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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Le Figaro Cafe

I remember reading along time ago in a book that "what draws and keeps so many in California is not so much what the state has as what it suggests." When I quoted this to a friend at the time who was a recent transplant from New York to the West Coast, he bristled. There certainly are wonderful things about this remarkable state, but I still think that quote still makes a valid point.
In the same way I think this has been the case with Le Figaro Cafe for many years, if not decades. The location and place itself has been a mecca more for what the Village represented than what it has been in recent years. And Le Figaro Cafe was certainly not a window into history of this neighborhood, steeped in bohemian history - once a hangout for Bob Dylan and Beatniks.
Recently, Le Figaro Cafe at 186 Bleecker, closed shop after over 50 years in business. It was a bittersweet announcement, but for most I think their recent Figaro Cafe experience was more bitter than sweet. Many complained of bad service and mediocre food. The place had basically been a tourist draw for eons. This is not surprising being located at Bleecker and MacDougal Streets.
The saddest thing about a place like this closing is that we lose a piece of history. And the replacement will me most likely be a place that is part of our new, temporal world ...

5 comments:

Mary said...

Many, many years ago, this was our hangout. The place that closed was not it. The young musicians in the park never heard of our songs either. If something is good, why not retain it? To let it go just because it is old is a tragedy. Or is it just me getting old and slipping away?

ken mac said...

The loss here is that of one more Village landmark biting the dust. Mom and pop businesses are closing all over the city, while glossy metal and glass towers rise. It's like the rise of the monsters in Terminator II. WHy come to NYC anymore when you can just drink Starbucks and shop Home Depot back home? Crap, even Robert Moses is rolling over in his grave.

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rchrd said...

This is the second closing. My Figaro days were 1958-68. Then it closed around 1969. Reopened as the Figaro again sometime in the 70's or later.

I have a some Figaro images from the '60s on my website

Seems like everything from the 60's is finally closing down.

Anonymous said...

I was appalled and distressed to see that Figaro was going to be turned into a comedy club???? Even if the food, coffee wasn't the greatest, it's the history of the place. We don't have any antiquities anymore. What's there to tour in the area. Even the Electric Lady studio exterior has been revamped to some glassy, metal looking thing - hideous! This is why the West Village, especially 8th Street, looks like a ghost town! Shameful. Time marches on, but the beat is gone.