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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Old Can Be Good Too


I used to have a client who would call regularly and ask excitedly, "What's new? What's hot?" It was irritating - what's wrong with the same old thing if it is good? I certainly produce new products, but as a manufacturer, just maintaining the quality of a product line is a full time job. Often I am dealing with the one last supplier in the United States of a part or raw material - when they are gone, my hand will be forced to buy an import, often of inferior quality. Admittedly, with the rate of technological change, it is questionable whether one even wants a product which will last.

Imagine guiding friends or family through New York City and nothing is familiar. Every retailer or restaurant is new, soon to be replaced by something newer. When asked about one of these merchants, you have to respond that you are not actually sure who they are and you have never been inside. But no worry, because they will be replaced soon by something newer.

I am not a luddite at all - I love new technology and am certainly not averse to the new and improved. However, by and large, humans are creatures of habit, and the man or woman is rare who does not at least find some comfort from time to time in the old and reliable.

Certainly not every merchant of high quality and integrity is a legacy business. Many of the businesses I have sought out and featured in my writings are newer - places like Cones or the Doughnut Plant come to mind. I have also found a handful of older mainstays, part of New York City's disappearing act. We are in a climate where many legendary brands have degraded over time and are selling on name alone. New or old is never a guarantee of quality, in New York City or elsewhere.

Everything said, I can not promise that a visit to the Broome Street Bar will be everything you want - much of your experience depends on your expectations. But, when you are lucky enough to find a legacy business that still has a decent reputation and pleasant ambiance, it is comforting to know that sometimes, old can be good too :)

About the bar: Bob & Kenn's Broome Street Bar has been a SoHo fixture since 1972, when opened by brothers Bob and Kenn Reisdorff. The bar/restaurant is located in the heart of SoHo at the corner of Broome Street and West Broadway in a historic 1825 building. See more photos here.
The space has a checkered past - a house of prostitution in the 1940s, and a previous owner who murdered a customer having an affair with his girlfriend and, in turn, was murdered by the victim's brother. Read about the bar's history here.

4 comments:

Vivien said...

I like your story :)!

Richard Friedman said...

"Imagine guiding friends or family through New York City and nothing is familiar."

That's the problem I face everytime I visit NYC, and I don't get back often. I visited and eventually lived in the Village between 1959 and 1968.

That New York is gone. I look at your pictures and other's, places I knew, and I can't recognize them.

Where did the cobblestones on 7th Ave & Sheridan Sq go?

They say you can never go home again. Probably.

Leslie said...

We were just at the Broome St bar last weekend! Been years since I came here. Food still dependable, beer was quite good! The windows were open and the whole atmosphere was festive. What fun to find out some history...I had no idea the place was built so long ago. Thanks yet again.

Richard said...

It is nice to come back to the place you usually stay and realize that many has change. Thank you for sharing your experience. Cheers!

Richard
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