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10 iconic NYC institutions that shuttered in 2017

From art supply stores to theaters to restaurants, these businesses didn’t survive 2017

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It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 14th Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: businesses we lost in 2017.

Another year has gone by and once again, a handful of established New York City businesses won’t make it into 2018 (and if they do, they won’t last for long). The usual suspects are to blame—rising rents, expired leases, competition from bigger brands, and so on.

This year, New Yorkers said goodbye to businesses like Angelica Kitchen in the East Village and A.I. Friedman, and two beloved theaters—Sunshine Cinemas and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas—will both shutter in early 2018. Meanwhile, icons like the Waldorf Astoria and Webster Hall closed for extensive renovations.

We’ve compiled 10 of these closures, and if we missed your most-missed spot, hit the comments.

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Waldorf Astoria New York

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The long in-the-works plan to revamp the Waldorf Astoria finally came to fruition this year, and the hotel closed at the end of February to facilitate construction. Once complete, the renovation (helmed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) will have 350 hotel rooms and 350 condos. Luckily, an interior landmark designation for the hotel, given by the LPC in March, helped protect some of its preserve spaces like the Grand Ballroom and the lobby facing Park Avenue.

Iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel In NYC To Close Down For Two-Year Renovation Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lenox Lounge

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Though Harlem’s iconic Lenox Lounge shut its doors in 2012, the owner had been working to reopen the historic jazz club, where names like Billie Holliday and Miles Davis once performed. After years of trying to revitalize the place and even an attempt to get a new club up and running, the original building was scheduled for demolition and all hopes of opening a new club nearby were scuttled. The site will become a commercial development that will house a Sephora.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

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The Upper West Side’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, located on the lower level of a residential building at Broadway and 62nd Street, will close in January. The theater’s lease is expiring and has had a rough time securing a lease extension. Building owners Milstein Properties said that the structure needs “vital structural work” and expect to re-open the space as a cinema in the future—though whether it will be as beloved as the old theater remains to be seen.

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American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Gems

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The Upper West Side institution’s retro Hall of Gems closed in October to facilitate a multi-million dollar renovation that will modernize the space. But not everyone wants the hall’s plush carpeting and moody vibe to go. As Curbed’s architecture critic Alexandra Lange noted, “Designed by architect William F. Pederson in high 1970s style, these galleries are as close as you can get to lounging in a conversation pit in public in New York City. I am sad to see them go.”

© AMNH/R. Mickens

Webster Hall

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Webster Hall has been an East Village fixture for more than a century, but a renovation is in its future; its owners, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment (the same company that operates the Barclays Center) and AEG Presents (which owns Bowery Presents), have said they want to “contemporize” the iconic multi-level music venue. It closed in August, and a reopening date has yet to be set.

A.I. Friedman

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In April, Manhattan lost the 80-year-old art supply store A.I. Friedman. According to industry insiders, the company had difficulties paying their vendors; on top of that, competition from large art supply chains (like Blick and Michael’s) made it difficult for stores like A.I. Friedman to stay in business. In 2016, art supply stores New York Central Art Supply and Lee’s Art Shop also closed their doors for good.

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Angelica Kitchen

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On April 7, East Village vegetarian joint Angelica’s Kitchen ended its 40-year run. Per our friends at Eater, the popular but humble restaurant had been facing “real estate woes” paired with a general decline in the quality of the food. As writer Robert Sietsema put it, “this sort of vegetarian cooking can still excite reverence and nostalgia. I, for one, will be sad to see this vestige of the old East Village vanish.”

The Hi-Fi Bar

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Another East Village stalwart bit the dust this year: Hi-Fi Bar, which was around for 15 years, closed in October. Before it was Hi-Fi, it was Brownies, a legendary rock venue that helped launch the careers of artists like the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Interpol.

A post shared by Tommy Werner (@tommyrwerner) on

Cup & Saucer

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This greasy spoon on the corner of Canal and Eldridge streets closed this summer after nearly 30 years on the Lower East Side. According to the owners, their rent was doubled, forcing a closure. “I always felt good just seeing it there, looking like the survivor that it was,” Vanishing New York’s Jeremiah Moss recently told Curbed. “And then the rent nearly doubled and they were gone.”

Marcela/Flickr

Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema

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Though the beloved Lower East Side theater hasn’t closed yet, it’s only a matter of time: Demolition plans were filed in November, and the theater will shut its doors early next year. The theater opened in 2001, but the building itself has served as a vaudeville theater and screenings venue long before that. For years, Sunshine Cinema struggled to keep up with rising rents and in 2012, the Landmarks Theatres group proposed converting the independent cinema house into a full dining service theater, however, the local community board rejected that idea. It sold earlier this year for $31.5 million.

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Waldorf Astoria New York

Iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel In NYC To Close Down For Two-Year Renovation Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The long in-the-works plan to revamp the Waldorf Astoria finally came to fruition this year, and the hotel closed at the end of February to facilitate construction. Once complete, the renovation (helmed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) will have 350 hotel rooms and 350 condos. Luckily, an interior landmark designation for the hotel, given by the LPC in March, helped protect some of its preserve spaces like the Grand Ballroom and the lobby facing Park Avenue.

Iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel In NYC To Close Down For Two-Year Renovation Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lenox Lounge

Though Harlem’s iconic Lenox Lounge shut its doors in 2012, the owner had been working to reopen the historic jazz club, where names like Billie Holliday and Miles Davis once performed. After years of trying to revitalize the place and even an attempt to get a new club up and running, the original building was scheduled for demolition and all hopes of opening a new club nearby were scuttled. The site will become a commercial development that will house a Sephora.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

Google Maps.

The Upper West Side’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, located on the lower level of a residential building at Broadway and 62nd Street, will close in January. The theater’s lease is expiring and has had a rough time securing a lease extension. Building owners Milstein Properties said that the structure needs “vital structural work” and expect to re-open the space as a cinema in the future—though whether it will be as beloved as the old theater remains to be seen.

Google Maps.

American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Gems

© AMNH/R. Mickens

The Upper West Side institution’s retro Hall of Gems closed in October to facilitate a multi-million dollar renovation that will modernize the space. But not everyone wants the hall’s plush carpeting and moody vibe to go. As Curbed’s architecture critic Alexandra Lange noted, “Designed by architect William F. Pederson in high 1970s style, these galleries are as close as you can get to lounging in a conversation pit in public in New York City. I am sad to see them go.”

© AMNH/R. Mickens

Webster Hall

Webster Hall has been an East Village fixture for more than a century, but a renovation is in its future; its owners, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment (the same company that operates the Barclays Center) and AEG Presents (which owns Bowery Presents), have said they want to “contemporize” the iconic multi-level music venue. It closed in August, and a reopening date has yet to be set.

A.I. Friedman

Google Maps.

In April, Manhattan lost the 80-year-old art supply store A.I. Friedman. According to industry insiders, the company had difficulties paying their vendors; on top of that, competition from large art supply chains (like Blick and Michael’s) made it difficult for stores like A.I. Friedman to stay in business. In 2016, art supply stores New York Central Art Supply and Lee’s Art Shop also closed their doors for good.

Google Maps.

Angelica Kitchen

On April 7, East Village vegetarian joint Angelica’s Kitchen ended its 40-year run. Per our friends at Eater, the popular but humble restaurant had been facing “real estate woes” paired with a general decline in the quality of the food. As writer Robert Sietsema put it, “this sort of vegetarian cooking can still excite reverence and nostalgia. I, for one, will be sad to see this vestige of the old East Village vanish.”

The Hi-Fi Bar

Another East Village stalwart bit the dust this year: Hi-Fi Bar, which was around for 15 years, closed in October. Before it was Hi-Fi, it was Brownies, a legendary rock venue that helped launch the careers of artists like the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Interpol.

A post shared by Tommy Werner (@tommyrwerner) on

Cup & Saucer

Marcela/Flickr

This greasy spoon on the corner of Canal and Eldridge streets closed this summer after nearly 30 years on the Lower East Side. According to the owners, their rent was doubled, forcing a closure. “I always felt good just seeing it there, looking like the survivor that it was,” Vanishing New York’s Jeremiah Moss recently told Curbed. “And then the rent nearly doubled and they were gone.”

Marcela/Flickr

Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema

Though the beloved Lower East Side theater hasn’t closed yet, it’s only a matter of time: Demolition plans were filed in November, and the theater will shut its doors early next year. The theater opened in 2001, but the building itself has served as a vaudeville theater and screenings venue long before that. For years, Sunshine Cinema struggled to keep up with rising rents and in 2012, the Landmarks Theatres group proposed converting the independent cinema house into a full dining service theater, however, the local community board rejected that idea. It sold earlier this year for $31.5 million.