Wednesday, January 2, 2013

SHOP: Lenox Lounge Sign Taken Down


The lease for Lenox Lounge was up at the end of December and a Bespoke reader mentioned that the signs were removed from the legendary establishment by New Year's Day.  We walked by this morning and discovered that most of the original Lenox Lounge facade has indeed been taken down.  Rumors had it that the previous owner would vacate the spot just below 125th Street and remove some of the physical elements of the famous jazz lounge in the process. This now appears to be the case and we can only assume that much of the interior has been gutted also.  It has also been reported that the new owner will keep the look of the lounge but will eventually change the name of the establishment that has been around for over seven decades: LINK

28 comments:

  1. I saw the fire dept there the other day and was a bit concerned that the owner was torching the place... Glad it wasn't the case.

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  2. A bad day for Harlem’s history.

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  3. I was trying to give Reed the benefit of the doubt up until I saw this. Now I can see that he clearly cares more about getting back at Notar than he does about preserving an important piece of Harlem history. This place should have been landmarked inside and out. Very sad indeed.

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  4. All part of the natural change of business in NY. Remember the Village Gate? Savoy? Minton's?

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  5. Another legacy and piece of African/black American history lost and gone forever. What a shame. We should b crying tears now. Smh.

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  6. @ Anonymous: I do remember The Village Gate. Fondly. I don't see anything good about its having been replaced by a CVS Drug store. Nothing against CVS, but the Village Gate was worth preserving.

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  7. What an utter waste - not only from the historical perspective but also from a marketing standpoint. A genuine brand name (the awareness, the memories, the future promise of "a Lenox Lounge" experience) is always worth more than a new name - no matter how much a new place tries to borrow equity from an old location. A straight sale of a brand name happens all the time in marketing, it doesn't require a partnership or ongoing relationship. Guess both the past and present owners are too stubborn to put the egos aside and simply make a financial deal that works for both sides.

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  8. Sale of brand name sounds like a holdup to me. Don't blame the new estishment because the building's owner raised the rent. Maybe if everyone complaining about the lost legacy actually visited the place they would have had the money to invest in upgrades and afford a new lease.

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  9. I'm complaining and visited the place all the time.

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  10. I visited and that was part of the problem. It was poorly run. Anyway, does this mean that the Corner Social can now become the Lenox Social?

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  11. Another example of the owner of Lenox Lounge having no business sense whatsoever. The new owner can recreate the former facade, and make it in better materials, insulate it from interior sound and exterior elements. Even update it for cheaper that it would have cost to restore it. The previous owner will end up spending thousands of dollars in storage fees for something that has very limited value. Hopefully that will be the last of his sour grapes we will hear.

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  12. .........The question is...... will they rename it Notar Jazz Club (previously reported) Or Lenox Lounge? I am looking forward to a renovated space, hopefully replicating or incorporating the original architectural elements. ***fingers crossed***

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  13. Also I hope they have a creative food option. Several friends I have talked to cannot wait to check it out!

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  14. I would pay a few grand for the stuff they pulled off of the building. I am a huge fan and would give it a good home. Harlemre121@gmail.com if you are the owner of it...

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  15. An awful ending to a truly iconic Harlem Jazz spot, Mr. Reed kept it going for decades only to vandalize it in an act of spite towards the new owner Mr. Notar. Unfortunately Mr. Reeds act of spite also hurts Harlem and Jazz lovers alike. My hope is Mr. Reed and Mr. Notar come to an agreement and recreate this signature façade that is so much a piece of Harlem and American Jazz history.

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  16. I think Mr. Notar is to blame if it is true he didn't even reach out to Mr. Reed. What a shame ...

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    1. I think whoever is to blame is whoever vandalized the faced. It is one thing to have a disagreement, it is another to destroy a piece of history, shame on Mr. Reed.

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  17. I just hope the new place has a more melodious name than Notar Jazz Club?

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  18. I just hope the new place has a more melodious name than Notar Jazz Club?

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  19. It's unclear if this is the final resolution. You can take these pieces off the facade, clean/restore them, and put them back on (anybody who has done a brownstone renovation knows this is how many things are restored). May Mr. Reed is playing hardball, and, if so, good for him. Respect.

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  20. Why do people think Mr Reed is owed anything by the new person leasing the space? This is crazy talk...

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  21. Mr. Reed isn't owed anything, but neither is Mr. Notar. Mr. Reed may not own a trademark on the name or the property but likely he owns the physical decor. This is truly not a zero sum game. The name Lenox Lounge and certain elements of the original decor have some value - we can debate what the number is, but not whether there is value. It is not the first time in the history of NYC that a famous restauranteur has taken an old restaurant/bar, and updated it and made it hot. Minetta is an example. And Keith McNally had to buy the name and the decor (pictures, bar, etc) from the old owner, and then he preserved most of it while renovating other parts of it. I can understand Mr. Notar walking away if Mr. Reed wanted too much for the name/decor, or even if he wanted to be a partner, but it strikes me as bad business - and terrible PR - not to even try to strike a deal. None of us really know the back story, so we don't know who is at fault. My guess is both of them are.

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  22. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/bop-stop-iconic-lenox-lounge-settle-blocks-north-article-1.1232486

    And the plot thickens ...

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  23. Wow, hope Mr. Reed can pull this off, upper Lenox will get very interesting.

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  24. History continues to repeat itself and I am so glad that the owner decided to take his soul with him. Why lay down and let someone benefit from your sweat and tears? Some of the comments above are so stupid and it is clear what type of people wrote them. The same people that are doing the same thing all over this country which really makes me sick. The history and the memories are still intact. It is time for us to wake up, smell the coffee and do a much better job than what we have been doing. That the owner did not own the building after being in business since 1939 is definitely sad but you would think that if the city cared they would assist small businesses owners like him so that they could purchase properties...oh but that is not realistic in a capitalistic society.

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    1. It is all well and good for you to call wake up but let me ask you this, do you shop in the neighbourhood for all your needs? Does the neighbourhood do a good job of making their establishments inviting? Why would a lender loan money to an institution with no plan?

      You say that "We" need to do better re saving "our" institutions. Here is the question:

      Do the people in the neighbourhood care about their institutions?

      Why lay down and let someone benefit from your sweat and tears?
      Sorry but everyone does this every time they buy a product; you work hard and then buy things so other people are benefiting from your blood sweat and tears. No offense but simplistic thinking is not the answer.

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  25. The saddest sight so far this new year. A shame to all involved in this ridiculous and ugly money-go-round. And the rest of us in this city now end up the losers, as usual.

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