Thursday, June 22, 2017

Second Ave San Loco

The Second Avenue San Loco taco joint supplied my first meal in the East Village, 23 years ago. I ate those crunchy tacos on my fire escape after a long day of moving in. Back then, it was across Second Avenue, a hole in the wall bedecked in yellow and red.

The place was always full of customers. On its last night, it was packed. And now it's gone. The rent was too damn high.

In the plastic-covered windows, the owners have posted an "I Love NY" sign. The neon lights are dark.

I talked to co-owner Jill Hing last year about San Loco's struggles. She told me:

"There are many factors that contribute to our struggle to survive--and the noose definitely keeps tightening. Our customer base has been mostly squeezed out of this neighborhood as a consequence of hyper-gentrification. Rent is a constant source of stress. In our case, as with many long-standing businesses, we are at the mercy of the landlord and live in fear of our next rent renewal."

That fear has come true. As it does every day for many long-lived small businesses in New York City.

The last--as good as the first

For other San Loco locations, click here.


Scout said...

I remember when that first San Loco opened on the west side of Second Avenue back in 1986. I was living on 7th Street and Avenue C, and Alphabet City was already losing its genuine bohemian credibility, with that grotesque Ford Modeling Agency buying most of the Cristadora House on Tompkins Square Park to house its stable of pampered poodle-models, all complaining about those "dirty bums" in the Park, making them feel unsafe, demanding that the police throw them out. it was the first step towards glossy gentrification, helped along by the Rent Chic trend inspired by the Broadway show - the fad for banal bourgeois suburbanites to imitate bohemian culture, albeit with the comfort of a trust fund and the lack of any creativity or personality whatsoever.

Anyway, San Loco had great food at a great price, and reading the two brother-owners' manifesto up on the wall was always comforting. However, not long after opening, the brothers fell out, one had his name clumsily painted out of the manifesto, and from then on, San loco felt just a little more corporate.

What never changed was the good food at a good price, though. San Loco will be missed.

BrooksNYC said...

Sorry for the bad news.

In other bad news, I read yesterday that the Polish G. I. Delicatessen will close at month's end:

Although I no longer live in the East Village, I've made yearly July pilgrimages downtown to this old-fashioned Village store for Grace's borscht nonpareil. I usually haul half a gallon of borscht home to Washington Heights!

And I'll miss my friendly chats with David and Grace. Will they retire, or reopen elsewhere? Hope springs eternal, but the odds of their reopening seem shaky.

Marjorie said...

All of the Radio Shacks in Manhattan are closing.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

How does this social engineering conspiracy continue unabated?
Who all is in charge, who allows this crap to keep going on?

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