Dress Before Drink: The Spitzer’s Dress Store of Yore

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 at 10:14 am by
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The mere mention of Spitzer these days evokes not only the disgraced former governor, but images of an oft-crowded bar in Hell Square that has a penchant for angering neighbors. More than seven years of Spitzer’s Corner at Rivington and Ludlow Streets has been marked with plenty of controversy, from employee lawsuits and Department of Health closures to potential business sales.

Let’s get some context. In his own words, owner Rob Shamlian talked of a “downtown turnaround” in a Blackbook Magazine article from 2010:

I liked the location of Spitzer’s. I was talking to the owner for six to eight months at least trying to get that space. They were going to give it to Starbucks. I talked to the other owner of that space. First, his thing was, “I’d give it to you, but my dad works here.” I said, “That’s okay. I’ll give him a job.” Eventually, I wore him down and he rented it to me…It would’ve been named Spitzer’s Dress Shop, but we threw the sign away.

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Good job, Rob. Can we call you Rob?

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Photo: Sally Garrington

Before Shamlian came through to create his “gastropub,” 101 Rivington was home to Spitzer’s Dress Store for decades. Fifty years, in fact. In its final years, the shop remained a dusty reminder of the neighborhood’s shmata past, and finally closed in 2007. As homage, or maybe victory dance, the bar was named after proprietor Ziggy Spitzer.

That was nice of him … except not.

As we’ve chronicled in the past, Shamlian has more issues than just the LES Dwellers and State Liquor Authority. He’s reportedly hemorrhaging money with the nightlife businesses in Hell Square, and, of course, carries an adverse track record of allegedly not paying employees. And no, we were unable to confirm that the bar maven ever kept his word to any of the Spitzer clan by giving them a job.

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Though perhaps Ziggy didn’t necessarily need Rob’s offer, after all. After some mind-numbing research, it turns out the Spitzers are still kickin’. Zeliks Management Corp. – of which kin Charlotte Spitzer is President – is the owner of record for 101 Rivington. Jay Kimmel and Abe Lowy are nominees to the mortgage on the property which was just paid off. Wonder how they feel about Rob…

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And now:

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On a related note, the purportedly financially-strapped Shamlian had been trying to ditch Spitzer’s CornerFat Baby, and Los Feliz as a package deal since last January. (The Derby was successfully unloaded to the Martignetti brothers for Pizza Beach.) One man stepped forth to take on the debt – Sarid Drory, nascent owner of Artisanal. Sale of assets measures were approved by Community Board 3 for each of these troubled bars earlier this year. But the deal purportedly fell through this past fall.

Tell us about your experiences with Spitzer’s, either the bar or former dress shop.

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