Friday, March 13, 2015

Rent hike forcing Cafe Pick Me Up into its smaller space next door on Avenue A


[Image via Facebook]

The rumors about the demise of Cafe Pick Me Up have turned out not to be true. However, the 20-year-old cafe, which has been on and off the market the past year, is losing its prime corner space on Avenue A and East Ninth Street.

Cafe Pick Me Up currently occupies two adjoining spaces in two different buildings, and each side has its own lease. As Lisha Arino reported at DNAinfo, the lease on the larger corner property expires in May, when they will move the operation entirely next door. (The kitchen is also in this space.)

A rent hike is to blame, manager Rossella Palazzo told DNAinfo.

“I don’t know who can afford that much rent,” she said, declining to say how much the landlord charged. “I know it’s a nice location on the corner but it’s way too much for what they’re asking.”

Icon Realty bought the building at 145 Avenue A for $10.1 million last April, according to public records. At least two of the storefronts on the East Ninth Street side have vacated the building apparently due to rent hikes.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, scumbag landlords. You're bringing back the bad old days of abandonment and flight. Folks are moving out in droves; businesses are closing because there is no base; and, then, where will your lux and high rents go?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I hear real-estate people talking to clients when they are on my block showing a (rental) apartment. It's always the same "there's a great deli on the corner, great restaurants and fun shops" all of which is getting harder for them to say in the past few years as these attractions are disappearing.

dwg said...

Where Icon Realty is involved expect the worst.

Anonymous said...

I've never witnessed such greed from landlords than in NYC. I walked to Hudson Street yesterday. I would say eight storefronts, which were once restaurants, bars and stores are gone. For lease signs are everywhere in empty spaces. I used to work at one of those restaurants where the rent was risen by more than $25,000 a month. Needless to say, they closed. Its crazy. Bleecker feels like Rodeo Drive with Coach, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Scotch & Soda ( arriving next month). The East Village is becoming a version of this. Soon, it will be uber posh and exclusive. This makes me sick. Whatever happened to keeping neighborhoods intact and preserving integrity for the community? I suppose money really is the bane of our existence. It seems to dominate our choices as it continues to define our value and undeniable, self-worth.

Scuba Diva said...

Hello, Starbucks!

Anonymous said...

This is yet another example of why we all need to get involved in Jeremiah Moss' #SaveNYC campaign. We need to protect small businesses from greedy landlords.

Giovanni said...

Someone was explaining the greed of the average landlord the other day and made this interesting observation: when deciding what price to set, real estate investors tend to want their own profit plus all the profits of the next guy. In other words, they want the market rent plus all the profits of whoever they are renting the space to, or in the case of a sale they want the market price of the building plus whatever profit the next guy will make when they flip it or convert it.

The next guy can just starve to death as far as the average real estate investor is concerned. They don't care about how anyone else is supposed to survive, or how their decisions affect everyone else around them, once they have the power of controlling a piece of property they want the fruits of the labor of everyone else who comes after them.

Whoever told us that slavery was dead never met a real estate investor.

Ann8thSt said...

That's a real shame. I'm trying to remember what business was occupying that corner before, when Pick Me Up was only based in the smaller space next door. I'm drawing a blank, anyone else remember?

bayou said...

Just walked Columbus Ave from 86 to Lincoln Center. Every third store front was for rent.

Anonymous said...

How can this news be a surprise to anyone these days. Being a landlord is a business and profits outweigh long sight especially when it comes to preserving a neighborhoods character and residents. There is an equation to all this, how many businesses will be able to survive past the first year at the new rents vs the amount of foot traffic a typical block in the EV sees each day. The answer for these spaces is corporate chains, luxury goods and services but is that customer living here. I think we are still in the early stages since there are still buildings here with landlords which have not sold out to companies like Icon. When most of the buildings in the EV are in the portfolios of a few property owners the neighborhood will be completely unrecognizable. Someday though the people renting studio apartments for $3000 and up will decide they've had enough and move away and a possible collapse of rent and lease rates. That day can not come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

All the previous comments are correct, landlords are just seeing storefronts as business and raise as much capital as possible in any way that is currently legal. I would add to the equation the property tax rates which are driven by the 'assessment' value set by the city. It's a self fulfilling prophecy, as rents increase, the city squeezes more dollars out and the rents and landlords just pass the cost over to stores and apartments to cover the squeeze. The question is, are we prepared to analyze the laws of real estate and propose to make the current practices illegal? You can react to what's happening or take the harder route of asking to change laws. Unfortunately, I don't believe you can just let things work themselves out with supply and demand.

Giovanni said...

Bayou is right, this is happening all over. Stores on the Upper West Side are getting cleared out, the big Urban Outfitters on 72nd St, which replaced HMV, is gone. Original gentrifiers like Helmut Lang, Burberrys and Ann Taylor just closed, many of the high end salons are fleeing, old time liquor stores and optometrists are gone. The old school chinese restaurants are closing, while spicier asian food places like Han Dynasty move in. Tons of restauants are closing and getting seized by the marshall for non-payment, not too surprising with $70k/month rents being asked for 70 seat spaces. All those Doggy daycares and cute little dog shops like Furry Paws are closing. If pet stores on the UWS can't make money you know there's a problem. But not to worry, Capital One bank banches are opening on every other corner.

Anonymous said...

Move to LA. It's better than this.

Anonymous said...

Ouch, this one hurts real bad. The corner spot is definitely my long time favorite coffee spot.

nygrump said...

So long as they are rewarded for this behavior by the tax codes, it will not stop. So long as the govt at all levels is owned by the re lobby, it will not change. But you're supposed to think the problem are old people who have the audacity to remain in their big apartments.

Anonymous said...

@12:42 pm.

LA is now having huge rental problems

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-affordable-housing-part-1-20150111-story.html

http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/8618-study-airbnb-puts-the-squeeze-on-los-angeles-renters

Anonymous said...

LA is infinitely more affordable and interesting than what NYC is now. You can easily rent a 2-3 bedroom house in a good neighborhood for less than the rent of a closet sized 1-bedroom in the EV now.

Crazy Eddie said...

I posted this before but still relevant. From the 1968 Producers:

The landlord: He who signs a lease must pay rent. That's the law.
Max Bialystock: You miserable wretch! How dare you take the last penny out of a poor man's pocket?
The landlord: I have to. I'm a landlord.
Max Bialystock: [to God] Oh, Lord, hear my plea; destroy him! He maketh a blight on the land!

In fact, I am sort of nostalgic for this type of landlord. As has been pointed out on this tread, today’s landlord in NYC is usually some type of corporate hedge fund scum bag.

And Anony 3.24 PM. Nobody walks in LA. Still.

Anonymous said...

Fuck LA. Enjoy the earthquakes, droughts and police brutality.

chris flash said...

Ann8th Street: My recollection of that corner in the 80s was an abandoned bodega. That corner, it all its dilapidated glory, can be seen in a Nick Zedd film from the mid-1980s, as he walks north on Avenue A.

Aside from the lack of regulation on rent levels for commercial spaces, the problem is ZONING. As Jeremiah Moss so well points out, if the city can use zoning to restrict the number of adult bookstores/video shops, it can do the same thing with regard to banks and chain stores.

With the mayor + city council in the pockets of the real estate and banking industries, the corruption is complete.

IF we could ever replace ALL of these parasites, it would still be too late to restore what has been lost.

In the end, we'll be left with a bland corporate-culture-created homogenous town that is indistinguishable from any other city.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the previous commenters. I am from LA, but have lived here for fifteen years. While the rents in LA continue to rise, like anywhere else, there is still bang for your buck there. In a majority of places, you have access to laundry in your building, a parking space, with a decent size kitchen to move around in, some of which offer pools too. Yes, it isn't NYC. But for the cost of a one bedroom in the EV, which is averaging around 2500, you can find something pretty fabulous, perhaps even a two bedroom with its own laundry in the apartment. Go figure. In a nice neighborhood to boot. Its all about your comfort zone. Its unfortunate this cafe is downsizing. I am not surprised though. The great thing about LA is not having to afford the cost of a broker. I wonder what how many empty storefronts sit in this neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

"Fuck LA. Enjoy the earthquakes, droughts and police brutality."

Not so sure those are the points you want to be fighting for.
Since I moved to LA from the EV three years ago you guys have had: Hurricane Sandy, progressively worse & worse winters, and Eric Garner.

84 and sunny right now.

Giovanni said...

LA is like a giant parking lot without an exit. You know why they named the main parking lot/freeway the 405? Because that's about the average speed of travel by car in LA, 4 or 5 MPH. People spend more time in their cars than most people spend wth their own families. Or reading, which is something else noone does there, except for all the ex-New Yorkers. It is a city without a center, like a donut without a hole, in a state whose former Governor played a cyborg sent back from the future to destroy the past. It looks like his mission was accomplished.

Crazy Eddie said...

"84 and sunny right now."

I hate you. But, all joking aside, there going to be some major water wars out West that will make "Chinatown" look like a walk in the park. After all, "Yang-na has also been translated as "the valley of smoke."

Anonymous said...

There had been a huge influx of Angelinos to the nabe may five years ago or so, but recently, an equal number have returned. I'm curious what brought them here initially.

Anonymous said...

Ongoing drought with no end in sight vs one storm and two rough winters 4 years apart. I'll stick with NYC.

Richard Kopperdahl said...

I wonder how those off-brand banks with few visible customers can afford those choice corner locations in the East Village. They must laundry dirty money or are involved in some other shady financial transactions and if they are, why do they need such attractive locations? Couldn't they rent some second story loft on Avenue D? There aught to be a law.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Arguing about the angel city which is so much more diverse and interesting than NYC. Jealousy. ... Talk about regressive nostalgia and the present.

Edwin

Anonymous said...

People move here from LA because of the all the NYC people in LA who miss the city. Love the stereotypes though. I lived there for years. I took the subway - yes the LA metro- to work. Rent is way cheaper for stores and apts. And downtown LA is the new center. Nobody in NYC should bash other cities transportation options. Hows the subway been lately? And there are lots of bookstores and record stores. How many bookstores left in NYC? Are there any in the Bronx? Its hard to move to NYC and adjust to the rent and the subway and the bad weather and the cost of everthing. As far as CAs drought goes- 80% of the water use is for agriculture. And CA grows a high percentage of food and fruit and veggies etc. Food prices will go up and it will be a national issue. So in a way its your problem. Tough to leave a $1200 1Br with a balcony in a bldg with a pool and laundry and parking to pay twice as much for a shitty EV rant infested roach infested shithole with heat and hot water issus. There used tonbe reasons to put up with all the crap because NYC was unique and special. Is there any reason now to pay the high rent and deal with all the other bs?

Anonymous said...

If you love LA so much, go, it's been waiting for you!

Anonymous said...

People deal with NYC because the jobs are here.

Walter said...

There will not be a drought in California. If it gets too dry, Senator Inhofe will mail them his snow ball.

Unknown said...

Please. Within ten minutes of arrival they'll be complaining about LA too. Geography is not the source of their misery.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Jobs? Where are the jobs? The underlying issue is the saturation of people and proliferation of conformity and social condition to be as wealthy and powerful as possible. The competition is fierce in NYC, as many of you realize. I hold two college degrees, have completed numerous internships, attended endless networking functions, had special cards made, offered to work for pennies, reached out to head hunters, recruiting firms, employment agencies, and applied for two thousands jobs online over a three year period. And, there is nothing being offered. So, to the last commenter, I don't know where the jobs exist. Unless you're in finance or technology, many are screwed. Without that high paying job, how can I pay my exorbitant rent? Waiting tables seven days a week, driving a cab, performing on the subway? Prostitution? Ideas? I want to believe NYC can be salvaged, hopefully transformed to become more of a friendlier environment, where others aren't intimated by the notion of obtaining decent jobs and places to live, especially when all of the hard work and preparation has been in place. This semi-closure is a loss for the community. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why companies don't want to hire you.

Anonymous said...

You're right. A majority of the jobs are in tech and it's not going to change anytime soon. No matter what you do for a living, technology is going to play a bigger role in your industry. The decision is up to you whether to embrace it and continue your education and learn and stay hirable or shun it and stagnate.

The reason companies hire so many young people is that they have grown up with trchnology, adapt quickly to change, and don't come with the baggage some older people have - gen xers, boomers - about learning. Times change and never have they changed so drastically than they are now. It's tough, absolutely, but the future is yours to write.

Anonymous said...

I think it was clear that I lived there past tense. Just pointing out some things. Your knee jerk response is typical new school ny. So thin skinned. There are lots of great places to live with better weather and quality of life. Why deal with all the crap here if you cant enjoy NYC? Why scrape by here? So you can go to a walgreens? Why suffer here? Whats the point?

Boodiba said...

@ Anonymous After nearly 26 years in NYC, I'm moving to the west coast tomorrow, not LA though, Portland. I was probably ready to leave 10 or 12 years ago, but fear kept me here. I had a decent salary at an easy, though soul & creativity crushing job. I'd spent my entire adult life here, since I moved to the area immediately after college.

But enough is enough. I was talking with a friend recently & we both feel that - unless you have circumstances keeping you here - NYC is really only good for the very young or the super rich. Otherwise, the pros no longer outweigh the cons. It isn't that artistically vital or interesting anymore.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash. Most cities are all about tech.

Anonymous said...

Imagine this. Not everyone who lives here suffers or scrapes by. You're may, but not all of us do.

Anonymous said...

if you don't understand that there are better places to live other than NY or LA then you have a very narrow view of the world; a narrow view of the world happens to be what most people have.

Anonymous said...

I'm not young or super rich but I'm doing just fine. But I'm more adaptable and don't let my idealism shut doors for me.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 4:20; your compassion is overwhelming.

Thank you for pointing out your insights.

Anonymous said...

And I thank you for spreading your misery

Anonymous said...

to read these comments you'd thing everyone in ny is suffering sone type of great depression. we're not. we're just out living our lives and not being butt hurt all day in comment sections. take a look at your life choices and stop blaming everything for your personal circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Geeze Louise. This is a forum for everyone. We're all entitled to our opinions, granted they're dispensed with respect. There are many who struggling to survive in this city and everywhere who aren't has lucky or entitled as others. Instead of pushing someone further when they are down such as the individual who hasn't located a job, why not say something uplifting that is kind and useful. You can be proud that you don't have to struggle, but don't be glib about your riches.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight Bro. Shouldn't you be out drinking somewhere so you can woo the night away? I think the point was is it worth the money and aggrivation to live here? Considering how high the poverty level is , how homelessness is exploding, and how many people are scraping by, Id say the issue is bigger than you think. I know it doesnt matter to you bro. Thanks to your race and parents and privilege Im sure youve faced down the worst the world has to offer. Please share your wisdom. That is if you can spare a precious moment when youre not wooing drinking or brunching.

Giovanni said...

Newsflash: LA is Almost Out Of Water. NY may have it's share of problems, but running out of water is not one of them. Or as the Bros of the EV like to say, "I'll drink to that!"

California will run out of water in a year and should begin rationing its use immediately, NASA scientist says The state only has one year of supply left in its reservoirs due to persistent drought and is also running out of backup groundwater, Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote. The drought means that total water storage in California, which has been in decline since 2002, has been sapped by the need to use the resource for farming, he said in the Los Angeles Times.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2994985/California-run-water-reserves-year-begin-rationing-precious-resource-immediately-NASA-scientist-says.html#ixzz3UPubhbke

Anonymous said...

True. But 80% of the water in CA is used for agriculture. So they have to decide what to do. And CA is a big agriculture state. More likely to see skyrocketing food prices. Good to see Obama reading tweets on Jimmy Kimmell. Good to know hes taking care of important national business.

Anonymous said...

@11;11 PM. And the trees need water too, which is why you are having record massive wildfire seasons every year. I was there for the Malibu and Laguna Canyon fires years ago, it was miserable, anyone with breathing problems was in big trouble. All we did was breathe ash falling from the sky and try to wash it off their cars every day, it was thick like snow.

When it finally rained the smell was like a house that had just burned down, but the smell followed you everywhere. Then there was a massive mudslide that went right through the houses up on the canyon rim, and washed away all the homes and a newborn baby which was lucikly found unhurt down at the bottom of the hill. For months you could never get that smell of smoke out of your clothes. Yeah, it was just like paradise. In hell.

So keep telling yourself that 80% of the water in California is just for agriculture, and then go buy some marshmallows and a real long stick to roast them on 'cause you're gonna need them real soon.

Anonymous said...

"There are many who struggling to survive in this city and everywhere who aren't has lucky or entitled as others. "

Try hard work. I have neither luck or entitlement nor am I a bro.

Anonymous said...

I am a fourth generation New Yorker. My entire family is appalled and depressed at the destruction of NYC, much of it enabled by the Bloomberg Administration. At this point, many of us are trying to figure out if there is a way to leave and where to go. For our kids in high school and college,we are advising them to leave NYC. No point to living in an expensive city run by luxury real estate, frat folks Chipotle.

Anonymous said...

Many of the commenters associated with this discussion sound petulant and don't seem to fully understand the argument behind each post. How did a thread about the closure of the corner side of coffee shop trickle down to LA (which is completely off topic) "Bros" (who seem to dominate the voice of this site, sadly) pointing fingers, bringing others down, calling one another names, anonymously no doubt, trying to sound smarter, which many don't, go to such a dark place? If no one has something objective to contribute, perhaps you should keep it to yourself?

Speak your mind clearly. Articulate your argument. Don't disrespect others. Move on. Period

Giovanni said...

@10:19 re- read the blog, all 20,000 posts, this is an ongoing discussion. People keep saying if you don't like the high rents in NY move to xyz. Lately it's LA as if nightmare traffic, wildfires, floods, droughts and earthquakes are a good trade off for a few bucks a month. It's about living in a post- Bloomberg dystopian world, but the people who think they can move away to escape from New York will find that no matter where you go, there you are. Problems are everywhere, and if UHaul were the answer to all our problems it would be the richest company on earth. People need to find solutions and not run away. That's what Jeremiah's SaveNYC is all about. But New York is not for everyone, that's why God Invented places like Cleveland and Utah and LA. The rest of us will stay here and fight. Win or lose this is still our city.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think bros read this site? I doubt it. That was just some classist feces flung by commenters when they read something they don't agree with. Agree, both sides could benefit from civility.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Giovanni. That comment should be on here permanently. Said it all.

NOTORIOUS said...

This corporatization of city life is not limited to NYC and if you think it's any different in LA then the jokes on you.

I was just watching an interview with a punk band from LA yesterday and one of the conversations was what a hell hole it was and then - wait for it - boutiques, chain stores, and high-end retail moved in. Boom! No more warehouse rehersal spaces and up the rents went.

I'm from MA and spent my late teens / early 20s hanging out in Harvard Square with the other artists, punks, and scamps. It was full of independent record stores, book stores, head shops, and generally interesting counter culture kind of shops. All of it, gone. Central Square, for those who know the area, that too. Gone. It's all chain stores and shit like that.

Short of living in the woods Ted Kaczynski style, an idea I haven't ruled out yet, there's few places to avoid this omnipotent, corporate cannibalization.

As Giovanni said, there's no salvation to be found running away in a U-Haul truck.

Former East Villager said...

Giovanni touched something in me. I was evicted from my home of 24 years. I tried to find a rental, even short-term, but it was shockingly impossible, and shockingly expensive. I wanted to stay. The East Village, somehow, got its hooks into me, and I can't let it go.

I still do to this day dream/nightmare about living there. And I wake up, confused in my new house, but missing my home.

By the way, my formerly nice, chatty landlord suddenly decided to not accept my rent, in cash, three months ahead in order to force me out.

mattiranda said...

Pick Me Up has been at the corner space for over 14 years. They took over the smaller space (147) about 8 years ago. They never only been at the smaller space except for a few weeks years ago while repairs were being done to corner building (145).