Volume 21, Number 16 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Aug. 29 - Sept. 4, 2008
By Patrick Hedlund
Former Soho standby Jerry’s, once a brunch-time must for the hip Downtown set, will live again when an offshoot of the original restaurant opens next month in Tribeca.
Jerry Joseph’s former Prince St. restaurant closed last summer after two decades in the neighborhood, with the owner subsequently opening a fast-food Asian cuisine eatery on Chambers St. this spring. But the new venture only lasted a few months, and recently a red banner similar to the one that hung outside 101 Prince St. went up at the space between Church St. and Broadway.
With interest piqued among Jerry’s longtime devotees, Joseph delivered the much-anticipated confirmation to our inbox: “My partners and I will open a Jerry’s Cafe in the early part of September,” he said, anticipating an opening date the week of Sept. 8. “I am still interviewing for a chef, and the construction is near completion.”
Joseph added that 80 percent of the space will be made up booths and banquettes.
“We will strive to re-create the casual atmosphere that our guests were accustomed to and create a menu that is current yet reminiscent of the old Jerry’s,” he said.
Commercial leasing activity Downtown proved sluggish through July, suggesting a summer slowdown that lagged almost a third behind its monthly average.
After a strong June that saw 1.07 million square feet of signings, activity tapered off to just 320,000 square feet in July, with the Financial District accounting for 260,000 of that share, according to a monthly report from CB Richard Ellis.
The Downtown study area — made up of the Financial District, City Hall and World Financial Center — fell 29 percent below its five-year monthly average in July. The bulk of that activity occurred with companies already located Downtown taking additional space, including Cleary Gottlieb’s 89,028-square-foot expansion at 1 Liberty Plaza and Cozen and O’Connor’s 50,107-square-foot renewal/expansion at 45 Broadway.
The World Financial Center had no leasing activity for the month.
Signings in the Midtown South study area — which includes the Noho/Soho and Hudson Square/Tribeca submarkets — was down 31 percent from its five-year monthly average of 320,000 square feet. Growth only showed in Noho/Soho, with the more than 50,000 square feet of activity in the Hudson Square/Tribeca submarket falling slightly below its average.
Downtown’s availability inched up by 0.3 percent, to 9.4, and the overall activity year to date sat at 2.22 million square feet — trailing the year-prior’s 2.54 million square feet by 13 percent.
As is just about every office workingman’s and -woman’s custom, Mixed Use loves trolling the blogs for the best bits of New York news that either slip through the cracks or are skipped over by the mainstream press. Two of our newest online favorites — EV Grieve and Bowery Boogie — regularly offer insightful takes on the city’s changing Downtown landscape from the view of neighborhood watchdog.
The mournfully named EV Grieve, originally incarnated late last year as a tribute to the then-thought-to-be shuttering dive bar Sophie’s, has grown into a go-to source for daily tidbits from the East Village and Lower East Side. Featuring everything from original photos of street exotica and classic concert videos to reports culled from other media, the site offers a balanced and relatively opinion-free — for a blog, anyway — analysis of an area overwhelmed by real estate interests.
For instance, Grieve recently revisited the now-closed Fontana’s Shoe Repair on E. 10th St., noting a of lack activity at the former longtime cobbler’s space.
“I didn’t spot any workers or construction permits when I walked by,” the post reads. “And there will be no sarcastic asides about bank branches, yogurt shops or Duane Reades.”
The more nascent Bowery Boogie similarly chronicles the evolving face of Downtown with original posts and roundups of major news, but with a specific focus on the Lower East Side and Bowery. The plainspoken site covers nuts-and-bolts news, but also has fun with the L.E.S.’s street theater, as explained in an item earlier this month profiling a typical morning at Sara D. Roosevelt Park:
“Stay long enough and you will eventually encounter a haphazard collection of sleeping bench beggars, laborers eating breakfast (and peeing in the bushes) and self-absorbed pedestrian commuters. Stay even longer, and you will witness a trio of sword-wielding Chinese men in the sunken court on Broome Street, between Forsyth and Chrystie.”
For full disclosure, both sites often reference this newspaper — which only goes to prove how in the know they truly are.