Gee whiz. It wasn’t a year ago when I mentioned here and here a fabulous local friendly arty coffee hang-out Ten63. And now it’s closing. And there’s even an article in today’s Times about it.
What pisses me off is that they’re not closing for want of business. The place is a local hub. Instead, they’re closing because their building wants to expand and put in more residential space. And they haven’t yet found a local space to move the shop to that’s affordable.
My vision of the gentrification of my beloved neighborhood has been wrought with impending doom, in the form of high-rises crowding out the river access and local skyscape, in the ever-increasing popularity of the place which will eventually mean my rent goes even higher and I am out of here.
But since more rich and trendy people means more business, especially for amazing businesses, I never thought Ten63 would go away. But then I am not much of an economist.
The Times story notes:
The triangular three-story building that houses the cafe, and that once housed municipal offices for the borough, has been bought by developers who want to make it taller and convert it to residences.
For many in the neighborhood, such a change would be a great loss. With its high ceiling, concrete floors and staggeringly large windows, Ten63 has served as the central gathering place for the neighborhood’s growing crop of young professionals and families for nearly three years. They love its high-backed metal benches and hearty scones and its ample supply of glossy magazines. News of the cafe’s departure, which is scheduled for Saturday, has infuriated residents who believe that developers are rushing to build in a neighborhood before it acquires the grocery stores, schools, hospitals and other amenities it will need to support a growing population.
And later, it says,
On most days, Ms. [i.e. owner Talitha] Whidbee can be found seated behind the counter of Vine Wine, her new store farther up Jackson Avenue, where she sells inexpensive wine from small vintners. But the closing of Ten63 dismays her. “It’s been the community center in a lot of ways,” Ms. Whidbee said. “We have people who have met their neighbors from across the hall in the cafe.”
Before Ten63 arrived, there were few places in the neighborhood simply to hang out. When the cafe opened, neighbors at first couldn’t believe it was real, Ms. Whidbee said. Some thought it was a set for the now-defunct television drama “Third Watch,” which was often filmed in the area.
There comes a point when we will have crammed an awful lot of yuppies into an awful lot of new luxury condos. They’ll pay slightly less than they’d pay across the East River in Manhattan, but a lot more than people in older, local, less luxury digs. But they won’t have a school large enough to fit their kids, or a grocery store (yes, people, as opposed to an overpriced deli) that sells intact, non-rotting vegetables and fruits. Do you hear me, oh proprietors of the C-Town on 21st Street?
LIC, next Saturday, loses just a bit of its soul. Let’s hope it’s just temporary.