Will Taylor Swift get the last laugh? After she became New York’s global ambassador in 2014, Lower East Side boutique La Petite Mort threw up a Chico mural saying RIP to the pop icon. But the vintage shop might be the one resting in peace if its landlord succeeds in evicting it from its home of two and a half years.
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On Sunday, the Lower East Side bid a tearful adieu to Fontana’s. And we do mean tearful. “There was a lot of crying men,” said owner Holly Ferrari. “Really crying — men with long hair and beards, all weeping.” You guessed it: A massive rent hike forced Ferrari and co-owners, Mary Finn and Deannie Wheeler, to shutter their beloved bar and music venue after 11 years on Eldridge Street. We poured out a little happy-hour Jameson for our homegirls and got on the phone with Ferrari.
A few weeks back, the owners of Left Bank Books took to social media to announce that after “nearly 24 years in business” they’d be closing shop. “It’s a familiar story by now: the costs of maintaining a brick-and-mortar used and rare bookshop in Greenwich Village are simply no longer tenable,” read the post. It was signed “the Freaks of LBB.”
There is nothing on the front of 49 Crosby Street save for a tiny label under a bell that would indicate that inside is one of the most enduring recording studios in New York. The Magic Shop opened in 1988 well before Bloomingdale’s, MoMA and a luxury hotel became its neighbors. The increase in the area’s rental value spelled the end of the studio. Despite the offer of financial help from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, owner Steve Rosenthal was unable to buy the space from his landlord. While Rosenthal will continue his business of mixing and restoring classic recordings, the Magic Shop will close today.
It’s the end of the road for Sanford & Sven’s Second Hand. After seven years of feeding the experiments of artists, indie music video directors, restaurant owners and other antique-rummaging creatives at 106 North Third Street, the shop is closing soon. Not that the owner, Sven Wechsler, is surprised. He’s seen the writing on the wall for a while now– the crop of new condos encroaching on his block doesn’t look too friendly to a reasonably-priced antique store.
Yesterday Stage Restaurant, which shuttered nearly a year ago after its landlord accused it of an illegal gas hookup, announced that it was closing for good after 35 years in the East Village: “Over the past year, we have resolved our dispute with the landlord and Icon Realty Management,” owner Roman Diakun wrote on Facebook. “Stage Restaurant never engaged in any wrongdoing; however, after our prolonged closure and because of the cost to make the repairs and expenses of reopening, we are sad to say that the Stage cannot reopen.” Now, “gentrification in progress” tape has gone up on the diner’s storefront near the corner St. Marks and Second Avenue.
On Saturday, the weather took a brief and unexpected turn into iced coffee territory and I found myself craving the city’s most delicious and instantly effective caffeinated beverage: the coffee seltzer at Northern Spy Food Co. But as fate would have it, the seven-year-old brunch standby had closed just days earlier. Somehow I had missed the heads up, a couple of weeks prior, from owners Christophe Hille and Chris Ronis.
It’s official– the sockpocalypse has come and gone, and the Sock Man is gone for good. His iconic awning came down this morning, and we were there to witness the carnage. Marty Rosen, the “grumpiest man on earth” (per Chloe Sevigny), was nowhere to be seen, as he’s now minding his online store. When we spoke to him earlier this month, the St. Marks denizen told us, “I don’t want to leave this block. As bad as it is, I don’t want to leave.” If it makes you feel any better, Sock Man, we’ve snagged the awning and are keeping it safe in the B+B vault, right next to this tile from Mars Bar.
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If you were bummed when the Parks Department declared no surfing during the blizzard, you’re probably familiar with Lost Weekend, the Lower East Side’s haven for surfheads and poseurs alike. Stocked with boards, fins, and various riptide-esque films, books and magazines, it provides a year-round taste of summer (not to mention, coffee). Now, after four and a half years on Orchard Street, the shop’s days are numbered.
The story of Mamoun’s had a happy ending, but not so for another St. Marks Place institution. Marty “The Sock Man” Rosen is shuttering his doors this Friday, January 15. Today, we caught up with the beloved grump, who confirmed rumors of the closing and told us he’d been socked with a rent hike.
“This is the East Village,” he said, in the midst of rearranging the funky socks and tights he has long sold to everyone from neighborhood punks to Chloe Sevigny. “I don’t want to leave this block. As bad as it is, I don’t want to leave. I don’t know what to do.” He’ll be looking for a new space, but in the meantime you can still order online.