Closings, part 1

There is something screwy about living in a city where shops and restaurants that are deeply loved, even worshipped, simply go out of business without warning.

These last months have seen the closing of so many places that I’ve thought of as personal mainstays, including The Complete Traveller Antiquarian Bookstore, Shakespeare Books on Broadway, restaurants including Gobo, Soy and Sake, Pure Food and Wine, the Barnes and Noble on 6th Ave and 8th St., even Blatt Billiards — which had been in continuous operation since 1923 — and the list seems to lengthen every day.

It’s hard to know the reasons for the spate of closings. Rents are always going up in NYC, but I suspect the increase may have to do with the influx of high income money from around the world into the city, leading to a more rapid than usual increase in rents.

As was pointed out last year in The New York Times, in any city where the highest residential apartment in the Western Hemisphere has just been sold (the Penthouse at 432 Park Ave, for $95 million), real estate pressure is going to eventually trickle down to the other 99%.

But maybe it doesn’t need to be this way. More tomorrow.

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