Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cornelia Street Cafe

After more than a year of speculation, Cornelia Street Cafe has announced they will be closing.

PRLog reports the cafe "will close its red doors permanently on January 2nd, 2019."

Owner Robin Hirsch wrote, "I am sad to say that I am losing my oldest child. Cornelia has brought me both joy and pain, and it is with a broken heart that I must bid her adieu."

The reason for the closure has not been revealed. Last year, the Times reported on the cafe's troubles: "Their rent for the restaurant and basement space, at $33,000 a month, is 77 times what it was when the club opened (that’s not adjusting for inflation — but, in the name of consistency, they’re not charging $77 for a croissant)."

DNAInfo noted that the cafe was struggling--especially with landlord Mark Scharfman, "a frequent fixture on various 'Worst Landlord' lists." Hirsch told the blog at the time, "If I'm 10 minutes late with my rent, he threatens me with eviction."

Cornelia St. Cafe opened in 1977 and is beloved for its poetry readings, music, and other cultural events. As PRLog notes:

"The Café has been the site of many firsts – it is the place where Philippe Petit ('Man on Wire') strung a wire from the tree outside the cafe and danced across it juggling, where The Roches, a vocal group comprised of three Irish-American sisters started out; where Suzanne Vega sang her first songs, where Eve Ensler launched The Vagina Monologues."


Jean-Louis Derenne / ô jazz ! said...

One more… So sad ! Cornelia was one of the nicest places in the Village, a part of its soul. After The Garage, The Lenox lounge, The Greenwich Bistro… living jazz is slowly vanishing NY.
What a pity !

Unknown said...

at this rate, Jeremiah, you will have enough fodder for volume number 2 of Vanishing New York; so many of my favs have perished in '18

MJ Harris said...

This is distressing to me on SO many fronts; Cornelia Street Cafe was the scene of my return-to-performing my original music 25 years ago, and while I haven't lived in NYC since 1983, Manhattan still feels like home. Thanks for reporting these items, tho I can't say I welcome any of the news!? :-O

thatseaofflashingsapphires said...

the horrifying waking to the reality that the monsters have finally rose up from beneath the sewers and showed their sociopath corporate selves to lay their elite vampire hands on the throats of the starving, struggling, straggling artist.

We worship wealth and power so the bones of this fairy tale were always there, beneath the still and civil surface.

the outsider community is always fragile. protect it with your life.

Bozz Scagliwag said...

You know what's sad? No one in NYC will really get angry about this. They'll just post "end of an era" with a sad emoticon. But the politically correct types in NYC will get furious and demand Baby It's Cold Outside be banned, and will protest Jeff Sessions being pushed out months ago (6000 people showed up to support Sessions in Union Square park after years of calling him racist).

But having the character of their city destroyed? No issue with that whatsoever.

Don't see Blazio doing anything about it either. Just another closed up store front. He knows the citizens of NYC don't get mad about it. Much more important things to get mad about, like old songs.

RMAN said...

I use to hang out here in the early 80s - I think the bartender was Mike, loved to play Patsy Cline.
The greed of some landlords is astounding and unsettling, there is no remorse in tearing apart the fabric of a unique neighborhood.

Look back at pictures of NYC before the 2000s, better yet go to the 60s - look at how many small bars, clubs, shops there were. Not a single chain to be found (you had to go to "the country" to see those).

rongee said...

So, is anyone surprised. Just heard Pearl Diner in lower Manhattan will be closing its doors. Take a look at "the comeback of Bleecker St. ". Such a joke, a group of rotating pop up stores. Does anyone in the current administration care .....So very sad.

Unknown said...

i discovered the cornelia with a friend when we were looking for flamenco music a few years ago. what a wonderful night it was...good food, wonderful music and so warmly atmospheric. i am so very sorry to hear that it will no longer be. my gratitude to the owners and workers that have been there throughout the years. to me it was the classic small cafe that makes nyc a place of the heart. my very best and warmest wishes as you all move on.

Anonymous said...

This is just so sad. Really. What is going to be left of NYC in 10 years? Brooklyn... maybe.

zuzuzpetals said...

Heart broken over this.

timmmyk said...

Hey Jeremiah, As bad as the closing of Cornelia Street Cafe is, I did some shopping on Christopher Street on 12/22 and was utterly flabbergasted at what has happened to the very heart of LGBT history. The South side of Christopher between Bleecker and Bedford only has 3 open storefronts - A small shop/gallery, a spa and Ty's bar, which has been around since 1972. The photos are frightening. https://www.instagram.com/p/Brs6eKjHiCs/

Jeff said...

Hi Jeremiah,
Thank you for all of your hard work posting the changes to the city . In the 80's I lived in the East Village and spent a lot of time in Washington Hts. taking care of elderly relatives. I worked and had friends in pretty much every neighborhood. In the 90's I continued to travel back to do freelance work on artsy stuff. It has been heartbreaking to see what greed has done.
Again Thank you for your blog and letting me stay in touch with the City I love and miss . All the best in the years ahead.

Leslie said...

FYI-Souen is in HUGE trouble: https://www.change.org/p/the-co-op-at-210-6th-ave-and-save-souen