Friday, October 19, 2018

Coffee Shop to Chase Bank

A tipster friend tells us that the famous and just-shuttered Coffee Shop on Union Square is rumored to become yet another Chase Bank.

He attended the post-closing auction this week and chatted with insiders there. They told him: 1. The space is going to Chase, 2. The rent was hiked to $3 million annually, and 3. Chase might be keeping the antique neon sign and re-doing the letters so it spells out CHASE instead of COFFEE SHOP.

None of this is confirmed for sure, but if the sign switcheroo happens, it would be yet another example of New York City soul snatching, a.k.a. authentrification. (See also: Village Den, Rocco's, Bill's Gay 90s, and too many more to list.)

Ironically, the original coffee shop here before Coffee Shop was called Chase--possibly Jack Chase in the 1950s. The name is still in the floor of the doorway.

In the 1980s, it was Jason's Restaurant.

photo by Karen Gehres, via Flaming Pablum

Tax photograph

Now it's empty, the pots and pans auctioned off, the lamps and decorations removed.

It's time to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and protect places like Coffee Shop from becoming more banks (and Starbucks, and Targets, and pricey boutiques). Go to the public hearing on Monday, October 22. Speak your mind. If that's not possible, here are more easy, quick ways you can make a difference today. The future of this city depends on you.


James said...

Finally, a new bank branch for Manhattan - and from such a hard-to-find brand.
Truthfully, I'm mindful that two Upper East Side branches have just closed, ironically making life less convenient for people I know who actually use them. Now this comes along as the unneeded addition - another spacer, another generally superfluous arm of the franchise. I was actually more enamored of the Coffee sign than of the place itself, as it was rather pricey, but there will probably be offerings of stale coffee for customers, served in 6-ounce Styrofoam cups adjacent to congealed non-dairy creamers, so tradition will be regally retained. I can just taste it now.

Unknown said...

In my 18 years of living in NYC, I feel like all this recent talk about SBJSA represents my first feeling of true momentum...that maybe, just maybe, we can somewhat halt the rampant commodization of our NYC neighborhoods, and with it, the sacrifice of local businesses.

I have cleared my calendar in order to show up at City Hall this Monday, and I urge any NYer who's disgusted by the new-normal in Manhattan, and all our outer borough nabes, to make their presences felt on Monday the 22nd at City Hall!

Idabloomstein said...

Just discovered your blog which was recommended by a friend of a friend. Love it.

"Authentrification." Such a a great portmanteau.

This too shall pass. The pendulum of history will swing back ever so slowly. Relax.

My Sicilian family hails from Boreum Hill, Brooklyn back in the day when it was a working class place reminiscent of The Honeymooners. My grandparent's generation lived in old once grand brownstones that had been carved up into a dozen apartments. Depression. War. Everyone fled the city the instant tract homes in Jersey and Long Island were built. They never looked back except to lament how "dark" the old neighborhood had become. By the 70s when I was a kid much of Brooklyn and whole chunks of Manhattan were decrepit bankrupt war zones.

Then, the tide turned and began to move toward what we see today. This will not last forever. Fifty years from now a new generation will look back in amazement and horror at how society allowed historic bank buildings to devolve into low rent hovels. I'll be dead by then.

Stop kvetching about the loss of the old world. It's gone and isn't coming back. Instead, go out and reinvent the future someplace else. Or more critically, prepare for the inevitable correction so you can ride the transition with a degree of grace in the meantime.

Johnny from

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Ironically the previous coffee shop (to occupy that space) was called "Chase".
Does this mean J.P.Morgan Chase is being assisted by some divine intervention?
Whose side are the spirits on?

marty said...

Peoria's looking better every day!

Unknown said...

The Amigo Shop Petah Tikva is one of the Amigo chain's coffee shops.