Friday, January 6, 2012

East Village Farms is closing; renovations coming to 100 Avenue A

[Cinema Treasures]

Here's one that we didn't see coming: A tipster tells us that East Village Farms at 100 Avenue A between Seventh Street and Sixth Street will be closing soon. The florists out front are already in the process of leaving.

Per our tipster, the building's owner is going to start "renovations" as early as February. (Monica, who owns the grocery business with her husband, apparently already has a new location scouted at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue.)

So far, though, there aren't any permits pending with the Department of Buildings. We only just heard about this. So we don't know just yet what the plans are for the future. Suh Yon Pak Associates are listed as the owners.

This is an enormous space, as you can see.


The building served as a theater from 1926 to 1959. Here's what the place looked like in 1949 when it was known as the Hollywood (this is looking north toward Seventh Street) ...

[Via Cinema Treasures]

It has been some type of grocery or another since 1959. Here's the first certificate of occupancy from the city for use as a grocery.


The upstairs of East Village Farms has always been rather mysterious... One Cinema Treasures reader got a look several years ago, and took these photos...





Nostalgia aside... this is a huge loss in the heart of the neighborhood...

Previously on EV Grieve:
A little bit of Hollywood on Avenue A

43 comments:

~Joan. said...

Terrible news. Appreciate your reporting.

Melanie said...

I am grieving..these people work 24/7. I am glad they found another location.

LvV said...

This completely sucks. I love EV Farms. They have *everything*

Is it a rent thing? Do new residents not buy produce? I have already schlep to 19th Street for flowers at this point. And what hellhole is coming to that space, an H&M?! uggghhh

abrod said...

Such an interesting exterior, always figured it had to be a theater or factory or something. I kind of like how those old lottery banners hang in tatters - I know the developer is surely foaming at the mouth to knock it down or convert it to luxury condos but here's hoping the exterior will at least survive.

Bowery Boogie said...

demolition for some trendy condos?

Jeremiah Moss said...

those inside shots are great. of course, the best thing that could happen would be if this turned back into a movie palace, but that's Pollyanna thinking.

Stedman said...

Ugh. EV Farm has been a solid for me. Like LvV said, they have everything. It's scary to think what might go there. It's almost certain to be something that's not needed or wanted in the hood.

Best wishes to EV Farm in their new location.

RhinoAveC said...

Such a shame. I generally stop in there at least once a week on my way home. Best of luck to them in their new space.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that makes this bearable is the even faint possibility it would be turned back into a theater. Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

I always hoped it would be some theater or venue.

bowery boy said...

now, if those Horse Trade Theater folks really wanna buy a building....

Anonymous said...

This came out in the NYT last summer, it talks about a trend of Koreans leaving the grocery business.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/nyregion/korean-grocers-a-new-york-fixture-are-on-the-decline.html?pagewanted=all

East Village Eats said...

Man, NOT COOL! I wonder what useless business is going to go into the space now. *Sigh*

EV Grieve said...

Random:

1) I wonder what the neighborhood reaction was in 1959 when the theater closed to become a grocery?

2) What kind of a fortune would it cost to restore this to a theater?

creature said...

Horrible news. This is my main go to place. I'm forgetting the man's name behind the deli counter, but he makes the best bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich. Damn.

Big Gay Ice Cream Man said...

Their staff has been so helpful to our store- we've bought some grocery items in bulk through them- and they are just so darned nice. What a loss. As others have said, the notion that the theater might be renovated is something to cling to...

I'm going to have to change my speech for customers. If they want a bar recommendation, I send 'em to The International. If they want a taxi, go to Avenue A, and if they want anything else, go to East Village Farms.

I can't even guess how many times I staggered in there bombed after a night at 1984. Maybe I'll take a bunch of milkshakes over there this afternoon.

glamma said...

so very sorry to hear this. sorry... and nervous. this is literally the heart of the neighborhood....
Suh Yon Pak Associates, good luck with your renovations, please be careful with your plans, and the integrity of the east village!

~evilsugar26 said...

@creature The man behin the deli counter is jimmy, an he, along with the other folks that work there are super nice. This place is my daily shopper. I am literally drinking coffee that I just purchased from jimmy not five minutes ago. This makes me so sad. I am so sick of every single EVERY SINGLE place I frequent in my hood of 20 years disappearing one by one. I hate this.

Marc Kehoe said...

The prices are outrageous. So sorry they have to go. My mother saw "scary movies" there when she was a girl.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I was in that building when it was a burnt out shell, 1956 or 57? Must of been 10 years old or so. We climbed up to a top of a metallic ladder and looked down at the burnt out seats. Boy, was I scared that eventually I started crying. I fled from the place. All I remember was the laughter of my friends with the smell of fire damage. I never went back or in to the store. Always had bad memories.

LvV said...

Mr. Gay Ice Cream Man, I would now send people to Village Farm on 2nd Ave at 9th Street ... and if Village Farm closes, that's it, I give up. I'm just going to switch to an all-falafel cart-and-bagel diet. *sigh*

Goggla said...

Oh no! I use this store a lot and they're always so friendly. I'm glad they've found another space, but I'm sure going to miss it.

Fingers crossed that the theater can be revived in some way, but when's the last time we had any good news like that?

Anonymous said...

I always think that if the right person came along that could be a terrific venue opportunity--another Sunshine or sort of Bowery Ballroom-esque. Come on investors! Step up!

Matt said...

Movie theaters generally struggle to turn a profit and the renovation costs would probably be prohibitive. It does seem like a likely teardown and build condos to the sky scenario. Though I keep dreaming that the city will start buying shit and building schools again (coughcoughCHARAScough).

Sorry to hear it. They're really nice and that place does have damn near everything, and not at the customarily evil bodega markup, either. May they make it in Midtown.

Deaner said...

I shop here all of the time (even got my pet beta here!) sad they will be leaving. everyone who works there is super nice and even would throw in free candy now and again. I am very intrigued by the old theatre, would love to see more photos. I wold love to look up in there! where are the andre the giant posters?

Eden Bee said...

No! I love that place! My god, does every last bit of old new york have to shut down? I ma really upset about this..wasn't it called SOK a while back?

Jeremiah Moss said...

i love Village Farm on 2nd and 9th. i don't know what i'd do if it vanished. they also have a nice cat.

EV Grieve said...

@Eden

I was trying to remember that for the post. I think EV Farms has been there for 12 years. I know at one point it was S.Y.P Grocery. But it does seem as if it was some sort of modified version of the SYP name afterwards...

Fipper said...

i can't believe the interior!!! i grew up in the LES and this is the first time i'd seen it. turning this back to a theater would be wishful thinking. my hope is that whatever they turn it into, even if it's H&M, i hope they'll refurbish those wall sculptures. They're magnificent and such work is disappearing all over the the city.

Anonymous said...

After the "Diana and Dodi" memorial bodega on 3rd Ave changed their name or closed, I stopped caring...

Matthew has 2 T's, dumbass said...

This is a tragedy and a huge quality of life issue for locals. These smaller groceries were so vital to life in NYC and they are disappearing. Boo !!

Dave on 7th said...

@Grieve. Obviously the owners, Soh Yon Pak, are the previous store owners, S.Y.P. We use to joke that it stood for Steal Your Paycheck, because it seemed like such an expensive place to shop at the time.

erin said...

So sad! They always have great quality herbs and veggies that I can rely on being there and in good shape when I realize late in the day that I'm missing an ingredient for dinner. Can't say the same for any of the other grocery stores near-by. :(

Jill said...

This is a terrible loss, especially with the closing of the other deli up the street.

I have this dream that a new wave of immigrants will come to New York to run our delis and markets since the Koreans and Arabs that have most recently been in charge of these things seem to be losing interest. (Ok I know that's not why they are disappearing, but in my simple world it's a working theory.)

That upstairs looks so glamorous, even filled with boxes. According to the husband, SYP in the 80's stood for Stupid Yuppie Pigs. Hey, I'm just the messenger.

We still call it SYP and whatever comes there in the future, it will always be SYP to me.

Anonymous said...

as other mentioned, we used to call it "steal your paycheck" not only because it was the most over priced place in the hood but because on top of the over priced prices they'd frequently add a few cents onto everything as they rang up your items.

never been over charged more times by "accident" in any east village/lower east side store than this one. "Oh, I'm sorry sir, you're right, that onion is not $2.50 it's 75 cents..."

So, once again while it's sad that stores that provide things neighborhood residents need being replaced by things that only attract people from outside the hood to come and spend money on what's trendy at the moment: I say good bye and don't let the door hit your thieving asses on the way out of the hood.

Anonymous said...

its an empty pile of bricks

OWR said...

When I was a kid I remember it being a Pioneer Supermarket and over time just becamse a stream of Korean-owned Delis. Ok, good luck in the future to them

Song said...

This is a message written on behalf of the current business tenants, Monica and her husband, written by their daughter:

"We are so thankful to have gotten to know many of you and to have been a part of this neighborhood. We are sorry for not always doing a great job and being responsible for any bad shopping experiences some of you may have had. We are indebted to our loyal customers and their friendships.

The new location is a friend's store, who we will be working alongside. As we are in the process of scouting a store ourselves, we hope to maybe meet in the future if we come back to Avenue A. God Bless, everyone!

As the store closes, we will be having a special clearance sale sometime in the last week of January. Hope to see many of you there!
With Love, the Songs"

Anonymous said...

That's an amazing old picture of the movie theater. I used to live in the building next door for several years. Would anyone know how to get a picture of that?

Anonymous said...

The flowers are back - are they not closing after all?

Anonymous said...

Dave on 7th, my friends who have lived in the neighborhood longer than me have always told me that SYP stood for suck your penis. But maybe my friends are just dirty . . .

Anonymous said...

OK, here's some info from what I have gathered over the years. It was a Pioneer Supermarket at some point, up until the 80s at least. My guess is probably mid to late 80s. At some point it became SYP, not sure if there is anything between the Pioneer Supermarket and SYP, but I wouldn't be surprised. SYP was commonly referred to as Suck Your Penis, at least among some people I knew. After that it became SOK, which would be when I started frequenting the place. Some of us then called it Suck On Kock. After that I think it turned into East Village Farm. The two spaces to the right of it are also part of the theater, and were probably the original lobby. I looked at one of those spaces many years ago, when the landlord thought about renting them out. Eventually the deli just used them for storage. Supposedly the drop ceilings in the actual deli cover up the beautiful ceiling that the theater once had. I'm hoping after the deli leaves to get in and check on that fact myself. I was lucky enough to get to explore the theater upstairs, and it is beautiful. Obviously it is rotting as there has been no upkeep to any of it, other than structurally. There have been numerous changes, and as someone else mentioned I guess there was a fire at some point. The offices are still in the back, as are the bathrooms. There are some fake walls and ceilings which cover some amazing architecture. There is a small part of the original lobby left, but its just a small part, little to see. The original projection booth still exists, up a very small ladder in the back of the theater. There are a few of the theater projection things left there, but very few. Just the controls for the footlights and stuff, plus a mechanical thing that probably held the reels. There is also a ladder to the roof, plus a huge catwalk that takes you from one side of the room across to the other, all above the ceiling. The catwalk is pretty rusted, and I would not cross it, though I did go about a quarter of the way. It's a shame nothing can be done to preserve this amazing place, but the reality is the cost would be astronomical and not worth it financially. Few people in the world would undertake such a money pit. Hopefully I can convince my friend that took a ton of pics in there to post them online at some point.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 4:12

Thanks for the details. WOuld love to see those photos some time.