New Yorkers are nothing if not fiercely loyal to their city.
This piece was difficult to write, not because there wasn’t enough material, but because there was too much.
Once you begin listing off the places that are now gone, it just doesn't stop.
Well, bravo-- you left me no choice but to compile this: 19 places (in no particular order) New Yorkers miss like crazy now that they're gone.
1. Yaffa Café
Easily the most mentioned place in the comments underneath the first part of the series, Yaffa Café closed down for good last year. It’s ending wasn’t without controversy.
The New York Department of Buildings shut it down, citing zoning violations and lack of proper fire exits. But why now, after letting Yaffa skate for 32 years? Because of neighbor complaints.
Speaking as a veteran of “The Industry,” I can assure you this happens all the time.
2. Religious Sex
It was not at all for the faint of heart, and it certainly wasn’t cheap, but Religious Sex was an East Village institution. If you were into goth, fetish wear, or just feeling a little risqué, this store had the wardrobe for you.
It was worth it to visit R.S. on the weekends before prom season just to see the lethally sexy staff politely walk the bridge and tunnel crowd through their dress selections.
3. Shakespeare and Co.
NYC just lost this mainstay last year. You saw it in When Harry Met Sally. This charming bookstore was eventually driven out of business by a combination of factors, not the least of which was the Barnes and Noble that set up right next to it.
This is coincidentally the plot of another Meg Ryan New York romance movie, You’ve Got Mail, except that in real life there was no happy ending.
The thing about one of the greatest hamburgers you’ve ever had in your life is you don’t know when you’re first going to taste it, but you’ll never forget where you got it. McHale’s used to make some awesome burgers.
McHale’s had amazing support when news leaked about its closing over 8 years ago, but it didn’t help. Even though the owner, Jimmy McHale, has said it would re-open somewhere else, the Hell’s Kitchen hub is gone forever. A condo tower stands there now.
5. The Love Stores (Always Love)
Their green signs used to dot New York City everywhere, providing New Yorkers’ every convenience requirements. Seinfeld even referenced them, they were so identified with Manhattan in the 90s.
Now? There’s one store left. Struggling to hang on in the Upper West Side.
Yet another Hell’s Kitchen casualty, O’Flaherty’s was still in a class all its own. In a rough and tumble neighborhood, it was an oasis of peace, even with its cheap beer. Somebody usually started playing music around 10pm no matter when you were there. It had an amazing array of taps, stout Irish fare, and was a place for camaraderie, not conflict.
7. Red Rock West Saloon
If you saw the movie Coyote Ugly then you’ve seen Red Rock West. Nowhere else in NYC was there such a shrine to America’s Trailer Park Culture, and this isn’t said as a slam. Some nights are made for The Devil Went Down to Georgia and watching people stomp-dance on the bar.
Red Rock West provided a visceral release that has rarely been equaled in New York or anywhere else.
If you didn’t want to read the same old same old, SoHoZat was where you went. Underground comics including R. Crumb and American Splendour, zines, and international periodicals were amongst the sundries available. They were priced out rent-wise and shuttered in 1992.
9. Kim’s Video & Music
There were a few outlets, but the one everyone thinks of is the store in St Mark’s Place that shut down in 2009. That hard to find movie, that obscure album you just couldn’t track down, could be found at Kim’s. In its heyday, it was a place to see and be seen in and of itself.
The club hosted legendary parties that not everyone knew about, and was a pioneer of what is now the Meatpacking District nightlife scene. Mother’s spirit lives on in the promotional group mothernyc. Just on the off-chance you want something different and dangerous in your nightlife.
On Hudson and 14th Street, back in the day, vampires would gather, along with goths, freaks, fetishwear fashionistas, and cyber-sluts. It was a grungy, dark, underground bar frequented by those considered weird by “normal” people. It featured live music, burlesque, magic and illusions, and it was always