Wednesday, September 27, 2017

La Lunchonette Revisited

In 2015, the Chelsea restaurant La Lunchonette was forced to close, thanks to the High Line Effect. It had been in business there, and beloved, for 26 years.

The building was slated to be demolished, along with a former horse stable built in the 1880s, for a tax-supported, 10-story luxury condo made of wood, from SHoP, architects of the Barclays Center. Then the restaurant's former space showed up for rent.

Earlier this year, the developer scrapped plans for the luxury tower, blaming a downturn in the luxury condo market. “The project just wasn’t feasible,” he told The Real Deal.

And now?

A deli called Chelsea Square Market has opened in La Lunchonette's former space.

So the buildings get to live another day and the space isn't sitting empty, contributing to high-rent blight. It didn't turn into a chain store, either. But if I had to guess, I'd say the market's lease is likely short, that it's a temporary place-holder until the developers figure out what to do with their parcel.

And doesn't it seem a waste? All this time, La Lunchonette could have remained in business.


James said...

La Luncheonette occupied a building firmly connected to the sinew of Manhattan's business aspirations. It's hard to convince people not to drill for oil when there is likely to be oil - no matter what the collateral damage. It's only later, as in wars, the we see the waste and put up memorials to at least capture some essence of what was. This goes on and on. That has always gone on and on. The battle continues, as well, on the gridiron of imagination - where "La Luncheonette" - a name of total parody (do you get the joke?) - versus a literal thing like "Chelsea Square (get the joke) Market". The market seems to be finding its own relief in a "downturn" now that so many wells have been tapped. Fifty-Seventh Street should be a memorial now, and Carnegie Hall should probably be dragged down to the High Line.

Unknown said...

Sept 27, 2017

RE: NYT Book Review - Tracking the Hyper-Gentrification of New York, One Lost Knish Place at a Time

I just want to make one point. I stand proudly (or kneel, even) with all those who don't give a shit about the vitello tonnato, either.

Thank you.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

The way these places are being forced to shut down one by one so systematically via rent becoming incrementally exorbitant beyond affordable, it becomes too obvious this is but an all-out conspiracy.
Whoever's in charge of all this social engineering is truly out to destroy the long-standing traditional business and social climates.
It's an intracultural civil war of sorts.

Anonymous said...

I knew many people who lived or worked in 130 Tenth. The artist owner kicked them out for an artistic/capitalist dream. It didn't work, and he sold the building for $10 million. Now the rents have more than doubled. You can blame it on the Highline and the change in neighborhood, but there is no law that says a landlord has to go along with the opportunities that greed and gentrification allow.
Also, I don't understand a word that James above said.