Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The remains of the Gem Spa can now be found in homes (and a barn) across the U.S.

Gem Spa closed just a little more than a year ago on the corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place. 

Parul Patel, who had been running the store that her father Ray owned since 1986, made a gallant effort to save the iconic corner shop that dates to the 1920s. However, whatever financial progress she was able to make was not enough to overcome a global pandemic. 

Late last year, Patel auctioned off the Gem Spa's sign, rolldown gate and other miscellanea.

At The New Yorker this week, Michael Schulman tracked down the owners of these Gem Spa relics.
Jason Sheehy nabbed one of the big yellow storefront signs (seventy-five hundred dollars), plus a milkshake machine (three-fifty). Sheehy lives on a grain farm in Ohio, but "the East Village has always just been my jive," he said. Both items will live in his nineteenth-century farmhouse, part of which he has turned into an Irish pub, furnished with a bar and stools from O’Lunney's Times Square Pub, another pandemic casualty.

Diana Goldfeder Stewart, a graphic artist in San Francisco, bought an egg-cream sign for her kitchen (three thousand dollars). Her family operated the store from the twenties through the fifties, when it was called Goldfeder's. She grew up hearing stories about her great-grandfather Nathan's chocolate-sauce recipe. ("He served what was called Goldfeder's Famous Egg Cream.") Like a lot of Gem Spa fans, she was anxious about what will replace it. "That corner — it's a magical corner for so many people," she said. "It can't be just nothing there."
As this photo from yesterday shows, nothing is here for now. The storefront is on the rental market.
Top photo from April 2019 by Stacie Joy

10 comments:

  1. Still breaks my heart when I walk past.😢

    ReplyDelete
  2. “Wouldn’t it be great if we just closed it down and no one made any money?” - NY Land Owners

    ReplyDelete
  3. Instead of having an iconic place there, we see another landlord who forced a business out. Now the landlord has an empty space - and what does the landlord have to show for it? NOTHING!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The landlord still has the property and that ain't nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only thing constant in NYC is change. It is was what it is. And though not one of Andy Warhol's famous quotes, but it should be, "Death means money."

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a pretty small space so it will be interesting to see what kind of business rents it. Maybe it opens up in the back? I would love to see another corner store in the space.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just so hard to run a small independent storefront in NYC. Gem Spa used to have a lot of magazines and newspaper sales before the internet killed print sales. Cigarette sales probably were hit in the last 20 years too with Bloomberg antismoking laws.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The sick thing is that the landlord can write off "loss of income" from the GEM SPA space THEY caused to become vacant!

    Potential tenants should be alerted that they will be BOYCOTTED if they take that space.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anyone know where Jason Sheehy's Irish pub is in Ohio? Love to go see the old yellow GEM SPA signs there!

    ReplyDelete
  10. one more smoke/vape shop, selling hats and sunnies on the side, sigh.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated by the publisher, EV Grieve. Your remarks and lively debates are welcome, whether supportive or critical of the views herein.

However, commentary that is intended to "flame" or attack, that contains violence, racist comments, potential libel and the like will not be published. Don't make generalizations, and back up statements with facts. Misinformation and disinformation are not welcome.

If you'd like to make personal attacks and libelous claims against people and businesses, then you may do so on your own social media accounts. Also, comments predicting when a new business will close ("I give it six weeks") will not be approved.

This is an individually run blog, not a democratic nation nor a wide-open public forum. Comment publication is entirely subject to the owner's discretion.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, scaremongering comments, public shaming and other fake facts and misguided predictions will not be approved.