Over a year after hitting the market at $35,000 per month (it’s now asking about $27,000), the retail space in the former Amato Opera House building finally has a tenant. Just not a human one.
The animatronic wastrel you see in the window of 319 Bowery is an “activation” (read: advertisement) for Burrow, a company that’s trying to do for couches what Casper does for mattresses (or, for that matter, what Joybird does for couches). Clearly, Burrow’s founders, a couple of Wharton grads, are hoping the so-called Lord of Leisure becomes neighborhood lore along the lines of Zoltar, over on Second Avenue. But when we texted the brand’s name to a phone number as instructed, his response was a little underwhelming.
Sure, the animatronics are cute and all, but nothing to rival the theatrics of the Amato Opera House. The self-declared “Smallest Grand Opera in the World” occupied 319 Bowery from 1964 to 2009, when Steve Croman bought it for $3.7 million. After a years-long gut renovation of the four-story building, his company, 9300 Realty, is offering studios there for about $9,000 a month. Which seems steep, but keep in mind they have built-in Miele espresso makers.
Croman himself is currently serving time for telling lenders that he was receiving market-rate income for what in fact were rent-stabilized units. The judge who sentenced Croman told him that Riker’s Island “ain’t exactly the Ritz.” No Burrow couches there.