and steal from me." [NYT]

Artist Jason Hackenwerth's fantastically obscene balloon sculptures have invaded the windows of Bergdorf's. See more on my flickr:


enodo said...

Interesting that so many of the comments on your old post about Manganaros were about the bad service. I wonder if they could have saved it if they had brought in new blood.

Of course they'd rather die than sell to the other branch of the family.

BrooksNYC said...

The Manganaro's closing is very sad, although the daughter's foaming-at-the-mouth rages can't have done the family business any favors. In my 41 years in this town, I've never seen anything like it.

Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous old store, and her father was a gentleman of the old school, bless him. Bless them all.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i have always found the women at Manganaro's to be warm, friendly, and very sociable. they are Italian and brusque, that's all. "what do you want?" as a greeting is not a rebuke, but an invitation. to many ears, i understand it sounds harsh, but it's a cultural thing. it makes me sad and disappointed that people don't get that about those women, because they are really wonderful.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

I used to live up the block from Manganaro's and never had a problem with service. Sad to see a great old business go, but after reading of their on-going litigation, I can't say I'm surprised. Too bad someone else couldn't take it over.

And, I'm kicking myself for never having made it to the Chinatown arcade! :(

Jeremiah Moss said...

this Anon comment from over at the Eater post puts it well:

"The dell'Ortos ran the deli on their terms, and were only rude if you deserved it. The sign said "Seline's Kitchen" and that's what you wouldn't sass your auntie, and your respect was repaid with warmth and delicious specialties long gone from steamer tables and buffet bars. I once ordered my favorite sopresata hero and received a "you want that on a Friday? Before LENT???" but still got the sandwich. They steadfastly adhered to old world, old school values, and were content to serve those who truly appreciated it. Like Birrichino's unique sausages, Manganaros stood out like piece of living culinary history."

BrooksNYC said...

J, believe me: I know from brusque. I've been going to Shopsin's since Kenny was on Bedford Street.

What I witnessed at Manganaro's was of another magnitude. The woman's rage was out of control. Toxic. Guess I chose a bad day to stop in. Or perhaps you have charms to soothe the savage breast.

: )

Jeremiah Moss said...

now Shopsin i've found intimidating!

i've never seen the rage at Manganaro's, but i can understand it, just from the horrors they've had to deal with from the family lawsuits. sorry that was your experience. maybe try again before it's gone?

BrooksNYC said...

"The dell'Ortos ran the deli on their terms, and were only rude if you deserved it."

On their own terms, perhaps, but that last bit is baloney. I'm an extraordinarily gentle soul, not to mention one of the best-mannered men north of the Mason-Dixon line.

I was chatting with her father about the store instead of eating macaroni. That, I think, is what set Ms. dell'Orto off. I mentioned having read about the store online (your column, in fact), and she exploded. "Online, bullshit! Online bullshit! You're all full of bullshit!" It got crazier, uglier, and very loud, and so I left.

BrooksNYC said...

And I know you're right about the stresses the dell'Orto family has been under. It was clear that Ms. dell'Orto's meltdown had little, if anything, to do with me. I simply visited on a bad day.

Okay, I'll hush up now.

Marty Wombacher said...

I was going to try and make it to the Chinatown Arcade too, should've gone sooner. I hate to see all these places closing.

ShatteredMonocle said...

My experiences have always been positive. She's sat down and chatted at the table with me on a slow Friday lunch hour. And the food is excellent.

Ken Mac said...

another horrible loss as the City vanishes...

fifilaru said...

My father lived Hell's Kitchen in the 1970s and 80s. We ate at Heroboy all the time. (God, I love Heroboy!!) We avoided Manganaro's Grosseria most of the time. If Heroboy was super busy, we might go to the Grosseria, but we rarely did. The first time I ate there I was a kid. The food was ok, but I thought the lady was kind of nuts.

She had a thing for my father and was really rude and odd. My father is old school Italian from the area, so it wasn't like he was some out-of-towner. I don't know if she was flirting or just nuts.

Anyway, I liked the way the Grosseria looked, it was so old fashioned.

As for the Chinatown Arcade. I loved it as a kid. And the hen never really seemed to mind. When I was older, I felt sorry for her. But she seemed content and wasn't facing a soup pot.

Unknown said...

I've only been to Manganaro's once so my opinion doesn't hold as much weight,but the woman was so friendly to us,it was as if we were family.She chatted us up the whole time we ate (awesome home cooked food)and made us feel very comfortable.Same thing with the German tourists who came in as we were finishing.She did chew some guys head off while we were there though.He came in pretending to be a customer but in fact didnt want to spend money after all as he was actually trying to sell her something.