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It’s become a normal occurrence in recent years to see abandoned buildings in one’s neighborhoods, especially for people living in big cities. Let’s take my Midtown neighborhood in New York City for example, which has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, with once popular neighborhood restaurants and pubs, that have been there for decades, no longer existent.
Between 55th and 56th street, on 9th Avenue, was a most popular Irish Pub; Ned Kelly’s, a neighborhood Pub that served great food, thus was always packed from the moment they opened until they closed late at night. The owners of the building increased the rent so dramatically that the Pub’s owner could no longer afford the lease, thus had to close the Pub; that was one story. The other story was that the children ( of the building’s owner) took over the building, and did not renew the lease of the Pub. Be as it may, the Pub was closed, which was a great loss to the neighborhood.
To the right of the Pub, on the corner of 55th and 9th Ave, was a coffee shop that had served the Neighborhood for many decades; it was first called Cordados, and later on Tom’s Cafe. Everyone in the neighborhood used to pick up their coffee and bagels, etc for breakfast in the morning or lunch at noon; from the cops of the 54th street Precinct, to actors going to the Studios or Broadway, Dancers working at Lincoln Center ( a few blocks up ), Doctors and Nurses from Roosevelt Hospital, etc. – a great little neighborhood coffee shop.
That coffee shop was in the same building as the Pub, thus closed as well, for the same reasons. Both storefronts stayed empty for quite some time, until a few years ago a bank took cover the space.
Directly across from the former coffee shop and Pub, was an A&P Supermarket on the west corner of 55th and 9th Ave. The Supermarket closed a few years ago as well, and a Bank took over the space. It’s now Chase Bank.
On the north/east corner across from the Coffee shop , on 55th and 9th Ave. was a laundromat, serving the neighborhood for 20 some years; it was very popular because it was reasonable, clean, plus they provided pick-up laundry service, as well. For the same reason as the Pub, the Coffee shop and A&P’s Supermarket, the laundromat was forced to close, as well, almost two years ago and the space was leased to, yep, another bank.
A few feet up the block, northward, on the east corner of 56th and 9th Ave, was an Italian restaurant that had served the neighborhood truly since the 1960’s, called ” Ralf’s”. The owner of the Restaurant, Dominique, also owned the building and i’ve been unable to reach him by phone since the restaurant was suddenly – from one day to the next – closed. For a couple of years now the building has been totally abandoned and looks vandalized, like a building in a ghost town right in the center of Manhattan.
Across the street from Ralf’s, on the west-corner of 56th and 9th Ave. was an Italian restaurant, called Putanesca, which closed as well and looks pretty much abandoned, too.
You can click on the photos to enlarge them
A few feet up the block, on the same side of the street, is a huge building, a historical landmark, i should add, that has been abandoned for more than 20 years now.
Abandoned, truly abandoned ghost-city like looking buildings are not a new sight,and we have been seeing it more and more in many neighborhoods of big cities in the U.S., not just New York.
Take Los Angeles, for example, and take a ride through West Los Angeles, ( starting at the Beverly Center ) up Beverly Blvd toward Fairfax. One storefront after the other bears ” FOR LEASE” signs, for the same reasons as mentioned above, re. New York – the leases are constantly increased to a price few businesses can afford to pay, thus forced to close, or move to a different neighborhood.
Or take Robertson Blvd in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, a very popular street, especially between Santa Monica Blvd and Burton Way, with lots of fashionable clothing stores and eateries, like the Ivy, for example.
If you’re familiar with that area and remember Michel Richard’s, a popular French restaurant on the corner of 3rd Street and Robertson, well, it’s no longer there. They were forced to close after almost 3 decades serving the neighborhood, because the lease was raised to an unaffordable price. Maison Richard’s had to move out of the neighborhood and went to Stanley drive off of Melrose, in West Hollywood.
My very favorite eatery, having served the best Brunch on sundays ( plus “scooped out” bagels) in Los Angeles, was The Freyer’s Club. If lucky enough to have a comedian friend belonging to the club, that was the place to go. No eatery could even come close to their weekend brunch buffet and service. Needless to say, it’s closed now for quite a few years.
Another truly spectacular restaurant, with a truly unique and delicious menu, was Kate Mantelini on the corner of Doheny and Wilshire Blvd. in Bevery Hills. It also closed a little over a year ago. Then there is the Newsroom, on Robertson Blvd, another very popular restaurant having served the neighborhood for nearly two decades. It had to close last year, unable to afford the increase of the lease.
These are only a few examples of the uncountable restaurants and stores that were forced to close because of greedy new landlords, who in many cases ended up not being able to rent/lease their stores because they just asked unreasonable sums of rent; like the now empty building on Beverly Blvd. that used to house Jules Seltzer & Associates – an office furniture store, who were forced to move to a new location because of the enormous lease/rent increase. That building/store has been empty since last fall = soon to be another abandoned looking storefront.
In all the years of my adulthood, i’ve never seen so many for lease signs on store fronts in the center of big cities. It almost looks as though people are leaving America, or the big cities, or America was hijacked by a strange greedy new breed of folks who seem to make more profit NOT leasing their store, than to lease it; therwise they’d lower their lease prices ?
But greedy Landlords are not the only ones apparently having hijacked America. The country’s ” Public Servants”, elected and paid by their “Employers” The People, don’t seem to have the The People’s interest at heart anymore either, and treat their Employers as though they’re their subordinates, wasting away the people’s money, but what exactly are they doing with the money ? Where exactly is it going, while America’s infrastructure is ” literally” falling apart ?
More on that in Part 2 of the article series, ” America Hijacked ”