After 28 years of business, the Union Square adjacent Coffee Shop—part diner, part late-night lounge for models and celebs—has closed its doors. Co-owner Charles Milite had announced the closure back in July, noting: "The times have changed in our industry. The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees." On Sunday, the place went dark following a day-long goodbye, with locals and long-timers dropping in for a last meal or mimosa.
Photographer Gretchen Robinette dropped by to capture the space before it becomes something new, along with its patrons and employees. She reported back, "[They] had a big closing party (supposed to close at 6 but many still lingered until around 7 p.m.) with dancers, everyone hugging and taking photos of every inch of the place. It appeared as if everyone who had frequented the Coffee Shop came out, some saying they had been going there since the 90s."
(Gretchen Robinette / Gothamist)
The service and the food were far from exceptional, but it was a fun, familiar hangout on the corner for decades. The space is rumored to become a bank, Forbes reports.
Robinette added, "Many would stop to take a photo of the neon sign outside, the old pay phones by the bathroom, a certain booth. They would stop and stare, at even just a coffee cup or the rips in a chair, reminiscing about the memories they had there, created in this cafe." Some patrons took menus out with them when they left, and one believed the shop would be open for another few days, so who knows, maybe swing by...