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Old May 12, 2006, 11:00 AM   #1
HMVNipper
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Default Cafe LaFortuna To Close in Four Years

This article appeared in one of our local free morning papers, METRO, the other day. Unfortunately, the news is not good -- Cafe LaFortuna is indeed going to close in four years when the lease is up....unless there's some kind of neighborhood protest.

Sigh...

http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/artic..._two/2478.html

Table for two

The ballad of John and Yoko’s coffee house


by amy zimmer / metro new york

MAY 10, 2006

UPPER WEST SIDE

It was an act of desperation in response to bad news.

Michael Trapani learned that his new landlord wanted to more than double the rent for his Cafe La Fortuna when its lease expires in four years. He “just got a feeling, knowing that my days here were numbered” and decided to sell on eBay his restuarant’s prized possession — the table where John Lennon and Yoko Ono used to sit — since he felt he would no longer need it. Bidding started at $50,000.

That drew fire from John and Yoko fans around the world.

“We got a number of e-mails that expressed displeasure with the sale,” Trapani said. “They wanted it to go to Yoko because of the sentimentality attached to it. So, I hand-delivered a letter to the Dakota four days ago.”

In the letter, Trapani offered the table as “a spiritual gift.”

“I want nothing from you except a [good] feeling in my soul,” Trapani wrote.

The table — featured on the cover of Lennon’s “Nobody Told Me” album — is displayed in the window of the eatery, a haunt for the post-theater crowd and regulars who take in cappucinos and classical music.

“I just sit for hours and people watch and everyone lets me be,” said Macall Newman, 19, a Fordham University student who prefers to study there instead of with “the stressed-out kids” in her library.

Trapani has no intention of leaving quietly: He declined the landlord’s buyout offer.

“Real estate is exploding around here, and it seems like there’s no end to the boom,” Trapani said. “I understand the landlord. He just bought four buildings and has a huge mortgage, so he’s looking to get out old tenants and renonvate. Places like Starbucks can pay astronomical rents, and the small places that have an aura are being eliminated. This is what it is.”
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Old May 12, 2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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I heard about that cafe once. I feel so sorry for the owners of the cafe.
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Old May 12, 2006, 11:38 AM   #3
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Yeah that totally BLOWS!!!!

I read that also in the Metro paper. The guy was actually going to try to sell the table on ebay till there was a big protest.

It is a sad day. These landlords are so greedy with rents.

I have been there many many times, and always enjoyed it.

It's not like they can put a starbucks there it is too small, little mom and pop place.

The cakes are great and even though I am a starbucks drinker, their coffee was wonderful.
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Old May 12, 2006, 11:46 AM   #4
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whats the cafe like. I want to see it sometime when I go to NYC.
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Old May 12, 2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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The cafe has a website with pictures and a history of the cafe - http://www.cafelafortuna.net/

It's really nice, has a lot of character, lots of pics of old opera stars on the walls, old records, usually has classical music playing. They have exposed brick walls and an original tin ceiling. It's supposedly the oldest cafe on the Upper West Side.

There's a really nice garden in the back during warm weather, and they have nice sandwiches and salads, beautiful homemade cakes and cookies, awesome cappucino and espresso, and a truly sinful summer drink of an iced cappucino float with homemade chocolate Italian ices that is one of my favorite things to have there! My seven year old son loves the place, and my in-laws like to go there after the theatre or the opera.

I go there regularly and know all the waitresses and the owner. I am crushed that this charming place will be driven out of business by greed, to be replaced by yet another soulless Starbuck's. (It's not really too small for a Starbuck's, there are some pretty small ones I've seen in town -- but it's down a short flight of stairs and not on the main drag (it's on 71st Street right off Columbus Avenue, not on the Avenue itself) so it's not the kind of location they would choose -- in addition to being about a block from a Starbuck's anyway.

It just makes me sick that businesses like this one are being pushed out. I swear, I'm sick of living in "Generica!"
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"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin

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Old May 12, 2006, 02:49 PM   #6
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Thanks HMVNipper for helping me. Should I go here or to vegas when I am 21. I just went to vegas on April 30 of this year.
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Old May 12, 2006, 09:00 PM   #7
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Nipper, is that the one you showed me? With these amazing cookies?
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Old May 13, 2006, 06:45 AM   #8
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Yes, that's the one. I'm only sorry it was raining so hard the day we went there, Rob, because you didn't get to see the garden in the back. Maybe you'll get back to NYC before the place closes.

BF4L, I think you'd have a great time in New York if you visited, but then again I am biased! Only you can decide if you'd rather come here or go to Las Vegas, but I'd try and sway you in the direction of NYC.
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"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old May 13, 2006, 06:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMVNipper
Yes, that's the one. I'm only sorry it was raining so hard the day we went there, Rob, because you didn't get to see the garden in the back. Maybe you'll get back to NYC before the place closes.

BF4L, I think you'd have a great time in New York if you visited, but then again I am biased! Only you can decide if you'd rather come here or go to Las Vegas, but I'd try and sway you in the direction of NYC.
I will go to vegas again in december for a christmas vacation. I have never been to NYC. I would be excitied to go. There's just one more thing. I am afraid to fly. Maybe by then I can get my fear of flying conquered. Thanks so much
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Old May 13, 2006, 06:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMVNipper
Yes, that's the one. I'm only sorry it was raining so hard the day we went there, Rob, because you didn't get to see the garden in the back. Maybe you'll get back to NYC before the place closes.

BF4L, I think you'd have a great time in New York if you visited, but then again I am biased! Only you can decide if you'd rather come here or go to Las Vegas, but I'd try and sway you in the direction of NYC.
They had great cookies..

Oh it would be LA and not LV
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Old May 19, 2006, 05:56 AM   #11
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Oh yeah! That's exactly what that area needs is another Starbucks!!
I'm sorry to hear it's going to close. It's such a nice little place. The food is very good, too. We had some nice lunches there with you, Susan. We'll make it there again. At least a couple more times, I reckon, before it's gone.
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Old May 19, 2006, 01:52 PM   #12
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I remember when I went to Cafe LaFortuna during the summer of 2004. I had the "mighty mousse" dessert. Man, was that good! :) Nice and chocolately. Such a shame to hear about this. It was a really nice place. I even bought a T-shirt from there.
-Kristi
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Old May 31, 2006, 12:07 PM   #13
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This is really sad. I was there in the summer of 2001 and I think I had an italian ice every single day I was there...delicious! And I know what you mean, Susan, about "Generica"...the US really lacks individual shops and restaurants, too much big business. If you think it's bad in NY, consider how I feel living in small-town Ohio. Love the area, but good grief, there's a Walmart every 30 feet.
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Old May 31, 2006, 11:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMVNipper
The cafe has a website with pictures and a history of the cafe - http://www.cafelafortuna.net/

It's really nice, has a lot of character, lots of pics of old opera stars on the walls, old records, usually has classical music playing. They have exposed brick walls and an original tin ceiling. It's supposedly the oldest cafe on the Upper West Side.

There's a really nice garden in the back during warm weather, and they have nice sandwiches and salads, beautiful homemade cakes and cookies, awesome cappucino and espresso, and a truly sinful summer drink of an iced cappucino float with homemade chocolate Italian ices that is one of my favorite things to have there! My seven year old son loves the place, and my in-laws like to go there after the theatre or the opera.

I go there regularly and know all the waitresses and the owner. I am crushed that this charming place will be driven out of business by greed, to be replaced by yet another soulless Starbuck's. (It's not really too small for a Starbuck's, there are some pretty small ones I've seen in town -- but it's down a short flight of stairs and not on the main drag (it's on 71st Street right off Columbus Avenue, not on the Avenue itself) so it's not the kind of location they would choose -- in addition to being about a block from a Starbuck's anyway.

It just makes me sick that businesses like this one are being pushed out. I swear, I'm sick of living in "Generica!"
I couldn't agree more, the same is happening over here, all the little business' are closing to be replaced by chains (mostly american I am sad to say), its called Globalisation and its awful, a disgrace. We even have Krispy Creme, go away we don't need it, if i wanted to live in the States i would move there.
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Old Jun 03, 2006, 04:30 PM   #15
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Hmmm- I wonder what it would cost to snag it away from Starclucks-

oh who AM I kidding! Will corporate wheel's grind stop at nothing, sucking all the charm, vitality and all that is unique about a city...?

I'm sorry- with all due respect to corporations and the populations that work for them but am I wrong to say they're trying to make all cities look the same? Here's a thought... can the coffee giant buy it and NOT change it? Just once choose to salvage something over wiping out all it's personality and walling all that uniqueness over with colors and fixtures that have been psychologically studied used and placed to illicit that just so economical response from the American coffee drinker?
Nuff said! off me soap box now... Glad I had the chance to eat there and took pics! PS- I've had the cookies too they are awesome!
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Old Jun 03, 2006, 04:50 PM   #16
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Jeeze that is too bad.

Its a good thing I'm going to college in NYC for the next few years. I'll hopfully visit it a few times before it closes.
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Old Jun 03, 2006, 05:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dreamer
Here's a thought... can the coffee giant buy it and NOT change it?
I doubt it! I'm getting real tired of local institutions in so many cities getting closed down or changed... In the past year we've lost Marshall Field's, The Berghoff, Santa's Village, and now possibly Kiddieland. But today when I walked around downtown, I passed seven Subways, at least 5 McDonald's...two Jamba Juices...Burger King, Starbucks, Panda Express, etc. In some ways we're really losing a lot of local flavor.
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Old Jun 04, 2006, 06:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatlegirl9977
In some ways we're really losing a lot of local flavor.
Precisely! Though I can appreciate the comfort of finding things that are similar in all US cities as we travel the nation for our various and sundry reasons, it is a right shame for any city to lose that which makes it unique! As you know BG I grew up where you still live and everytime I go back to visit my family- well- to paraphrase a well known song by a well-known band... Things have changed forever and not for better.
I already live in Plasticville USA and you know despite that sentiment of the locals it remains the numreo uno tourist destination! Funny ol' world isn't it?
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Old Jun 04, 2006, 07:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatlegirl9977
I doubt it! I'm getting real tired of local institutions in so many cities getting closed down or changed... In the past year we've lost Marshall Field's, The Berghoff, Santa's Village, and now possibly Kiddieland. But today when I walked around downtown, I passed seven Subways, at least 5 McDonald's...two Jamba Juices...Burger King, Starbucks, Panda Express, etc. In some ways we're really losing a lot of local flavor.
I faced that same disgust when they commercialized the Balboa Peninsula, what is now known as Newport (in So. Calif). I grew up hanging out down there when we'd visit my Aunt & Uncle. Now it's over-run with a bunch of trendy stores and chains. It totally lost its appeal (or "local flavor, as you put it) and how it's changed made me sick. And very sad.
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Old Jun 04, 2006, 12:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatlegirl9977
I doubt it! I'm getting real tired of local institutions in so many cities getting closed down or changed... In the past year we've lost Marshall Field's, The Berghoff, Santa's Village, and now possibly Kiddieland. But today when I walked around downtown, I passed seven Subways, at least 5 McDonald's...two Jamba Juices...Burger King, Starbucks, Panda Express, etc. In some ways we're really losing a lot of local flavor.
We lost Santa's Village?!
I didnt know that!!

Alittle off topic, yes.
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