MIDTOWN — New York institution Carnegie Deli will shutter at the end of the year, ending a 79-year run as the city’s premier destination for pastrami sandwiches, officials confirmed Friday.
Owner Marian Harper announced the closure to the eatery's 25 early shift employees at 7 a.m. Friday, according to a spokeswoman for the deli, adding that the closing date will allow staff time to find work elsewhere as well as continue to collect tips through the busy holiday season. It will also keep the deli open through its 40th anniversary, when Harper's father bought the institution from its original owners.
“As you may know; the restaurant business is one of the hardest jobs in New York City. At this stage of my life, the early morning to late night days have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business in Manhattan," Harper said in a statement. "I’m very sad to close Carnegie Deli New York at 854 7th Avenue, but I’ve reached a time in my life when I need to take a step back.”
Officials said the deli's signature sandwiches and cheesecakes will still be on sale at sites including Madison Square Garden, the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, and other locations across the nation.
In addition, Carnegie Deli ships its famous cheesecakes to dessert lovers across the Continental U.S. Visit CarnegieDeli.com.
Porter Chris Walker, 36, told DNAinfo New York that the eatery called everyone in to hear the grim news.
“They just said they were gonna close Dec. 31," he said. "They didn’t give us a reason.”
The restaurant, also famous for its corned-beef sandwiches, first opened in 1937 and attracted crowds from all over the world.
“It’s sad. New York is losing a famous place,” said limousine driver Carlos Lozano, 47, of Flushing. “People I drive want to come here to visit. It’s famous all over.”
Joseph Lebzelter, 55, ate breakfast at the restaurant Friday morning and said he was crushed after hearing the news.
“It’s history. I lived here 30 years ago and would come here once a month,” said Lebzelter, who now lives in Israel. “It’s a landmark. This is terrible news.”
The closing was first reported by the New York Post.