Volume 17 • Issue 5 | June 25 - July 1, 2004

El Teddy demolition to resume in August

By Albert Amateau

The 2,500-pound replica of the Statue of Liberty’s crown is gone and so is the stained glass canopy from the small building where El Teddy’s potent margaritas and Mexican fare had been a magnet for Tribeca neighbors and visitors for 15 years.

Demolition of what is left of the two-story structure at 219 W. Broadway is expected to begin in August with construction to follow on a six-story residential condo with ground floor commercial space, according to Raphael Salim of Epic, L.L.C., owner of the property.

The new building, designed to fit in with the 19th century look of the surrounding Tribeca East Historic District by the architect Richard Cooke, received Landmarks Preservation Commission approval in October, 2001. But Steven Elghanayan, principal of Epic, deferred redevelopment until this year because of economic uncertainty that followed the World Trade Center attack 10 blocks from the site. Salim, an associate at Epic, said the plan for the new building is essentially the same as approved in 2001.

The Liberty crown, erected by the artist Antonio Miranda in 1985 when he established the tapas bar, El International, to take the place of Teddy’s Steak House, came down in May.

“One of his [Miranda’s] people took a piece of it away a month ago for a souvenir,” Salim said.

The Art Nouveau steel and stained glass canopy over the entrance, erected in 1992 by Christopher Chesnut, who opened El Teddy’s in 1988, has been discarded. Although various people were asking about the canopy since the beginning of the year, no one was interested by the time the building was stripped down last month, Salim said.

The quirky front of the two-story building near Franklin St. appeared for nearly a decade on the opening credits of “Saturday Night Live.” The two adjacent structures that became Teddy’s Steak house were built in 1915. Elghanayan bought the building in 2000 from the previous owner, Salvatore Cucinatta, for about $3 million. Even after the 2001 approval of the replacement six-story residential building, Chesnut signed a new 10-year lease on the property. However, he closed El Teddy’s in January because business had declined and never recovered.


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