Monday, January 5, 2015

Cafe Edison Gone

The Cafe Edison has officially left the building.

Closed on December 21, the owners have returned the keys to the Hotel Edison after 34 years in business. They've put their property in storage, with hopes of putting it to use once again in a new space. But there's no word on that as of yet.

The windows of the beloved coffee shop have been blacked out, the old signage removed. The street-side dining room has been emptied of tables and chairs.

In the main dining room, the booths have been disassembled.

At the counter, the stools have lost their swivel tops. No more glazed doughnuts on shapely chrome stands. No more grooved plastic menu boards announcing:

Matzo Brie, Gefilte Fish, Kasha Varniskas, Pickled Herring, Gyros...

Betty's cashier desk, once covered with notes and pictures, is bare.

Post Script:

On his "Dear Gerald Barad" site, where he published letters asking the owner of Hotel Edison to give Cafe Edison a new lease, Ira Glass writes a final note:

"Gerald Barad, the owner of the Edison Hotel, ordered the Cafe Edison to close, and it closed on Sunday, December 21st.

This website was an attempt to convince him to keep the place open. He ignored protests, a petition with over 10,000 signatures, and – reportedly – pleas from his own relatives. He obviously has his own reasons for wanting to shut the place down, reasons that are more important to him than what thousands of New Yorkers feel. 

Since his attitude towards all of us is basically 'fuck off,' it's hard not to feel that towards him right back, but what's bitterness ever get you?

I'll leave the site up for a little while.

Ira Glass"

News breaks about Cafe Edison's forced closure
Over 600 supporters come to our first of many Lunch Mobs
Local politicians and Mayor Bill de Blasio join the fight to Save Cafe Edison
Big rally and press conference at Cafe Edison
The last day announcement
Cafe Edison Closes


Anonymous said...

Just one of the few voices -- 10,000 -- who will never set foot in whatever white-tableclothed place ends up there...

James said...

I'm surprised the chandeliers didn't go into storage, too. I doubt the new table cloth joint will include those particular fixtures - being synonymous with the fabled café. Why people need to be such bastards is an eternal mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

Once the new place opens I hope there is a social media onslaught against it.

Forest Hills Harry said...

"Once the new place opens I hope there is a social media onslaught against it."

I'm going to miss Cafe Edison as much as the next New Yorker, but the blame here rests squarely with Gerald Barad for refusing to renew the lease. We have no idea if the new restaurant (whatever that business might be) had any hand in pushing Cafe Edison out.

Feel free not to eat at the new restaurant (whatever it might be). I certainly won't. But be sure the reason is because it will hurt Barad. Let's keep the anger directed at the man who deserves it.

Anonymous said...

My family and I have been staying at the Edison for 20+ years on our trips to NYC. One of the best parts of those trips was the Cafe. We will not step foot into whatever the Cafe is converted to and will tell our friends the same.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Thanks for all that you did for this good case... And the great documentation of what was once a New York legend...

Anonymous said...

Suggestion to Ira:

Change the Meta Title tag of the site he created to include the name of the eventual new tenant, and maybe create a final post containing the name, Barad's name, the address, etc.

Then, when people search for the new business's name, there's a chance his site will bubble up in Google results. Might turn off some patrons.

Or he can do so now as a heads up to any potential tenants who don't know the history of this latest skirmish.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but the zombies will patronize this restaurant just like they hit every Chipotle, every Dunkin Donuts, every Baked By Melissa Cupcakes, every Starbucks, every g*ddamned SHAKE SHACK, etc. They'll be in there, spending their $ or £ or € or bitcoins or whatever they have at hand, blithely unaware or uncaring about what got forced out to bring in another yunny/yuppy/hypergentrifying high end or artisanal or chain outlet.

Without any governmental action and any real boycotts, nothing is going to change. It will only get worse as the 6,500+ new condos go up all over the city this year alone.