Friday, January 16, 2009

On East Seventh Street: Dessert Row seems a little deserted -- Chocolate Bar has closed

Wow. East Seventh Street, particularly on the north side of the street closer to Avenue A, seemed to be booming there for a bit. No more. Well, first, Locks 'n' Lads, the kiddie hair salon, has closed. Their outgoing message on their answering machine confirms it. Meanwhile, farther east, there's activity next to Butter Lane Cupcakes. A neighbor said this vacant space may just become a ground-floor apartment. Then! The Chocolate Bar has been shuttered the last few days. And don't expect to see it open again. I have it on very good authority that this location is officially closed. (And they just opened to so much hoopla in June.) Finally, the signs for the forthcoming East Village Pie Lounge at 131 E. Seventh St. are gone. Maybe that doesn't mean anything, though the spot has seemingly been dormant. The Pie Lounge was to take over the space that previously housed the short-lived Italian cafe Affettati. What gives here? Recession? Stupidly high rents (still)? The East Village wasn't ready for/didn't want/need more high-end dessert places?

The Chocolate Bar yesterday.




Construction next to Butter Lane Cupcakes.



Locks 'N' Lads no more.



P.S.

Oddly enough, the Chocolate Bar's new Egg Cream was just featured in this week's Page Six Magazine.

11 comments:

Jeremiah Moss said...

that was FAST

EV Grieve said...

Didn't you sample one of their egg creams?

Marlie said...

Rays still rocks the best egg cream ever!!!!

Jeremiah Moss said...

yes i did. chocolate. it was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, maybe they shouldn't have been trying to open stores in the Middle East!!! WTF...seriously, I wonder if those ever opened - what hubris from the folks at Chocolate Bar - really should have strengthened their biz model here first before expanding to SAUDI ARABIA!

Anonymous said...

Good. Good. And good.

Alphabet City doesn't need this highfalutin' places that the average denizen can't afford.

(The fact that these businesses are closing just reaffirms that.)

Mitlee said...

Very astute anon--I agree

Anonymous said...

That's sad about Chocolate Bar, their egg creams and brownies were awesome! I don't think it's fair to say they were overpriced. The average denizen could afford to snack there just fine. They had $5 Happy Hour specials including a drink (egg cream or hot chocolate), a truffle, and a brownie and plenty of other items on the menu under $5. I think it's more the high end restaurants and bars that price the area out.

JCakes said...

Hah. You CB fans may not want to hear this but I worked there. The employees were grossly underpaid and the owner didn't give two shits about our welfare or the healthcode. In all fairness the coffee was decently priced but someone nailed it on the nose about focusing your business on your current locations instead of Saudi Arabia. This has absolutely nothing to do with the recession and everything to do with greed. Karma is a bitch.

Scott said...

If landlords didn't get such generous tax write-offs for un-rented commercial property, many of Manhattan's small neighborhood businesses that have recently disappeared would still be going. Landlords have little incentive to negotiate with tenants and reach compromises on rent. They'd rather hold-out until they can get the highest price later, community, loyalty, empty storefronts, and small business be damned. Highest price usually ends up coming from a corporation or large enterprise, of course. Notice how despite the economic crisis, there are still banks chains growing everywhere in NYC. A Capital One just opened on the 8th Ave. corner in Chelsea where a laundry used to be. Who needs an amenity like a place to affordably do your own laundry, right? What Chelsea needs is ANOTHER BANK, surely.

Your TARP money at works, folk.

The tax incentives landlords have to leave commercial property vacant should be adjusted.

community minded said...

Scott- Your point is very interesting. Do you know whether landlords are entitled to these write-offs if they are in urban revitalization/empowerment zones? It would seem that the latter, supposedly intended to stimulate small retail and ameliorate the empty storefront problem, is all a ruse?