Wednesday, May 6, 2015

[Updated] Cafe Pick Me Up expected to close for good after May 31

Staff has been telling patrons that Cafe Pick Me Up will close for good at the end of this month.

The 20-year-old cafe on Avenue A at East Ninth Street has been rumored to be closing now for months. However, in March, DNAinfo reported that the owners would vacate the corner space and move into its smaller storefront they use for a dining room next door. However, as we're told, that's no longer happening.

Cafe manager Rossella Palazzo told DNAinfo in March that a rent hike from landlord Icon Realty is the reason for the closure.

“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 is currently listing the storefront… asking $15,000 a month for the space, which includes 600 square feet on the ground floor and 724 square feet in the basement.

One tipster told us that the staff wanted to buy the space from the cafe's owners, though that never materialized.

Icon Realty bought the building at 145 Avenue A for $10.1 million in April 2014, according to public records.

Updated 9:23 p.m.

Earlier today, Gothamist heard from a Cafe Pick Me Up assistant manager that:

… the cafe will live on in some form down the street at Gnocco, an Italian eatery [on East 10th Street near Avenue B] owned by the same people. "We're moving June 3rd," Kristen told us. "We're still going to have our breakfast and some of our staff moved. They're usually just doing dinner, but now we're going to be serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, cocktails. We're going to expand a little as well."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rent hike forcing Cafe Pick Me Up into its smaller space next door on Avenue A (59 comments)


Gojira said...

"I don’t know who can afford that much rent" - can you say "bar owner", boys and girls? Sure you can!

Anonymous said...

I never went here as my wallet prefers cheap bodega 1$ coffee. But it was always a nice space to walk by and looked to have nice patrons.

Real estate agents whispering heaps of bs in their owner clients ears are ruining the market and the greedy owners are no better.

Anonymous said...

What the fuck is wrong with Icon?!???? It's like their business plan is to just shut down any beloved mark of East Village culture.

Anonymous said...

This is truly a sad turn of events. I am not surprised by this. The writing has been on the walls for some time. I've lived in the neighborhood for five years and pass this place on a daily basis. It is a beloved, well-known institution of sorts and will be sadly missed. Places like this are wonderful for writers like me who like to find unique places to work. Or for anyone creative or who tends to gravitate toward one of a kind cafes. I enjoy walking on the sidewalk and listening to others and watching them look at the park and people watch. This neighborhood is slowly becoming unrecognizable.

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear this. It was a nice, quiet, relaxing space to hang out and chat with friends and neighbors. I watched down this strip of Avenue A yesterday, passing by that loud tacos place on the corner a few blocks down and then that loud Yuca Bar on the corner of East 7th Street. You can't hear yourself think with the music blasting out of these places. I feel for the neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Wow, more horrible news.

Giovanni said...

This is sad, I spent many memorable sunny afternoons and rainy late nights here, but nothing comes between these developers and their bottomles pit of greed.

Grieve, since almost every time Icon, Shaoul or Croman buys a building they kick out the current retail tenants, maybe we need a tag or a list for businesses that have a developer's axe hanging over ther heads. Sometimes its too late to make a final visit since these places can get closed down in the middle of the night.

Bastile Day cannot come soon enough. Bring out the guillotines! #SaveNYC

Anonymous said...

- First NYC cafe I ever hung out in. That day I was terrified of leaving my stuff on the outside table when I went to get sugar, wondering if my things would be stolen

- Indeed, "Picked Up" a girlfriend here one day and we dated for 3 years

- One day walked into the "buzz the door" bathroom to encounter a sitting gorgeous girl with her panties down around her ankles. She blushed profusely.

- Read the Sunday paper there too many times to count.

- Sneezed my butt off in April/May when the pollen from the trees in the park would blow into the cafe

Anonymous said...

I'm signing on to Giovanni's post at 12:08.


Anonymous said...

Kick icon to the curb. They still riding on whats left of Bloombergs shredding coattails . Hope DeBlasio will do away with the practices that allowed Icon to steamroll its way into our beloved neighborhoods. Do away with vacancy decontrol. Protect rent stabilization...severe punishments for harassment. know your rights.

Anonymous said...

I spend hours here almost every weekend (even though the polite waitstaff is super slow). So Sad. I hope ICON goes bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

So sad--now it will be a 7/11 or some equally soulless black hole. I brought my first-time-to-NY French relatives here and I remember them looking around with joy and sighing, "this is SO how we imagined New York to be" (in French of course). Well, at some point, the tourists will stop coming, plus no one wants to live above a bar or 7/11, and then the landlords will be goddamn sorry. Or so I fantasize. Fuck you Icon. May you spend eternity trapped in the farthest corner of a Walmart in the farthest corner of a suburban mall.

Anonymous said...

Anyone happen to wonder out last night? OMG Cinco De Mayo. Esperanto and Yucca Bar. Idiots all over the sidewalk. I could hear them from 14th St.
I guess it's gonna be another one like this or a chain at the Icon space. They should mix it up a bit, do something different say Mrs. Fields Cookies or Wendy's.

Marty E. said...

I've been in NYC for 15 years, and have had many cups of joe here. It's sad to see the mainstay go the way of too many others.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the space sit vacant for at least a year - again - like so many others.

The apocalypse continues.

Anonymous said...

Since my fiance is from Italy I took him to this place four years ago. He became friends with Rozella.. we are devastated by this, but we knew a while ago. When we saw her in January (before I knew) she looked sad but didn't say anything. She did however, mention that the building behind Pick Me Up had been sold and that retailers were being kicked out. I have heard that the landlords simply refuse to cash the checks. Her family worked so hard to have the three restaurants they had here and I know she fought them legally as hard as she could..

Anonymous said...

It's actually $15,000 a month for just the small corner space which doesn't have the kitchen. The smaller connected northern space has the kitchen and a different landlord and is an additional $6700 a month. So that would mean that a small cafe would have to pay almost $22,000 month to stay on that corner.

Anonymous said...

This is quite sad. I am growing tired of these greedy landlords who are not only unrealistic, but who are unspoken bullies, pushing people out, and perpetuating inhabitable living and work spaces because the cost is out of reach. This is a loss for our community. :(

Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING you can legally sell in a 600 square foot space to justify a $15K monthly rent. Their rationale is likely that its on a corner right across from a busy park, etc. I run an 1800 sq ft space (+ storage basement) that is a bar without a kitchen. Our rent, on a lease signed only a couple years ago, is less than this. Not by much, but this space is 33% of ours.
Stop The Insanity! #saveNYC

Zoltar told me... said...

Despite the for-lease ad, it wouldn't suprise me (or anyone) if the actual goal here was to empty the building of tenants and demolish it, in order to build a glass luxury box right across from the park. Sorry for the nightmarish scenario! But the building had a major fire about 10 years ago and wasn't in very good condition even prior to that.