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MAP: 7 Classic Village Businesses That Closed in the Past Year

By Danielle Tcholakian | January 26, 2015 8:40am | Updated on January 28, 2015 3:04pm
 The Village lost several longtime businesses last year.
Village Businesses That Shuttered in 2014
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — Just a few weeks into 2015, Greenwich Villagers are already mourning another longtime business. 

Avignone Chemists, a pharmacy that has anchored the corner of Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street since 1929, is shutting down after a new landlord tripled the rent.

Word of Avignone's upcoming closure was just the latest small business closure for the Village, capping a year in which a Starbucks opened where Bleecker Street Records used to be and rising rents forced drag bar Boots & Saddle off Christopher Street after 40 years.

Boots & Saddle spent months searching for a new home and will move into the old Actors Playhouse at 100 Seventh Ave. South this year. But several other businesses weren't so lucky.

Here are some of the Village favorites that shuttered in the past year:

1. Gray's Papaya

402 Sixth Ave.

Closed: January 2014

Eater broke the news of Gray's Papaya's closure with photos of construction workers taking down the Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue hot dog stand's well-known sign. The chain was founded in 1973 by a "renegade" from the Papaya King chain, according to New York food critic Robert Sietsema, and this location was one of the first. One Eater reader said he had patronized this Gray's outpost for more than 25 years.

Gray's Papaya owner Nicholas Gray told the Village Voice his landlord tried to raise the rent for the corner storefront from $30,000 to $50,000. A Liquiteria opened in its place almost a year to the day after the hot dog stand closed.

2. Milady's

160 Prince St.

Closed: January 2014

Milady's was a SoHo institution for decades. The bar was around for so long that when it closed, it seemed no one knew exactly how long. Zagat said 81 years, noted the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, but other reports placed its inception in the 1940s. Regardless, when news of Milady's impending closure initially spread on Twitter, regulars turned out in droves for one last drink. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York wrote about the history of the bar, with pictures from its last night.

3. Stromboli

112 University Place

Closed: March 2014

Stromboli "made and sold perfectly solid, dependable pizza" on University Place for nearly half a century, a local blogger noted in mourning the spot. After 47 years in the Village, it fell prey to a controversial 23-story development.

4. Bowlmor Lanes

110 University Place

Closed: July 2014

The city's longest-running bowling alley, Bowlmor Lanes, shuttered last July after 76 years on University Place. According to its website, it was the oldest bowling alley in the Northeast. It is being demolished this year to make way for the same development that forced Stromboli to close.

5. Shakespeare & Co.

716 Broadway

Closed: September 2014

Shakespeare & Co.'s Broadway location, which opened in 1987, closed so abruptly last year that on its last day, NYU students returning from summer break reportedly filled the store, "walking around in a daze, muttering, 'This sucks.'" In its final hour, the store sold off everything, from books marked down to half their price to tables and chairs — and even the neon Shakespeare sign in the window.

The store closed because of a rent hike, according to Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, and has been replaced by a Foot Locker — the second in a few-block radius.

6. HUB Bicycles

139 Charles St.

Closed: December 2014

After nearly a decade on Charles Street, HUB Bicycles shuttered in December. The bike shop's owner, George Bliss, said Citi Bike is to blame for cutting into his business. Bliss, famous for launching pedicabs in New York City and coining the cycling term "critical mass" in a documentary, said his profits dropped 25 percent in 2013, when Citi Bike launched.

7. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

163 W. 10th St. (Moving to 28 E. Second St.)

Closed: January 2015

Bonnie Slotnick sold used and first edition cookbooks out of a tiny store in a brownstone on West 10th Street for 15 years, until her landlord refused to renew her lease last year. The West Village lost one of its independent bookstores, but Slotnick survived: A pair of siblings offered her retail space in their childhood home in the East Village, in honor of their mother, Eden Ross Lipson, who reviewed books for the New York Times Book Review for 30 years and had an extensive cookbook collection. Slotnick plans to open in the new space next month.

► RELATED MAP: Where to Find NYC's Remaining Independent Bookstores

Did we miss a favorite spot that you're mourning? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.