Don’t get me wrong, I really love New York City. Lots of great place have closed due to what most people see as greed. I don’t want to come off like the “most hated man in America”, Martin Shkreli, but I think it’s called capitalism and fair market value for one of the most expensive islands on the planet. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s my point…
I was reading the great NYC blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and came across the closing of a restaurant in my neighborhood that I’ve walked by a jillion times but never eaten in, Garage. Here’s the post;
Reader Elizabeth writes in that the last day is January 3. She says,
“their rent was going to be hiked to $50k a month. So they are closing. I am heartsick. My friend George and I had Thanksgiving dinner there many times over the years, and loved hanging at the big beautiful wood bar and listening to jazz. No plans to try to reopen in NYC.”
Garage restaurant has been on Seventh Avenue in the Village for about 20 years now. According to Vanishing, it was, duh, originally a garage. 75 years ago, it was the Nut Club, a nightclub that, among other things, hosted cockroach races. In the 1950s, it was jazz club The Pad and then Lower Basin Street, where jazz great Dave Brubeck once played.
Later, the building housed the Sheridan Square Playhouse, home of the Circle Repertoryfrom 1969 – 1994, when they (were forced?) to move to a larger space shortly before folding. Garage, the restaurant, hosted jazz every night and had a jazz brunch on weekends.
OK. So as you see, the space has been MANY things, since it was a garage. Whoever got their car fixed or parked there, thought it was a disaster when it became a club, I’ll bet. From the comments section of Vanishing;
“Garage has been in that location at least since 1992 or 93. I used to live around the corner on 4th between Jones and Cornelia. Garage was always my wife’s and my first choice for brunch in the neighborhood when we craved something with jazz. It was also pretty good for people watching out the window on 7th from the bar.” –John
To which Scout replied:
“Oh, I am glad to see this awful place go, after they threw out one of New York City’s BEST Off-Broadway theatre companies, Circle Rep.
If you weren’t in NY during the 80s, you can’t know how important Circle Rep was; and they didn’t leave that space willingly, they were ejected in favor of a generic restaurant.
This space had been a theatre since 1958, and should always have been a theatre (and should be one again, but won’t)”
Get my point? New York City is CONSTANTLY changing. F.A.O. Schwartz is gone. So is Roseland… and the original Penn Station. THOSE were institutions. Garage restaurant was loved by many, as was Circle Rep. But it’s a Circle Game, kids. Something closes and something else opens. That’s the way it works.
Now there are legitimate slum lords and terrible situations where businesses lose their space and that sucks. And things that close down that we miss, I get that. But also realize that not every situation is horrible and unfair. On a purely pragmatic note, if you owned the Garage space and their rent came up for renewal, you’d let them stay and take a lot less $$ every month, year after year? You would? OMG! You’re a SAINT!)
New York City is self-renewing, it’s constantly changing. Something else will move into the Garage space. Maybe it’ll be your new favorite place, others might hate it. The city, and the world, is full of great things to do and see. So, let’s enjoy what we got while we’ve got it. Don’t get stuck in the past or you’ll miss the present.
(via Vanishing New York)