By Allyn Freeman
The surprising closing of Mrs. Green’s at 585 Hudson Street, after being open for a few months, presents an opportunity for other commercial entities to occupy the popular space. For those West Villagers of long memory, this corner location once housed a Gristedes, then a Sloan’s Supermarket, and, for a short while, a CVS drug store that seemed to come and go in a flash, hastened by shopper indifference. The local Mrs. Green’s shutting down represented one of its five recently-closed stores in the greater Metropolitan area, all of which the parent company described as “underperforming.”
Once again, this expansive retail space is available—a prime Hudson Street merchandising location that has always been noted for its busy pedestrian traffic. Who will take over the new lease? That is currently unknown.
Below, I have crafted some personal suggestions to replace the departed supermarket chain.
Nathan’s Famous Plus Pinball Arcade with Skee-Ball—The Nathan’s Famous, still residing at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, is not the food stand of yesteryear. But, the all-beef hotdogs and distinctive crinkly fries still taste delicious. In the basement of 585 Hudson Street, there’s ample room for pinball machines and, for added fun, a row of skee-ball games with coupons to redeem arcade prizes.
Peter Luger’s Steakhouse—Maybe we only head to Luger’s in Williamsburg when invited by our billionaire hedge fund friend (Steak for two is $99.50), but it has retained the number one ranking among steak spots in Zagat’s since the familiar guide’s first rating years ago. Luger’s also offers a superior sirloin burger for lunch.
Chinese Restaurant—The West Village enjoys innovative, five-star Chinese gourmet dining at Red Farm and Decoy on Hudson Street, and excellent take-out from Golden Wok on Christopher Street. What’s missing is a traditional Chinese sit-down restaurant (Remember Mama Buddha or Hunan Pan?) for inexpensive lunch specials, family dinners, and also delivery orders in small red cartons adorned with yellow dragons. Fortune cookies, too.
A Jewish Deli—The Carnegie Deli uptown on Seventh Avenue will close at the end of December. But, its wholesale operation in the Meadowlands remains open, curing pastrami, corned beef, and tongue, and also baking cheesecakes. Add on chopped liver, kasha varnishkes, kreplach, a knish, and Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, and it’s a welcome neighborhood deli attraction.
Other Fanciful Selections—Perhaps White Horse II North, Pastis II South, La Bonbonniere II South, or the return of a Horn and Hardart’s Automat, could occupy the space. Or, maybe, The Lament Lounge for Hillary Clinton voters to commiserate over cocktails.
A Dollar Store—Such a venue would present gazillions of inexpensive offerings, most priced for a dollar.
Taylor’s Bakery—Cindy Taylor would be able to bring back that Top Hat flourless chocolate cake.
Fresh Fish Emporium—This store would provide mounds of delicacies from the sea—fish, crustaceans (lobsters and crabs), cephalopods (squid and octopus), etc.
Biography Book Shop West or Three Lives Book
Store West with Skee-Ball—This would be the perfect combination of intimate bookstore and basement fun skee-ball play.
Other Fanciful Selections—Imagine an enlarged U.S. Post Office, Hotaling’s foreign newspapers and magazines, L.L. Bean/Land’s End/Orvis clothing outlet, the world’s largest laundromat, indoor miniature golf, and The House of Homemade Fudge.
Well, these are my choices for the future.
The reality? Trader Joe’s? Whole Foods? A giant Starbucks? Shake Shack? An upscale clothier (e.g., Ralph Lauren, etc.)? Wal-Mart? The rent is steep for this prime West Village real estate. So, all we can do is wait and dream.