Monday, January 9, 2012

The Adore


The cafe The Adore at 17 East 13th Street closed in early December. The gate is down, a FOR LEASE sign is up, and there's a note covered with tearful customer goodbyes.

I never went there, but was fascinated by the old signage out front that says ERSKINE PRESS. Walter Grutchfield reports that Erskine opened here in 1911.

Sometime after Erskine, The Villager (?) moved in. When it moved out, Anais Nin and Gonzalo More brought in Gemor Press in 1944.

Nin writes about it in her diary:

Nin worked at the press eight hours a day and complained about it throughout her Diary. During this time she saw a lot of Russian movies, underwent psychoanalysis, and hoped for news of Hitler's death. She printed Under a Glass Bell and published a book of poems by the Syrian poet Berthie Zilka with a red suede cover. She struggled to "keep the press afloat."

In the fall of 1944 the press was harassed by a man "carrying some kind of a badge" and claiming to be a "night watchman." He told Nin that every shop in the neighborhood paid him for his protection and if Nin didn't pay they'd be burglarized. Nin refused and the next day the shop's plate-glass window was shattered. They fixed the window and it was shattered again. Getting drunk with the night watchman, however, got him to back off and he provided his protection for free.

But life at the press was taxing for Nin. In October she wrote, "I am smothering under the weight of the press." Gonzalo wasn't doing his job, claiming, "I'm an old anarchist. I cannot be disciplined," so Nin had to take time away from her writing to manage the business, which she resented.

I'm not sure when the press closed. Perhaps in the late 1940s. And what moved in to 17 E. 13th after that, who knows?

As for what's to come, I'll let a Yelper say it: "There's a liquor permit plastered to gate. This cozy place was my ace to escape the chaos of Union Square. Sad how something so adorable will be replaced with something expensive and lame."


JM said...

Crap. I hope the building survives. Not many of those little structures left around town, and they're always a joy just to see.

Crap, crap, crap. Damn.

Mark said...

In the mid-70's this was the site of Le Trois Petit Cochon, a charcuterie that is known now for it's retail products.

See menu:

If I remember correctly, you could pick up a lunch or dinner plate to go, featuring pate and celery root remoulade for about $3.00.

Erika said...

THE ADORE IS GONE?! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :(

...I'm just going to stay in this cozy little section of Queens and never venturing out again.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

That upstairs room was so lovely, especially when the tree in front was in bloom. Sad to lose a quiet, cozy, calm oasis.

Anonymous said...

The Adore is re-opening next door in the asian grocery. Not sure of the details but that's what I've heard

Anonymous said...

Important to note they got repeated inferior grades from the health department food inspections. I would not buy any food from a place with a "C" sticker.

Michael Simmons said...

I believe the Schrafft's Anais Nin refers to was later the Lone Star Cafe.

Jeremiah Moss said...

this one?

Miss Phoebe said...

So sad! They had the best coffee, and eating lunch upstairs was such a pleasure. Damn damn damn is right!

Anonymous said...

What a shame, The Adore was such a hidden treasure, and the staff so nice. There was nothing better than having a baguette and cafe au lait early morning by the window upstairs. First the Cedar, now The Adore.