Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More about Pink Pony and Motor City Bar closing on Ludlow Street

As we first reported on Monday afternoon, the 18-year-old Motor City Bar on Ludlow Street would be closing this spring. Their current lease expires at the end of the month. It was all but a done deal, a tipster told us.

Co-owner Francesca Romeo confirmed this to The Lo-Down yesterday, noting that the bar's landlord "did not give the option of renewal."

Also on Monday, BoweryBoogie had the scoop that the Pink Pony on Ludlow had also closed for good. In a follow-up piece, Cara Buckley at The New York Times reported that the cafe closed, in part, because the landlord increased the rent from $14,000 to $20,000 a month.

The owner, Lucien Bahaj, who also runs Lucien on First Avenue, said that the landlord "had been reasonable and patient, and was merely asking for market rent." Plus: "[H]is cafe had come to seem out of step in a neighborhood sprouting condominium towers, boutique hotels, mixologists and sports bars."

Here's more from Buckley's piece:

The bar captured a fast retreating moment in the evolution – some may say devolution – of the Lower East Side, a time when patrons read those books and flocked for documentary screenings and poetry nights.

Bahaj said this to the Daily News yesterday:

"It's not a tragedy. It belonged to an era and the era changed and I changed with it. All my customers have left or changed. The neighborhood used to be full of creative types — painters, writers, filmmakers. We don’t have that anymore."

Who do we have?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader report: Motor City Bar is closing on Ludlow Street

[Image via Tripping With Marty]

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

'What do we have?'

The East Village now is nothing but a portal for fratty douchebags and sorority douchettes to drunkenly kill time before they move on to their droll full-blown yuppie lifestyles in the 'burbs. Married, bored, and reproducing more mindless brats.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, in a few years, there won't be anywhere left on the LES for live music outside the Bowery Ballroom. (Trust me — the Mercury Lounge will move on.) No book stores. Probably no theaters. (Why else is the Sunshine trolling for a liquor license?)

The nightlife will consist of MORE frat bars with flat-screen TVs, loser club-like bars for the bridge-&-tunnel crowd, and high-end eateries from "name" chefs for the take-an-Instagram-of-my-meal-OMG crowd. Oh, and hotel bars for the swinging Balazs types.

nygrump said...

Culture free Manhattan. Billionaire dreams...

John M said...

Who do we have?

Ummmmm...

Morons?

10:09 am said...

If you don't like frat bars and cultureless NYC, then move to the suburbs (just putting it out there before some youngling and/or newbie moneyed transplant would make that inane comment).

Anyhoo, 7:04 AM, 9:38 AM, and nygrump are spot-on.

Anonymous said...

The neighborhood is still full of "creative types"...we just don't go out at night in the 'hood because the nightlife and establishments don't serve our interests anymore--they have more money to make other ways.

Anonymous said...

Someone should turn the old theater on Ave A into a music venue space. Like the Bell House or something. Pleaseeeee!

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 11:02

Thanks for the comment. Can you expound on that a little...? Fewer places that showcase live music/art/poetry etc.?

Anonymous said...

"Someone should turn the old theater on Ave A into a music venue space. Like the Bell House or something. Pleaseeeee!"

That's an excellent idea. I was in there a few years ago and alot of the old fixtures from when it was a theater are still there. It just needs to be rehabilitated. They should keep the old 'Hollywood Theater' name as well. Shit, if I had a few disposable million bucks I'd do it myself. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this place is going condo or upscale rental. Wasn't that the word on the street when the closed the deli up?

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 11:52 and 12:50

The renovation plans seemed a little vague after East Village Farms closed last Feb. 7 (!). The city disapproved the first round of plans to renovate the space, including adding a "dwelling unit" and roof garden on the upper floors. I got the impression it was going to be some McMansion up there with retail on ground floor.

I would like to see it restored back to a theater as well. Not sure what the immediate neighbors would think...

Anonymous said...

That's the problem unfortunately. A music venue would defintiely have a negative on quality of life for the tenants in the buildings on either side. It would be great for the heighborhood, great for the businesses, but the tenants would suffer. Hell, if I lived next door and it was a live music place I would probably be pulling my hair out, especially if they booked some lame ass-suck ass band. Unless there's a way to ultra sound proof it. Then again would it be a stretch to turn it into a first run movie or indie house? I thnk that could be good for 'hood as well.

~evilsugar25 said...

man! it's been a year since they killed my deli to turn it into a parking spot for homeless people? why don't they let businesses stay open until they get approved plans?

second: every time another cool place closes up (and here we have two) everyone bemoans how the EV is over (it's been over for quite a while imo, but i own my place so i'm a little stuck in a quandry as to what to do)... but my main question that no one can answer is... where did all the cool people and places go?? beyond williamsburg and greenpoint (which have their own hipster douchebag issues), where should i be looking? fort greene? ditmas park? gowanus? where's the new EV, short of Portland OR?

Anonymous said...

RIP NYC.
LA is where it's at now, baby!

Anonymous said...

Agree with anon 2:50 that LA is much cooler now than NYC.

Anonymous said...

Mercury Lounge is owned by Bowery Presents. I'm sure they will be there for quite some time.

What happened to all of the cool people? They got priced out 7 years ago and stay local to where they live now (Brooklyn, Queens).

Artistically driven venues cannot make the rents needed to exist in this neighborhood. Every venue needs at least two nights a week where people are pounding alcohol in order to make the rent. I know plenty of bar owners who wish that they could do something more culturally meaningful with their spaces, but will lose their businesses if they don't compromise. That's what happened to Pink Pony. The owner refuses to increase the prices and cater to the dickwads. I think he has a lot of integrity by throwing in the towel. We can't buy back an era or community that no longer exists. There are very few of us left.

Anonymous said...

And there you have it, nitwits like anon 2:50 and 2:55 only concerned about who and what is the coolest. Doomed to forever pursue the latest trend setting consumables.

Through all the changes in my neighborhood of 35 years it has remained first and foremost my beloved home.

Anonymous said...

The question I have is... Pink Pony was subleased by Max FIsh.. Max Fish had the whole space .There is a door in the back connecting Pink Pony and Max Fish
which is actually the fire escape door for Max Fish.

So if Pink Pony is closing up could Max Fish be far behind??

~evilsugar25 said...

first of all, LA is not cool. never was, never will be. i lived there for three years, and my sis lives there. i'm very familiar. it's not the kind of 'cool' i'm looking for.

and i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to remain in what has been my home hood for 25+ years, i really would. i hung out here as a teen and have worked and lived here for decades. HOWEVER, what i mean when i say "where has the cool gone?" is that i'm looking for a neighborhood with all of the vibe, feel, cafes, bookstores, funky shops, buildings and neighbors that have disappeared from my own hood. i'm looking, at this point, to live somewhere where i am comfortable, challenged and excited by my surroundings, not disgusted. i hate to bail on the EV (and I still haven't, you may note... and who knows when i will) but i am confronted DAILY with things that i just don't like anymore about where i live. and that makes me sad, constantly. i don't want that. i want record stores, book stores, performances spaces, places to see a band, used furniture, mom&pop shops, and a neighborhood deli that isn't a 7-11.

i admire all of you fighting the good fight but i just don't see it happening here. i love you Bagel Guy, I really do. but .... i want to find a cute hood to live in. i step in douchebag vomit too regularly around here nowadays.

Crazy Eddie said...

Alvy Singer: I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.

Jill said...

Red hook I think is a place I could imagine going, except for the lack of subways.