Friday, September 26, 2008

Times are changing

Walking up Avenue A the other day I did a mental tally of all of the places that have closed down recently. It's like watching the 90s in reverse.

Here's a partial list of Avenue A (and adjacent) restaurants that have closed recently:
  • Two Boots Restaurant
  • Esashi (the so-so sushi place)
  • Mo Pitkins (that bar/performance space formerly co-owned by Jimmy Fallon)
  • Via Delle Zoccolette (which was actually quite good and pleasant)
  • Hopscotch (that irritating child-friendly but still hip and happenin' cafe)
  • Oriental Grill (home of an excellent pu pu platter)
Mo Pitkins has been for sale for like a year now with no takers.

When I first moved to New York in 1988 you could count the number of non-bar businesses on Avenue A on one hand. In fact, I think that the only semi-upscale restaurant was Avenue A Sushi. Now even they are struggling and experimenting with various 1/2-off deals at different times.

Actually I see this as a good thing. There were very few legitimate businesses in Alphabet City in the old days, but we had a lot of fun. The night didn't really get going until the after hours places opened at 4. Maybe we'll get a little of that action back.

Ultimately, we aren't suffering some great downturn, though. We are just getting back to reality. I remember several years ago wondering at what point did every yahoo with a 2 bedroom split level in Bayonne become a millionaire? Well it turns out that everybody was just worth a million in prizes and now we return to a world of fewer fancy restaurants, cheaper happy hours and, hopefully, less hubris.

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