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Sion Misrahi: Take the LES, Leave the Pastrami

Over the weekend the Times ran a very insightful and interesting profile on Lower East Side realty baron Sion Misrahi?in the Styles section. While he does seem like a dapper guy, Misrahi ditched style for real estate long ago (say, 1994), when he closed his Orchard Street shmata shop and opened Misrahi Realty at 88 Rivington Street. Since then he's played a major role in the LES's converstion to a hipster heaven, and now, a yuppie hell. He's very proud of all this, but it sounds like Misrahi wants to have his cake and eat it too, because while he opposes landmarking and refers to the new wave of LES developers as "saviors," he doesn't want to lose anything that he enjoys:

There are some possible disruptions to the cultural landscape even Mr. Misrahi cannot stomach. The same day he visited the Thompson hotel site, he stopped into Katz’s, the beloved 119-year-old purveyor of pastrami, where the owners say they have been listening to buyout offers from condominium developers. Mr. Misrahi does not want Katz’s, which is a one-story structure, to leave. “The soul of the Lower East Side will be ripped out,” he said.

For those who don't think the soul of the Lower East Side was ripped out long ago, we've heard that the Vice gang is working on a Second Life-style recreation of the neighborhood called VLES (really), where hipster avatars will be able to walk into Pianos to catch a streamed concert, or shop at the Houston Street American Apparel (we're seriously not kidding you). Sion Misrahi, what hath thou wrought?
· Lower East Side Is Under a Groove [NYT]
· Misrahi Realty [] [Photo credit: James Estrin/The New York Times]