For the post I did earlier on Hop Devil Grill closing, I Iooked around for information on that space's former tenant, Stingy Lulu's. I came across this article in the July 6, 1996, Times that's worth highlighting:
Not long ago, Avenue A was a drug-infested no man's land, a forlorn strip given over to vagrants, anarchists and punks. At least that's how Karazona Cinar, 30, a local entrepreneur, remembers it. "Because of businessmen like me, things are much better," said Mr. Cinar, a Kurdish immigrant who owns Stingy Lulu's, a restaurant on St. Marks Place off Avenue A, and Robots, a bar on Avenue B.
Krystyna Piorkowska has different memories of Avenue A. Ms. Piorkowska, 47, who has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years, laments the loss of beloved merchants like the kosher butcher, the cobbler and the pirogi maker, all of them driven out by the forces of gentrification. To her dismay, the old mom-and-pop stores have been supplanted by nightclubs and bars, businesses that can afford the avenue's pumped-up rents. In her view, Avenue A has become a place for unbridled carousing, where bar-hopping youths keep residents awake until dawn and where broken glass and the stench of urine greet early risers. "Avenue A has become the East Village theme park," she said last week, standing amid a late-night crush of thrill-seekers. "It's now a place where you come to get drunk and see tattooed girls with spiked hair."
By the way, all the places mentioned in the article -- Stingy Lulu's, Robots, Arca and Nation -- have since closed.
And I also feel as if I've read variations of this article about 300 times in the last 12 years...