Thursday, December 21, 2017

Neighbor: East Village Cheese, closed now for 2 weeks, is starting to smell


[EVG reader photo from Dec. 8]

Two weeks have passed, and there hasn't been any sign of life inside East Village Cheese at 80 E. Seventh St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. (See the previous posts here and here.)

The shop was last seen open on Dec. 7. And the gate has been down ever since, without any notice indicating a temporary or permanent closure. The telephone has been disconnected ... and worse, the power has been shut off inside the shop these past two weeks, neighbors say.

All this is particularly troubling to Julia Knox, who owns East Village Hats next door.

"The smell of cheese is seeping into my hat shop, and I am looking for ideas for how to get the place emptied before it rots," she said. "My biggest concern is that the smell is going to be unbearable pretty soon, and a potential rat problem."

Here's a photo via EVG reader Jeremy Block looking inside the space from Dec. 14. That bread and cheese is still there...


[Via @jeremyblock]

As I understand it, the landlord (76-80 East 7th Street Limited Partnership) is aware of the situation, though apparently there are legal concerns about entering the storefront.

East Village Cheese moved here from Third Avenue in September 2015. By April 2016, regulars started worrying about the shop's longterm financial health. "These guys never really got on their feet after the move," Knox said.

As previously noted, the place wasn't always a very patron-friendly shop on Seventh Street, with a cash-only policy and an early close that prevented way-home-from-work shopping, among other things ... including the lack of ambiance and suspect expiration dates, according to regulars.

Past news article on the shop list Lobsang Tsultrim and Thupten Tenphel, immigrants from Tibet, as the owners. They reportedly took over from its founder, Alvin Kaufman, in 2005.

Updated Dec. 22

NBC 4, ABC 7 and PIX 11 all picked up the story, though they didn't offer any new developments.


36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gross. I don't know the law in these types of situations. So why can't the landlord enter the store? Why wouldn't the landlord have a legal right and obligation to prevent the building from becoming a hotbed of rats and roaches?

Anonymous said...

What a true shame, so much bread & cheese to just leave
and decompose.

Looks like the owners just made a run for it.

Anonymous said...

Emails have been sent to several political officials to alert them of the potential problems (i.e., unbearable smell and rat problems). Let's see if these political officials reply to the emails and attempt to handle the potential problems before it gets out of hand!

Anonymous said...

Your readers do know that cheese is just milk that has been spoiled by bacteria. In a mostly tasty way, but still.

p.s. I predict some great dumpster diving for aged cheeses in a few days.

Anonymous said...

It's shameful the owners didn't donate the food before they scrammed.

Terrible.

Gojira said...

Shame on them for leaving all that perfectly good food to go to waste, especially when there are food banks galore in the EV who would have loved to have it. I don't care how dire their situation is, there is no excuse for this.

Anonymous said...

@6:28am - "Why wouldn't the landlord have a legal right and obligation to prevent the building from becoming a hotbed of rats and roaches?"

For the same reason they can't do that when residential apartments become a hotbed of rats and roaches... "tenant's rights".

DrGecko said...

Possible that they just upped and ran, owing the landlord a lot of money. If that's true, then the landlord has to go through a legal eviction before entering the store, and that takes time (possibly a few months). I've seen this happen, although not with the kind of health issues that are wafting around EV Cheese.

Drew Bushong said...

IM WAITING FOR THAT EVICTION CHEESE !!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the Health Dept. and/or whoever oversees things like restaurants & general cleanliness of premises that sell food would be the people to investigate? Or does the FDNY have to break the lock & open the riot gate first? Surely it can't be legal or even sane for an owner to knowingly let food rot & create a health hazard (rats/roaches, etc.)?

And I'd think if the tenants took a runner, then as a landlord I, at least, wouldn't be so worried about the particulars of my end of "due process" in entering their store. It's not like the tenants are going to come back & sue landlord for the value of the spoiled food, is it? I don't know who's in charge of electricity being cut off, but if tenants didn't pay Con Ed or told them to turn off service, vs. landlord doing same, that would factor into it as well, I'd think.

I feel very sorry for Julia Knox, who is having to deal with this during the most busy shopping week of the year.





Anonymous said...

Yech.

Eden Bee said...

Let all the Tompkins Square rats have a go at the place.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone investigated for foul play? It seems that would be a genuine reason to look inside, if the owners cannot be located.

NOTORIOUS said...

Eden's Richard Scarry rats are going to be Busy AF in here too, soon.

Anonymous said...

This seems odd that they'd just leave the store like that. Maybe there was a death in the family or something unexpected?

olympiasepiriot said...

This is weird.

Also, just last month, there was a day I got there before their normal closing time and they were shutting up because a family member was dying. There may be a whole lot of other things going on that have hit all at once.

I really think that someone should open the gate and check to make sure no one's corpse is in there.

Jose Garcia said...

It's shocking that we're all so quick to judge and blame the owner for wasting food when we have absolutely no idea what their situation was or is. Happy Christmas everyone. Xo

Anonymous said...

Even if a family member is sick or dying you can still take care of business or send someone to take care of it, so I too wonder why you would leave the store like that 3:01.

DrGecko said...

I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but if I wanted to hide a body or anything that I wouldn't want sniffed out, a rotting-cheese shop would be just the place.

Anonymous said...

There was a segment on NBC CHANNEL 4 6PM news about this.Unfortunately,nothing to report that is corsair here 🤥

Meriechen said...

Everybody is so worried about the food and rodents, what about the owners? Are they even still alive? Poor souls, something terrible must have happened to abandon your livelihood like this...

Scooby said...

Very true, José - thank you for saying this.

"Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men"....

Anonymous said...

All that cheese could have made a Very Merry Christmas
to some hungry rats.
No one thought of the rats ?

Right, foul play did cross the mind - but the utilities are off
and that is a conscious decision, unless they were on the
brink and they were just shut off.

If they knew they were doing an exit stage left,
they could have at least cleared out the cheese.

DrGecko said...

Foul play? Seriously? The cops would have searched the place, but nobody's been in there.

Walking away from a failing business is pretty common, and it usually involves owing some months' rent. If they did this (which, of course, we don't know), it wouldn't make sense for them to take the cheese. What would they do with it?

Anonymous said...

The landlord can enter the premises if a gas leak is suspected. #1 legal loophole!

Anonymous said...

I guess we are all lucky this happened in the winter months. With the cold the smell is less than if it were happening during a heat wave. Just hope the cold penetrates the refridgerators, but I doubt it.

JQ LLC said...

PIX just did a segment on this. The people interviewed were the atypical transients.

I think they abandoned this out of spite and protest against the exorbitant costs of running a small business in this town.

Anonymous said...

To DrGecko...

The foul play comment - was made in general reference to various earlier comments about foul play.
Just that it seemed unlikely, possible, but unlikely.

Well, being cheese needs refrigeration and if they knew the utilities would be shut off or planned to shut
them off, that would have been the time to donate somewhere, local shelters, church, etc, sell stock to other
places, etc. A little thought and plan would need to be involved here.
And if there was no place to unload the cheese, then at least pack it up and
put it out for garbage, or throw it out for the rats and make them happy.

Anonymous said...

> NBC 4, ABC 7 and PIX 11 all picked up the story

You mean you can smell the cheese all the way up to Midtown?

Anonymous said...

I don't care what's going on in their lives or if they had an issue with the landlord. This was a really shitty thing of the proprietors to do to their neighbors. If they couldn't get City Harvest or another charity to pick up the food (hell, their patrons likely would have pitched in and helped distribute it if they had asked, though the new owners were never friendly with patrons), they could have at least bagged it up and scheduled a pick up with their garbage disposal company.



Anonymous said...

Guess you need to pay the bills to have a disposal company. You, like all of us, have no idea what happened. So get off your self-righteous high horse and live your life through personal growth, not bitching about those going through shit...

Giovanni said...

Now that Papa Johns on 1st Avenue was closed down by the health department, where are we supposed to get our runny cheese 🧀 fix for Christmas?

Anonymous said...

One thing I do know, it was always a great place to get a deal on cheese and crackers and a lot of long time residents and seniors on limited income in the neighborhood frequented it. This used to be a flourishing and very friendly business that did well on Third Avenue for decades and was driven out of a good location by the high rents and speculator uber capitalists. East Village, looking more like suburbia be the minute.

julia knox said...

The cheese had been cleared out and any smell is gone, they may even be reopening soon, watch this space

Anonymous said...

Julia, thanks for the update and for the hopeful good news! it would be wonderful if cheese gods came to the rescue here -- evcheese has a religious following all over town, many would offer to help them come back. oh, and sorry you had to endure your stinky part of this ordeal.

Vadim Oganesyan said...

that would be awesome! thanks for the update, Julia. new owners?