Monday, March 12, 2012

Roxy Luncheonette


A few years ago I wandered into the Roxy Luncheonette down on John Street, between Broadway and Nassau, where I never wander. It's a lovely little gem that has survived since 1944. At the time I wrote, "It's got everything a luncheonette should have: chrome swivel stools, a quilted stainless steel backsplash, and good egg creams."

Now a reader writes in to say the Roxy is about to vanish.

"The construction down here is awful," says reader Frank, who lives in the neighborhood. Six different construction projects are happening all at once on John Street--including a new dorm and hotel. The local Downtown News calls it the "Hammers of Hell."

"It's been going on forever and the Roxy just won't make it," Frank writes. "I never see anyone in there. Who would want to go? It's so loud with all the jackhammering, and the streets are torn up something awful. The owner says he'll need to close in a few months in this video (at the 50-second mark)."

"How long do you think you can stay in business with this going on," the reporter asks the Roxy's owner, referring to the construction nightmare.

"Couple more months," says the owner, who has been at the Roxy for 36 of its 68 years. "Maybe a few more months."

"I hope you're wrong," the reporter replies.

The owner shakes his head, "No, I'm not."

Roxy blocked by a backhoe


Marty Wombacher said...

I feel sorry for the businesses and people who live down there, it sounds like a hellish existence. Dialing 311 seems to be a waste of time.

Mitch said...

Dialing 311 reaches Bloomberg's city hall. Why would you expect it to help/

Laura Goggin Photography said...

The Roxy needs a cash mob!

Jeremiah Moss said...

true about the cash mob. but if people didn't show up for Odessa, will they really go to John Street?

onemorefoldedsunset said...

What a nightmare of a street. I was surprised the cash mob was so lightly attended, but will defintely commit to try & put some business Roxy's way, even if it seems too late.


Maybe if the cash mob was scheduled later than 6pm it might attract more people?

Ed said...

Its too bad. I used to work near enough there to go to lunch in that place at least once, but I didn't know about it at the time. However, even when I was working down there that part of Manhattan was something of a nightmare for pedestrians to get around during the day, almost as bad as Times Square. It might be worse now as there is more construction and the pedestrian plaza did improve foot traffic flow in Times Square.

The good news is that most of the construction is for the Fulton Street transit center which, though it has been much criticized, will make getting to Lower Manhattan much easier in the future (I predict they will eventually run commuter rail to the thing). We just have to hope that enough of the existing businesses survive the construction process to make the area worth getting to for something other than office work.

esquared™ said...

I think, this is just another way of the powers that be of pushing out the old-time businesses in this area. Just look at Blarney Stone, for example. Hardly anyone was there during the construction at Fulton St. But now, (and the construction is still going on), that gastropub that replaced Blarney Stone -- Yellowfin Burger Pub -- is crowded, both at lunch , dinner and after hours, and flocked by tourists, the office workers and residents in the area. As Cormac McCarthy would say, NYC is no [longer] a country for old men (or establishments.)

Anonymous said...

I own " the irish american pub" now for 6 long months. The street and sidewalk is killing us. I spoke to the lower manhattan development commitee who said you had to be in business for a year to receive any help which is ironic as the first year is the tougest .Theycame late to meeting as the couldnt walk down the street. There was a giant crane on my doorstep hoisting girders to the new hotel and They had to wait till this was done. This was at lunchtime on a friday. Do any of you know some other organisation i could turn to?dont forget to stop in for a pint. Cheers brian mclaughlin