Another relic of the pre-glitz Bowery is going the way of the flophouse. Over the weekend word spread that the building that houses the Amato Opera, now in its 61st season at 319 Bowery under the direction of 88-year-old founder Anthony Amato, had been sold, throwing the future of the East Village institution in doubt. Those fears are now confirmed, as the Times reports that the Amato Opera's last performance will come on May 31 ("The Marriage of Figaro," fyi). According to property records, "319 Bowery NY, LLC" closed on the property in December for $3.7 million, or $681 per square-foot. That mysterious LLC shares an address with Croman Real Estate, also known as 9300 Realty, which owns and manages rental buildings around town.
Croman Real Estate is owned by Steve Croman, a controversial landlord who is clearing out a 23-unit Upper East Side building to make way for his family and has drawn the ire of the Village Voice over the years (he was once named to their 10 Worst Landlords list). Details of Croman's plans are not yet known. It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Voice also wrote that Anthony Amato's niece was eager to carry the opera's torch once her uncle no longer felt up to it. Ironically, the opera's undoing was being finalized at the same time. Check out Vanishing New York's 2008 piece on the Amato for some good back story on the neighborhood landmark.
· Opera Company to Close [NYT]
· Amato Opera [amato.org]