Correction: in the September In & Out, we reported that Ghandi Café (283 Bleecker Street east of 7th Avenue South) appeared to have closed. Not so! We apologize for the misinformation.
The big news this month was that the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) had a hearing at City Hall on October 22. The SBJSA aims to address the fate of small businesses by ensuring that a business in good standing is guaranteed a 10-year lease extension, and if the business and the landlord cannot come to an agreement on the rent, then the case goes to binding arbitration. At a rally before the hearing, supporters of the bill spoke, including Andrew Berman from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), and Jeremiah Moss, the author of the blog and book “Vanishing New York”. A large contingent from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) also attended the hearing to oppose the bill. Corey Johnson, the City Council Speaker, seems interested in passing something, but he, along with other council members pointed out flaws in the current proposal. The SBJSA was first proposed in 1988 by Ruth Messinger when she was on the City Council. In other news, Café Loup reopened at the end of September after being closed for a week. Most people (myself included) thought it was gone, but according to Grub Street the owners managed to negotiate a payment plan for the taxes they owed. Much of this month’s activity centered on Bleecker Street with more openings than closings.
Gansevoort Market once again experienced quite a bit of turnover: Enzo Bruni pizza replaced Luzzo’s which had been there since the beginning, Los Panchos Taqueria replaced Trece Taqueria, and two noodle spots opened, Pho Noodle and Noodle Culture. Thaimee, Hold My Knots, and Milk and Cream have closed. The 2 Dough Boyz cart has disappeared as well.
The Village Den (225 West 12th Street at Greenwich Avenue) has re-opened and it is no longer the diner it once was, but rather, has been transformed into a health-conscious café fronted by TV star Antoni Porowski of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame. I asked Jeremiah Moss, author of Vanishing New York to give me his take on the new Village Den, and he replied: “I think a $21 fish-stick kind of says it all about who this new restaurant is for–the same people that every new thing in New York is for: trend-seeking members of the uppermost classes. What kept the real Village Den, well, real was its very un-trendiness, its un-hipness, its anti-Instragrammability. It was just decent, affordable diner food in a simple place accessible to everyday New Yorkers. And those places are vanishing every day because the city and state government will not take action to protect them from the predations of landlords.”
Naadam Cashmere at 392 Bleecker Street (between Perry and West 11th Streets) claims that their wool is “ethically sourced directly from our herders” which means that the herders get paid more while customers pay less. The company also maintains that they use better quality wool that comes from the Zalaa Jinst white goat in Mongolia. And apparently these goats’ wool yields a sweater that is more durable, that pills less, and is softer than most cashmere sweaters. I took a look at the store (I was the only customer), and saw that in the front they featured $75 unisex v-neck sweaters in a wide range of colors which looked and felt quite nice. In the back of the store were more expensive men’s and women’s lines. Before opening, they managed to anger some residents with their risqué ads with goats. This store occupies one of the spaces purchased by Brookfield Properties.
Buck Mason, a Los Angeles-based men’s apparel store featuring “wardrobe essentials” such as t-shirts, jeans and cotton sweaters opened at 329 Bleecker Street (between Christopher and West 10th Streets). All the clothes are made from American materials and manufactured in California. Brookfield Properties, which purchased seven storefronts on Bleecker Street is promoting its “Love Bleecker” initiative, where they are bringing in a number of first-time brick and mortar stores and adding music and art to the mix. One of these, Prabal Gurund (367 Bleecker Street between Charles and Perry Streets) is a high-end women’s fashion shop whose eponymous designer hails from Nepal. Another of the “Love Bleecker” storefronts at 384 Bleecker (at Perry Street) houses a pop-up of two businesses, Bonberi Vegan Bodega which sells vegan packaged and prepared foods, and Fleurotica, a flower shop. Both businesses have a 6-month lease. On the more eastern part of Bleecker, Hemp Garden (257 Bleecker Street between Cornelia and Jones Streets) has opened, claiming to be New York’s #1 Official CBD store. They sell vape oils, edibles, and CBD supplements. CBD is marijuana’s legal, non-psychoactive chemical compound. Museum of Illusions (77 8th Avenue at 14th Street) is an exhibition space devoted to optical illusions. There is also a playroom where you can try your hand at various puzzles and games. And just west of the museum, a branch of Gasoline Alley, a boutique coffee shop, has opened at 310 West 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) where short-lived pasta spot Il Conte used to be. The store gets its name from its first location which was in Noho, in an area that had gas stations and body shops before it became fancy. Spacious (47 7th Avenue South at Morton Street), a coworking space with monthly plans and unlimited free coffee has taken over Barworks which was supposed to be a coworking space but turned out to be a scam that defrauded many investors. Also on 7th Avenue South, Fava Bistro Moderne, a Mediterranean restaurant, has soft-opened in the space that housed short-lived La Maison de Makoto. The menu is pretty much what you’d expect, with Greek and Middle-Eastern mezzes, Italian pastas, salads, fish and meat main courses and assorted vegetables including fava chips.
Old Forge Art and Antiques (22 Christopher Street between), a long-standing neighborhood antique store is closing. Brazilian brand Uma (371 Bleecker Street between Charles and Perry Streets) is also selling off its inventory and leaving. When it opened in 2015, the area was described in a fashion magazine as “a posh stretch of Bleecker Street.” But the saddest closing news this month is Tortilla Flats. The current owners of the restaurant at 767 Washington Street at West 12th Street (which is in a building owned by the William Gottlieb Real Estate company) were not able to negotiate a lease extension, and so, the restaurant will be closing on October 27th. Tortilla Flats opened 35 years ago, just around the time I moved back to New York after college, and it was one of the bars that my friends and I frequented. It was a lively place and always seemed to have a party going on which was strange since the area was pretty desolate, without all the shops and restaurants that have opened since. I remember one particular raucous time when I was in the restaurant and my shoes somehow came off and were passed from person to person until they ended up on the outdoor patio. The man behind Tortilla Flats was named Stan Tankursley, and in the ‘80’s he opened a number of restaurants in the Village including another of my favorites, The Gulf Coast at 489 West Street, and a Southern restaurant on Barrow Street whose name I can’t recall. I got to know Stan because when I first moved down to the Village I was living in an apartment over that restaurant.
One of our readers passes along a rumor that a lease has been signed for a restaurant at 340-344 Bleecker Street (between Christopher and West 10th Streets). This was the former Manatus space that has been empty since 2014. Signage at 335 Bleecker Street (between Christopher and West 10th Streets) heralds the arrival of Gran Gelato. Huckberry, which was until now only an on-line store selling men’s clothing from a number of different manufacturers is opening a pop-up that will run from at November through January at 383 Bleecker Street (at Perry Street). Across Bleecker Street, one of Brookfield’s “Love Bleecker” properties (382 Bleecker Street at Perry Street) which had a piano and a place for people to write on the wall is now being prepped to house Lingua Franca, a store that will sell a line of sustainably-sourced, fair trade luxury cashmere sweaters, all hand-stitched by women in NYC. Copper Branch will open at 195 Bleecker Street where Rice Cream Shoppe fleetingly existed. It is the first US location of the largest vegan chain in the world which is based in Canada. I am already prejudiced against because of its “Eat Clean” motto. Feb 30 Mediterranean Eatery will open at 110 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane). One of the many empty storefronts on 7th Avenue South between Grove and Barrow Streets will become a Cuban restaurant called Cuban Cuisine (89 7th Avenue South). Organika previously occupied the space. Asian Restaurant Uncle Chop Chop has signage up at 7 Cornelia Street, at the former location of Singaporean Street Food restaurant Chomp Chomp. Another Asian restaurant from the owner of Tong Noodle Shop will open at 20 Cornelia Street (between Bleecker and West Fourth Streets). Paris Baguette is opening a location at 44 West 14th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). It is a bakery and café founded in 1988 and featuring French-like baked goods and sandwiches. Started in Korea, there are now over 3000 stores world-wide.
QQ Nails and Spa moved from their location on Christopher Street near the Stonewall Inn to the long-shuttered Karavas Place storefront at 108 7th Avenue South (between Christopher and Grove Streets). New York Sports Club closed when construction to add a few more floors started at 125 7th Avenue South (between Christopher and West 10th Streets). While Gourmet Garage re-opened, New York Sports Club did not, and now it has been replaced by TMPL Gym, which according to their website, is “Shattering Conceptions of What Gyms Can Be.” Okamisan Japanese Cuisine (102 MacDougal Street near Bleecker Street) replaces Korean fast-casual eatery New York Kimchi which was in that location for less than two years.
This month we received so many tips from readers! Please keep up the good work and reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by Darielle Smolian.