These are the Most Cursed Commercial Spaces on the Lower East Side [LISTS]

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 at 9:34 am by
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Some commercial spaces are simply hexed. No way around it, really. One restaurant might open after a year-long build-out and fail less than a year later. It’s a scenario we see play out ad nauseam on the Lower East Side. But who is really to blame? Is the landlord over-charging to the point where business owners can’t turn a profit? Or are the proprietors themselves to blame for not attracting enough patrons? Probably both.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve decided to take a gander at some of the most cursed (haunted?) stores on the Lower East Side. Let’s go.


71 Clinton Street

This is probably one of the most cursed addresses in the whole neighborhood. The commercial unit on the Clinton front has seen remarkable turnover in the last decade. We’ve seen more than a half-dozen restaurants come and go, most from the same lease-holder. Fire also broke out during the reign of Seoul Chicken. It’s now another bar called whaLES.

The San Marzano pizzeria held down the Rivington front for a few years but was permanently sidelined by a burst water pipe in 2014.

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Remember Chickie Pig’s? on Ludlow St., August 2008

121 Ludlow Street

Remember Chickie Pig’s, that kitschy pizzeria? It was one of many short-lived restaurants at this address, and closed in 2008 after less than a year in business. A couple of different noodle joints followed but likewise failed. The space was last the Amuse Wine Bar, which is now replaced by something similar called River Coyote.

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179 Essex Street

The latest tenant here is Benson’s, the seventh nightlife establishment to open here in the last decade. The spot first attained notoriety with Filthy McNasty’s, then morphed to 12″, Essex Ale House, Peri Wine Bar, Bar Chevere, Casa Humo, and now, Benson’s. Got all that?

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145 Orchard Street

This commercial space has been a dormant disaster ever since the Orchard House closed in January 2013. Before that it was a failed concept called APL.

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154 Orchard Street

Turnover is the name of the game at 154 Orchard, where no fewer than five establishments have tried and failed since 2008 (Bia Garden, Chinito, Rhong Tiam Express, Mission Chinese Food). It’s currently under the ownership of a Georgian restaurant called Red Compass, but carries a checkered history thanks to the questionably-legal rear yard enclosure and highly-publiciczed rat infestation. The latter was listed front-and-center in a lawsuit owner Daniel Bowien brought against building owner Abraham Noy.

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264 Bowery

Building issues here are apparently myriad. Once home to Lenny Kravitz’s short-lived Kos lounge (2004-ish), the space at 264 Bowery hasn’t been able to retain a solid tenant. The closest it came was in 2012 with the launch of trendy boutique Dagny + Barstow. That boutique shuttered almost three years ago and the store remains dormant.

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178 Stanton Street

This store hasn’t held down a permanent occupant in over six years. The Moldy Fig entered the scene in the spring of 2011 as a jazz club, but didn’t last long. The owner fell ill and the establishment shuttered after a year. Then came the short-lived Stanton Kitchen, which itself foundered after a brief six-month period. The latest to follow that trend was Lowlife, the trendy restaurant that closed back in the spring after six months. The space is currently on the market for $14,000 per month.

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2-4 Prince Street

In the last six years or so, there’s been a constant revolving door of boutique tenants at this address just off the Bowery. Most don’t survive.

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269 East Houston

Back in the day, this corner of Suffolk Street was home to Meow Mix (RIP 2004), the famous lesbian bar also featured in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy. Vasmay Lounge and the Local 269 followed and failed in the ensuing few years. (A flood in 2012 ended the tenure of the latter establishment.) The space is now occupied by Suffolk Arms.

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