This month closings continued unabated. A specialist on high-rent blight, of the kind we are seeing on Christopher and Bleecker Streets, had a possible explanation for why landlords might keep stores empty rather than accepting a lower rent: if a landlord has a number of properties, and is looking for a loan from the bank to develop them, he may claim that he is seeking a high rent for his retail rather than report an actual low rent as this will make it more likely the bank will give him a loan.
Sergimmo Salumeria (462 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets): This tiny space that used to house a frame shop has a long panini menu and a small selection of traditional Italian pasta dishes (Lasagna, Alfredo, Bolognese, Baked Ziti, etc.) with add-ons like chicken cutlets and meatballs. The excellent homemade mozzarella is for sale, as is an array of salumi. The restaurant is take-out only.
La Maison de Makoto (37 Barrow Street at 7th Avenue South): We reported in the October 2017 “In and Out” that Philippe Conticini, a French chef with patisserie shops in Paris, Japan, and Abu Dhabi, would be opening a French-Japanese café in the old Duet space. I envisioned rows upon rows of delicious baked goods, but now that La Maison de Makoto (LMDM) has finally opened, Conticini is no longer involved, and the dessert options are mochi and two pastries, the Choux Paris-Brest and La Tropézienne. The Paris-Brest was not the traditional pastry I expected: instead of a ring, it was just a small cream puff, and the filling, while delicious, with little bits of crunchy hazelnuts in addition to the praline cream, was also not standard. In the evening there is a “Salty Plates” menu and cocktails, both Classic (which I appreciated) and Signature. The space has some couches and poufs, and seems strangely unfinished. The large swath of windows on 7th Avenue South is good for people and dog-watching. It remains to be seen whether this concept will catch on.
The Woodstock (446 West 14th Street between Washington Street and 10th Avenue near the entrance to the High Line): The décor and music of the large space pays homage to the Woodstock era. The Premium drinks, which are all $10, are named after songs from 1969 and are made with surprisingly high-quality liquor (their logo is “Good Spirits Only”), but you have the option of upgrading to Boujie or Extra for an additional charge. All the pizzas are $15, and are quite good with homemade mozzarella and a thin but fluffy crust. Service is extremely friendly but bare-bones—you order at the bar, get your drinks, and the pizza is delivered to the tables along with some diminutive plates.
*FK* (330 Bleecker Street near Christopher Street): This is the first US presence for an Italian swimwear brand. The store carries men’s, women’s and children’s swimsuits, and like Vilebrequin, there are matching men’s and boy’s styles. The store also carries a wide selection of cover-ups. The catalogue features mostly women’s styles, and is somewhat more risqué than Victoria Secret.
St. Frank (373 Bleecker Street between Charles and Perry Streets): This home décor store focuses on textiles from around the world. Their webpage explains: “We work with a range of artisan organizations from Fair Trade certified to social impact award-winners, and from those reviving lost historical craft to those working with organic materials and environmentally-friendly methods.” The store carries pillows, blankets, rugs, table linens and more.
Pure Seduction (333 6th Avenue between West 3rd and West 4th Street): A men’s underwear store which carried European brands has disappeared. On Bleecker Street, Satya (330 Bleecker Street between Christopher and West 10th Street), a jewelry store, and Michael Kors (384 Bleecker Street at Perry Street) are gone. On 14th Street, longtime vacuum cleaner repair store Desco Vacuum (131 West 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues) has closed shop and bubble tea store Jupioca (200 West 14th Street near 7th Avenue) has a Marshal’s Legal Possession notice in the window. Chomp Chomp (7 Cornelia Street, between 4th St & Bleecker Street), the Singaporean Street food restaurant from chef Simpson Wong (who also owned the now-shuttered Café Asean) first had a sign saying “Closed Temporary” (sic), then a sign for an Auction with dishes and kitchenware on display on the street, and finally, a yellow sign from the Health Department which was soon scraped off. There are no signs of life at the restaurant and the website is down. Filipino restaurant Lumpia Shack Snackbar (50 Greenwich Avenue between Perry and Charles Streets) has a sign on the door that says “Closed for Renovation” but the phone is disconnected. A reader writes to us: “Another unique local store, established in 1986, has been forced to close: Pet’s Kitchen on 116 Christopher Street (between Bleecker and Bedford Streets). The owner, along with his tomcat Valentino, kept an eye out on the neighborhood, was often seen sitting outside with his guitar, and sold his wife’s artwork on the side.” We were alerted by Bruce Poli, a WestView contributor, that Havana Alma de Cuba (94 Christopher Street), will be closing at the end of April. A sign in the window encourages fans to patronize the owners’ two other Village restaurants, Cuba and Coppelia. Bruce reminisces that two years ago there were six restaurants on Christopher between Bleecker and Bedford, and today only I Sodi remains. Another WestView contributor reported that she heard from the owners of The Quarter (522 Hudson Street at West 10th Street) that it will be closing because the rent is going up. (Also, there is a hand-written sign on the 10th Street side of the building that says “Coming Soon—Stores for Rent”.) The Quarter is still planning to participate in the dog happy hour on May 7th so the closing is not imminent. Their Brooklyn location is doing well and will remain open.
450 Sixth Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets): The space that housed the last location of Jefferson Market and then the sales office for the Greenwich Lane condominiums will become a branch of Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore. Poulet Sans Tête, a rotisserie chicken delivery service from Laurence Edelman, co/owner and executive chef of Left Bank, will open this spring and deliver spit-roasted chickens and sides from the Left Bank kitchen at 117 Perry Street (near Greenwich Street). Ikinari Steak (205 Bleecker Street east of 6th Avenue), according to a sign on the window, “is the most popular steakhouse in Japan” and will soon be opening a location in the West Village. The first US location opened about a year ago in the East Village with no seating, but since then some stools were added. The menu features different cuts of meat that you order by weight. An addictive soy-based steak sauce is available at each table and can be purchased to go. The long-abandoned Spa Belles space at 301 6th Avenue (near Bleecker Street) is covered in plywood, and signage heralds the arrival of a French crêperie called Jean Le Gourmand in one half of the space, and a kebab spot called Kut in the other. A sign in the window of 136 Waverly Place where Hong Kong Tailor Jack used to conduct business promises that Hong Kong Tailors is coming soon. The space at 39 Christopher Street that used to house Greenwich Letterpress (before they moved east to 15 Christopher Street) will re-open as a branch of the Chelsea Spanish tapas and wine bar Lamano. The owners also operate Ofrenda in the Village.
Economy Foam (56 West 8th Street between 6th Avenue and MacDougal) started on the Lower East Side in 1937. In 2003 they moved to the 8th Street location, and at the end of April they will decamp to Chelsea. The lovely Musée Lingerie (119 Christopher Street between Bleecker and Hudson) is leaving its current location and looking for space on Bleecker Street. Holly Boardman, the owner, says that some Bleecker Street landlords are willing to come down a little on their rent, but with so many empty storefronts, foot traffic is way down so it may not be even be worth it. A reader alerted us to a rumor that Pieces Bar may be moving to the space vacated by Boots & Saddle (100A 7th Avenue South between Barrow and Grove Streets). Giving credence to this rumor, the name listed on the liquor license application in the window of the space is Eric Einstein, the owner of Pieces. In July 2017 we noticed a “Coming Soon” sign at 313 6th Avenue, between Cornelia and Carmine Streets that indicated that Xi’an Famous Foods was opening at that location. However, ten months later, no work had been done and the sign is gone. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the iconic Waverly Diner (385 6th Avenue at Waverly Place) has filed for bankruptcy after it was sued by former employees who claimed they had not been paid overtime. The diner intends to remain open for the time being.
Photos by Darielle Smolian