By Erwin H. Lerner
Questions remain: Why are so many choice retail spaces vacant for months, or years? Why do landlords demand double or triple rents, and settle for only a limited tax write-off to ease their balance sheet pangs?
The New Yorker magazine’s May 24, 2015 issue reports that the House of Cards & Curiosities, a 20+ year resident at 23 Eighth Avenue, south of Jane Street, will disappear at the end of August, 2015. WestView News finds that, earlier than anticipated, the said space had emptied and was leased for two months by an entity (cleverly; comically) named ENTROPY. (The dictionary defines Entropy as “a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or
randomness in the system.”)
Bulletin: WestView photographer Maggie Berkvist has discovered that the former—Entropy, true unto itself, has fizzled out. Now, the word SPORT has blossomed on a sheet of paper taped onto the window. We can read a zillion meanings into sport. So, who knows what’s what in the near or distant future?
This story highlights broken dreams, a contagious blight, or simply, symptoms of socio-economic weakness. Even Starbucks has been forced by high rents to close a number of its locations. At the northeast corner of Hudson and Christopher Streets, there once existed Dolce Vizio, featuring 39 Italian dessert gems. This den of pleasure was replaced by another Italian delight, Rivoli Pizza, which has since relocated to the opposite side of Hudson Street. Their move left a blank space quickly filled by Christopher Spa Belles, part of a chain offering manicures, pedicures and facials.
Wandering eastward on Bleecker Street, one searches in vain for Blaustein Paint and Hardware. What formerly occupied the 237 Bleecker St. near the corner of Carmine Street, or 238 Bleecker south of Morton Street? A further exploration finds only the memory of Avignone Pharmacy at 197 Bleecker Street. At West Fourth and Cornelia Street, a branch of Karavas is now part of a bygone era. One feels like a stranger in a strange land.
Many a sweet tooth aches in memory of Lafayette French Pastry Bakers, now a non entity at 22 Greenwich Avenue. A renaissance is hinted by activity in several nearby, once boarded up stores on a small strip of Greenwich Avenue; among them are Mah Ze Dahr bakery at 28 Greenwich Avenue, and Greenwich Steakhouse at 30 Greenwich Avenue. Good luck to them. Perhaps, all isn’t lost.
But, so many good-oldies are gone. Excuse me! A recurrence of psychogenic amnesia has hit me hard. I require an emergency room visit to— what was that hospital’s name? Might it be St. Vincent’s?