The Approximately 100 Ugliest Abandoned Storefronts in Greenwich Village - Travelerette
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The Approximately 100 Ugliest Abandoned Storefronts in Greenwich Village

In Which I Affirm That the Rent is Too Damn High

Over summer vacation I read Bleak House, and I was struck by Dickens’s message of how charity should begin at home. I struggled to think of a way that I could apply this message to my own life, as my home consists of me and my cat, and that freeloader gets enough charity out of me.

But then I started to think about my beloved neighborhood, Greenwich Village, and I remembered reading this sad article in The New Yorker about greedy landlords uglifying the neighborhood by refusing to rent out their buildings to anyone but a CVS or a Chase Bank who can afford to pay astronomically high rents.
I had gotten the general impression, while wandering around the Village, that there seemed to be an unseemly amount of hideous and depressing burned out storefronts where once there had been vintage clothing stores, Chinese restaurants that serve cold sesame noodles, and tea shops frequented by local drag queens. But was this just a vague impression, or could I back it up by careful research?
I decided to spend today roaming around the Village from Broadway to the east, Hudson to the west, Houston to the south, and 14th Street to the north. photographing all of the pathetically empty ghost buildings I could find. I was going to stop at 100, but at last count I had 103. 
Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the proof:
Approximately 100 Abandoned Buildings in Greenwich Village

I would just like to remind everyone that these ghost buildings on Broadway are historically and architecturally valuable and deserve better than this kind of treatment.

Just when you thought these pictures couldn’t get more depressing, along comes that mattress.

This used to be a Barnes and Noble’s, but it’s just been left empty like this for years and years.

This was a really tasty vegetarian restaurant, and I’m not even a vegetarian. Now it’s a place a middle-schooler might enter on a five dollar bet.

I literally have to walk past this every day.

This used to be Indian Taj, where you could get a yummy, cheap buffet lunch. Now it is nothing.

This used to be the legendary Cafe Figaro. Then it was a Qdoba. Now at least it has a blue ladder outside?

Once a Banana Republic, then an American Apparel, then a burned out shell with an American Apparel sign on it.

This was a great drugstore that got forced out because of the rent hikes. Oh well, there’s always CVS!

I used to get my freeloading cat pet food where that green wall is now.

Well, I guess they were asking for it, opening a Donut place next to a Starbucks…

I checked online, though there are still benches inside, Oliver’s City Tavern here is definitely closed for good.

If Lulu Guinness can’t make it on Bleecker St., all hope may be lost.

There! I hope that was enough to convince you that something must be done about this. Now it’s your turn, Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Gordon or whoever else is listening, to stop the evil Penguin Landlord from destroying Gotham City with his ludicrous rents. If I can take these 100 something pictures, I’m sure you can do something, no matter how small.

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Travelerette

Who is the Travelerette? I am a native New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or ride a bicycle. I speak French very well and Japanese very badly. In five years I have traveled in six continents, 26 countries, and 86 cities. My next travel goal is to visit all 50 states (and DC) in five years.

I am here to provide perfect travel itineraries with 24 hours, 3 fun facts, and 1,000,000 laughs! I hope that I can motivate you to get out there, see the world, learn something, and have a sense of humor about it all.
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13 thoughts on “The Approximately 100 Ugliest Abandoned Storefronts in Greenwich Village

    1. Jim Clark

      I feel semi disingenuous saying "thanks" for that since it is both sad and infuriating, but you know what I mean. In my last "showbiz alternative" job for N.Y.C.D.E.P., midnight to eight for twenty four years, I often thought if you lived in that are and were HONEST the most you could say was,"I live in what USED TO BE Greenwich Village."
      I have worked my butt off in many's a storefront theater and picked banjo on many's a tiny stage there. It all went south from the late eighties on.
      It would seem being a "liberal" means watching inevitable slides downward in many things while no "stops" are put on any of it. Well Trump will "rescue" us I'm SURE with his unerring logic and solid plans.
      Once again,thanx.

  1. Bob Cooley

    2 notes: did you get Avignon Pharmacy on here? They have be open since 1838, and recently were rented out of existence.

    Also, Indian Taj wasn't a matter of getting rented out of their space; they didn't have a sustainable business as of late. Failed health inspections, and their service went to hell in the last couple of years. They failed as a business.

    1. mskubelik@gmail.com Post author

      It's not Indian Taj getting rented out that bothers me so much as the fact that that store has been lying empty for so long that it has become an eyesore. I remember liking it when my friends and I would go for takeout, though.

      Avignone is very clever.

  2. Agent00Soul

    I walk to/from work in the West Village every day and was just commenting how the closed shops have really entered a critical mass that I notice them more than the places still open. But I think the landlords aren't going to get all they want this time for that exact reason: is Citibank or CVS or whatever really going to put their ATM's and drug stores in 103 buildings in a 10 block radius? Seems silly to do even for a rich company.

    In the meantime, I guess we can enjoy the silence and pretend we are living in a depopulated 1980s Alphabet City with less fire.

  3. All Mighty Paul

    My simple proposal: landlords may ask a tenant for a rent raise for however much money they believe they can get for the space. If they don't find a tenant to pay that disclosed amount within a few months of vacancy, there is a massive monthly fine given to that landlord. Something like 50% of the difference between what the previous tenant paid, and what they were offered for a renewal.

  4. Jonah Falcon

    "This was a great drugstore that got forced out because of the rent hikes. Oh well, there's always CVS!"

    Please note the establishment date: 1832. In London, it wouldn't even be in the top 10 oldest businesses still around. NYC will soon have no historical artifacts.

    Pittsburgh forces leaser owners to pay a huge fine every month a storefront remains empty.

  5. Annemarie Strehl

    Great post! It is really sad to see so much potential left in ruins and you are absplutely right, why have a rent that's too high if it makes you leave the usable space in shambles for years, decreasing its value in the long-run? Why not let someone in for less money on a shorter term and see what the future brings? Maybe support local startups or small companies? Greed will get you nowhere and these pictures are proof that it's ugly as well.

  6. Pingback: Business of the Month: The Silversmith, 184 3/4 West 4th Street

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