Yesterday, bagel lovers were rocked by news that Ess-A-Bagel, one of the best bagelmakers in the city, was leaving its longstanding Gramercy space. Owner David Wilpon claimed that the 39-year-old shop was getting ousted by greedy landlords; now though, the landlords are arguing that Ess-A-Bagel's management refused to strike a rent deal with them.
Per a statement from property owner East 21 Retail LLC:
When we purchased the property, our main priority was to keep Ess-A-Bagel as a tenant. Ess-A-Bagel is a tradition in this city and we had no desire to see them leave. In the three years since, we’ve bent over backwards to come to a mutually fair agreement with Ess-A-Bagel’s owners. Our offer would have allowed Ess-A-Bagel to remain — and even gave them the option to expand — in the space they are in currently. Unfortunately, it takes two sides to make a deal, and Ess-A-Bagel’s owners repeatedly refused to meet us between their below-market rent and current market value. We regret that Ess-A-Bagel chose to misrepresent our intentions in the press. We take our responsibility as landlords very seriously and worked diligently to keep Ess-A-Bagel as a tenant. At a meeting in September, Ess-A-Bagel confirmed they were actively negotiating a lease at a new location. We wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavors.
Of course, as Eater points out, the management company was apparently seeking a rent increase that the bagel shop was unable to afford, like so many classic New York eateries that have fallen before them. Luckily, Ess-A-Bagel's 3rd Avenue shop continues to operate and it does sound like they're looking for a new space. And hey, Gramercy's getting a new Bank of America! Just what Manhattan needs.
Ess-A-Bagel did not immediately respond to request for comment.