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From Spoiled NYC:

The Sound of Silence: A Tribute To Webster Hall

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For 131 years, Webster Hall has hosted some of the world’s biggest musical acts. Today it closes its doors– at least until it reopens under new ownership, sold in a deal worth an estimated $35 million.

The space, with a maximum capacity of 2,500 people, served as a nightclub, concert venue, corporate events space, and recording studio.

It will reopen in either 2019 or 2020 as the newly christened Spectrum Hall, its space restricted to concerts and sporting events.

I received the phone call in early May. A friend of mine told me management had served all Webster Hall employees with termination notices.

True, it had been a couple of years since I’d set foot in the venue, but a part of me heaved a pained sigh for yet another victim of the city’s changing landscape, for the many dances I’d shared with fellow miscreants who streamed into the place, their wrists ablaze with the shades of kandi bracelets and multi-colored fluffies.

I remembered the faces of the girls I kissed as vividly as I recalled those of the men I kissed– or shyly didn’t kiss. I recoiled at the memory of the crappy wage I made at the time, of the overpriced drinks, the even more overpriced water bottles, a precious commodity in a space that scorched with summer heat even in midwinter.

The people I met there ran the gamut, from frat bros with cockeyed grins, to scene kids with more gumption than me, roadsters who surveyed groups of three or more, code switching and peddling ketamine all the while.

Mirrored behavior existed on the far more spacious dance floor at Amazura Concert Hall in Queens or the even more cramped Electric Warehouse in Brooklyn, and the East Village had long given way to millennial kink, this host of music, bodies, motion, and silent exchanges in bathroom stalls.

“Webster had that old-time New York grunge that made you feel like you were part of the 19th century, in the sense that “fun” could easily involve trying to locate your stolen purse/phone,” says Michael Yates, formerly of Harlem and now living in Los Angeles.

“I’ll miss it. I’m sure the new version of the inside will look fantastic and modern and have a pleasant aroma. Old style Webster Hall was my first immersion into NYC’s EDM scene at the time. It was a place that was magical in the dark, probably because it would look awful when illuminated by sunlight.”

websterhall Having our friend @Halsey visit for an intimate show in the The Studio at Webster Hall tonight before we close for renovations in August. Stay tuned for more surprise shows leading up till then!

The venue, Yates continues, is a “perfect example” of New York City’s infrastructure.

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Monday July 24

 

6:30 PM  –  8:00 PM

Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E 3rd St

Since it opened in 1854, McSorley’s Old Ale House has been a New York institution. This is the landmark watering hole where Abraham Lincoln campaigned and Boss Tweed kicked back with the Tammany Hall machine; where a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs found their final resting place;and where soldiers left behind wishbones before departing for the First World War, never to return and collect them. Many of the bar’s traditions remain intact, from the newspaper-covered walls to the plates of cheese and raw onions, the sawdust-covered floors to the tall-tales told by its bartenders.

McSorley’s is also home to deep, personal stories – including that of Geoffrey “Bart” Bartholomew, a career bartender of 45 years, and his son Rafe who grew up helping his dad at the landmark bar. Join Rafe to talk about his new book on the topic, where he explores McSorley’s bizarre rituals, bawdy humor, and eccentric tasks, including protecting decades-old dust on treasured artifacts and defending a 150-year-old space against the worst of Hurricane Sandy.

Free. Reservations required.
[This event is not accessible.]

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From Bowery Boogie:

Breaking: ‘Cup & Saucer’ Ending Service on Monday After Decades on Canal Street

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 at 12:39 pm by

Say goodbye to that classic 1940s Coca-Cola sign at the corner of Eldridge and Canal Streets. Word on the block is that the fabled luncheonette, Cup & Saucer, is hanging it up. It’s closing shop after decades serving the neighborhood, thanks to a steep rent hike.

And there’s no time for you to process this information, either, as the last day of business is Monday.

Every few years, rumors surface detailing a demise that was continuously eluded. Especially after the building reportedly sold several years ago, creating much uncertainty whether the business would actually survive. Co-owner John Vasilopoulos told Metro in 2015 that he hoped the new owner would maintain the 5-year lease arrangement of the predecessor to keep afloat. Then there was the recent upstairs fire back in January, which no doubt threatened the operation. This time, however, it appears the talk is true. A tipster who frequents the establishment daily was informed by staff of the closure. Apparently, they started telling all the regular customers today.

We don’t really know what to say. The Cup & Saucer is a no-frills Lower East Side treasure that serves all strata of the community. “Giving the people of New York quality food, fast delivery, and great customer service,” as its website prominently touts. On any given morning, you find construction workers, commuters, travelers, and locals mingling at the countertop.

It’s been under the same ownership for nearly thirty years. Partners Nick Castanos (also a cook) and John Vasilopoulos took over the business in 1988, yet local lore suggests the corner kitchen dates back some 77 years. The duo also owns a diner in Ridgewood, Queens.

Our tipster surmises that the luncheonette also fell victim to the effects of failed development (i.e. the Canal Tower) and the encroaching Chinatown Bus situation that’s multiplying along Canal Street between Forsyth and Allen.


Visual Documentation of the distinguishing interior features of the now-bygone The Cup & Saucer Luncheonette (from Untapped Cities.com)

Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup & Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

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From silive.com:

Schaffer’s Tavern: Winky says ‘it’s time’ for last call; sets closing date

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From Untapped Cities:

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from Eater New York:

Le Perigord Shutters After 53 Years to De-Unionize

Owner Georges Briguet plans to reopen it as a new restaurant later this year

Update: Local 100 organizer Mike Feld tells Eater that he’s been negotiating with Briguet since last year, and the owner’s been clear that he’s not happy with the increases.…

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This business is now bygone, and 3rd generation owner Paul Eng gave it its eulogy via the vanishing New York blog…

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fong Inn Too

 VANISHING

Fong Inn Too is the oldest family-run tofu shop in New York City and, quite possibly, in the United States. Founded on Mott Street in Chinatown in 1933, it closes forever tomorrow–Sunday, January 15.

Paul Eng

Third-generation co-owner Paul Eng showed me around the place. Upstairs, a massive noodle-making machine churns out white sheets of rice noodle, sometimes speckled with shrimp and scallion. Downstairs, a kitchen runs several hours a day with steaming woks and vats of tofu and rice cake batter, including a fragrantly fermenting heirloom blend of living legacy stock that dates back decades.

Eng’s family came to New York from Guangzhou in the Guangdong province of China (by way of Cuba), like many of Chinatown’s earliest immigrants. His grandfather, Geu Yee Eng, started the business, catering mainly to the neighborhood’s restaurants. His father, Wun Hong, and later his mother, Kim Young, took over after World War II and kept it going, branching out from tofu to many other items, including soybean custard, rice noodle, and rice cake.


Brown rice cake waiting to be cut

The rice cake is the shop’s specialty. It has nothing to do with the puffed rice cakes you eat when you’re on a diet. This cake is fermented, gelatinous, sweet, and sticky like a honeycomb. It comes in traditional white as well as brown, a molasses creation of Geu Yee Eng, and it is an important food item for the community.

A few times each year, the people of Chinatown line up down the block for rice cake to bring to the cemeteries, leaving it as an offering to their departed relatives.

“It’s a madhouse,” says Paul. “They come early to beat the traffic and fight each other for the rice cake.” No one else makes it–Fong Inn Too supplies it to all the neighborhood bakeries. “Once we’re gone, it’s gone.” Customers have been asking Paul where they will get their rice cake for the next cemetery visit. “I tell them I don’t know.”


Cutting the white rice cake

The Engs have sold their building and Fong Inn Too goes with it. Business has been hard, though Paul’s brothers, Monty and David, have done their best. Their father passed away earlier this year. Their eldest brother, Kivin, “the heart of the place,” also passed. Their mother tried to keep it going, but “her legs gave out,” and she had to stop. The closing, Paul says, has been hardest on her. “This place is like a child to her.”

Paul is the youngest of his siblings and, while he worked in the store as a kid, he doesn’t know the business anymore. Like many grandchildren of immigrants, his life is elsewhere. As for the fourth generation, there’s no one available to take over.


Paul Eng

“I’m in mourning,” Paul told me–for the shop, for family, and for his childhood home.

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Though such terminology as “fair trade” and “ethical shopping” have become buzzwords in recent years, a business which has engaged in a version of this mindful commerce before it became fashionable is going out of business. By April, NYC will have seen the last of Liberty House. The story, from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Liberty House

VANISHING

Liberty House, at 112th and Broadway, is vanishing after 49 years in business. And it’s no ordinary local shop.


photo: Jed Egan, New York magazine

It is the last of its kind, a small chain of New York shops first organized in 1965 by Abbie Hoffman and other civil rights workers in Mississippi to sell goods made by poor women of color, with the profits going back to the original communities, and to support the Civil Rights Movement.

I talked to co-owner Martha who told me the shop will shutter at the end of April. They’ll be having a sale until then, from 20% to 50% off.

This time, it’s not the rent. “People aren’t shopping,” Martha said. “They’re going online. It’s convenient. They tell me, ‘I can sit at home and shop in my pajamas.’ But people have to shop local or else there won’t be any stores anymore.”


photo via Liberty House Facebook page

The second-to-last Liberty House shuttered in 2007, also on the Upper West Side. It was a victim of rising rents.

Back then, a customer told the Times, “I don’t know how you stop these people. They’re throwing everyone out right and left, and it’s going to be a neighborhood of Duane Reades and Godiva chocolates. This store should have made it.”

Said one of the shop’s partners, “The diversity of people, both incomes and interests, has lessened and we have more of what we used to call upwardly mobile people, who shop online or drive to malls, or get in cabs and go to Barneys.” …

 …

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from Bowery Boogie:

In Historic Move, Bari Restaurant Equipment is Relocating its Manufacturing off the Bowery

Posted on: February 7th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

bari-bowery-lease

Another big change is happening on the Bowery. And it’s indicative of the overall trend taking hold.

Bari Restaurant Equipment, the eight-decade-old restaurant supplier on the Bowery, is shifting some of its resources away from the thoroughfare. The Bari family is reportedly moving the manufacturing arm of its business from the headquarters building, instead relocating across the Hudson to New Jersey. As it stands, this function encompasses both 234 Bowery and 5 Prince Street, the two buildings it purchased last summer for a combined $12.3 million. Its famed pizza equipment is assembled and maintained in these connected storefronts.

Evidence of this shift appeared late last week in the form of a subtle leasing sign.

“The real estate market does not warrant manufacturing in NYC,” owner Frank Bari told us in an email. “We were/are probably one of the last [commercial manufacturers] to do so. But Bari will be around [the Lower East Side] for a while.”

The goal is to get pretty much any kind of tenant except food. Retail or gallery is the likely choice. No restaurants.

Bari’s supply business was established in the 1940s by Nicola Bari, a radio repairman and purveyor of cheese graters. In the ensuing years, the focus became restaurant supplies of all sorts, albeit with a focus on pizza ovens and refrigeration units. Their block-spanning flagship is a veritable gold mine, and gave the community a scare some eight years ago when the building – about 67,000 square-feet of buildable real estate – was placed on the open market.

 

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from kenneth in the (212): Chelsea Institution East of Eighth Abruptly Goes Out Of Business

Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief that Elmo was in fact just closed for renovations comes word that another longtime “gay” eatery in Chelsea, East of Eighth, has abruptly closed, with its owner citing Republican talking points as the reason.


DNAinfo reports:

In an email, restaurant owner David Feldman said East of Eighth “could not keep up wit [sic] the higher wages and overtime regulations.”

“The staff was unwilling to cooperate with the recently enforced regulations,” he wrote. “Business was great but couldn’t withstand the challenges of operating a single unit restaurant.” Employees speculated that Feldman was planning to file for bankruptcy, but he didn’t address that in his email.

East of Eighth was known for the photos of drag performers that lined its walls, along with drawings of patrons and employees, Warren said. Several works of art created by drag performer Hedda Lettuce were on permanent display at the restaurant, according to her website. An employee of Feldman’s catering company (Benjamin Catering), which he simultaneously shut down, said the restaurant had been around for more than two decades. “It’s very unfortunate — it’s definitely going to be missed,” she said. “It was a neighborhood gem, essentially.”

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