This was my father’s favorite midtown delicatessen. And now, the Stage Deli has closed. According to the New York Times:
Paul Zolenge, who owned the Stage Deli with Steve Auerbach, said the closing was “devastating, the end of an era, something I never thought would happen.”
Mr. Zolenge, who became a co-owner in 1986, blamed the sagging economy, a spiraling rent and a forthcoming rent increase expected when his lease at 834 Seventh Avenue ends in a few months. “It’s not a great season for Broadway, either,” he said.
“After the shows would break, we would see a lot of Playbills walking in,” he said of his post-theater customers. “And that, well — it had declined.”
In the full-fat firmament of Midtown, revered old-timers have been keeling over one by one. Two blocks to the south on 52nd Street, Gallagher’s, the 85-year-old steakhouse, a Runyonesque shrine to show business pillars and prizefighters, filed a closing notice in October pending purchase by the restaurateur Dean Poll. In June, the 30-year-old steakhouse Ben Benson’s, also on 52nd Street, shuttered when its landlord would not renew the lease. And in November, Sarge’s Delicatessen on Third Avenue near East 37th Street was ravaged by a blaze battled by 150 firefighters.
The news about the Stage Deli brought agita to its peers. “We’re sorry to hear they closed — all of us are definitely becoming dinosaurs,” said Conrad Strohl, owner of the Edison Cafe, in the Edison Hotel on West 47th Street — nicknamed the “Polish Tearoom” by its habitués. “Theater prices are getting higher, and for many, eating out is a luxury, even though we’re reasonably priced,” Mr. Strohl said. “We’re getting nervous.”
Oy and Veh.
[Featured Image Via The Jewish Daily Forward]