After 28 consecutive years at the same location, tonight Le Madeleine, will close its doors.
On a dark and scary block in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in 1979, in the company of wonderful friends and with an euphoric indomitable spirit, I carved out of a wooden storefront with a dirt floor and an outdoors, a cute cafe serving croissants thus began the evolution of the successful restaurant which you know and love and have supported throughout our tenure!
As most of you know, for the past three years we have tirelessly fought eviction by our landlord, Mark Scharfman. Unfortunately, last week, the courts ruled in favor of Mark Scharfman!
Mark Scharfman, has evicted us from this thriving business with 51 wonderful, exemplary employees, because he plans to demolish the site and build yet another high rise apartment building in an already overcrowded area. Apparently, he is allowed to do this through a myopic reading of a ‘demolition clause’ in our lease.
In fact, we do not believe Mark Scharfman can legally demolish, or build on this site for many reasons. The primary one being that this is now part of the “Special Clinton District” and our one-story building is attached to, part of, and ‘of one block and lot’ with the corner 5 story building for which the space above our roof provides the legal “light and air” required for habitation. These governmental strictures were devised as protections for tenants (including rent regulated tenants) from developers like Mark Scharfman who try to rid themselves of these ‘impediments’ to creating more high rises in our now evolved neighborhood.
Mark Scharfman has very deep pockets, owns over 200 buildings, and keeps a cadre of lawyers on retainer. He goes after both commercial and residential tenants. He cannot build a hi-rise here on this site until he somehow gets rid of the tenants in the building which adjoins ours, the corner piece of his ‘development site.’ They are supposedly “protected.” Stand by!!!
We did win one very important court battle however; the right to sue him for “damages” if he has fraudulently evicted uswe had 12 years left on our lease and he has now “fraudulently evicted” us. This matter is not over.
On the brighter side, there may be a miracle in the offing. We have located a possible place to move everyone and open up again within a very short time. If all goes well and we immediately gather a group of dedicated investment partners for the relatively small amount it would cost to start up in this already fixtured space, similar in size to Le Madeleine and where we could resume business once a liquor license was transferred, we will do so. Stand by!!!
We intend to maintain our website: www.lemadeleine.com and urge you to contribute, share your thoughts and experiences with us via this blog. There is a book being written and a proposal circulated to publishers, and we will be so interested to hear and include your stories.
As always, please feel free to contact me personally, via email at [email protected]
Thank you for your past and future patronage,
Toney Edwards, Proprietor