Open Thread Wednesday 3/5/08

What's on your mind this week?

Hate returns to nabe

Cool door at Moxie Spot

Last month of fun at Magnetic Field — unless YOU buy the place!

Nabe celebs Giamatti and Byrne heating up HBO

…and whatever else is on your mind… 

…and don't for get Mr. Swizzle's Piano Bar tonight at Magnetic Field [97 Atlantic Avenue] – fun and karaoke!  

Share this Story:
  • Heights97

    From Brooklyn Paper: “Armando’s owner Peter Byros told GO Brooklyn, “I am retiring,” and said that a Midwestern chain restaurant would be going into the space, although he declined to name the chain. Neighborhood preservationists, along with state Senate candidate Daniel Squadron, are currently campaigning to save the neon “lobster sign” that hangs over the door.”

    Honestly, I never cared much for Armando’s (as much as I like the sign) and I’m not sorry to see it go. But I wish we could have done better than Panera Bread or Bob’s Big Boy or whatever this “midwestern chain” turns out to be.

  • yo

    anyone have any input as to what “midwestern chain” is coming in?

  • GHB

    If it’s a TGIF, Olive Garden, etc., let’s all boycott!

  • Charlie Sahadi

    I can’t wait for unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks!

  • jeses

    jesus f-n christ Montague is a disaster. i hope it’s a red lobster.

  • anon

    Get over yourself jeses. move to SoHo.

  • CJP

    Anyone know what’s going on at 72 Clark, right across from the subway station. Saw guys in there working today. And while I DID enjoy Armando’s I don’t get the hubaloo over preserving the sign. You’re in business, you hang a sign (neon maybe another matter.) You go out of business, down comes the sign.

    As for Red Lobster I actually like the place! I think it would be a welcome addition to A neighborhood, not OUR neighborhood because the economics of such a huge space just aren’t available anywhere around here.

  • bornhere

    Jeses has a point, especially for those who remember a Montague Street that had no chain stores any more chain-y than Key Food. I suppose newer Heights residents HATE it when those of us who have been here for, um, forever start the litany of “remember this” and “remember that”; but, really — look at Montague Street: for the “main drag” of a community, it’s pitifully noncommunity. There’s not a bakery, a fish market, a butcher, a housewares store, anywhere in sight. The notables are the used book store and, uh, well, there’s the used book store. Oh, yeah — and the kids’ store (relegated to an alley-size space). But the rest of the businesses are cloned who cares? The rents are surely to blame; but it is a shame. And throwing the standard “then move to fill in the blanks” is just silly. The problem is that bemoaning the demise of Montague is probably just as silly — but it’s hard to not say something.

  • CJP

    Bornhere… your point is well taken. Anyone who’s walked down 5th Avenue in Park Slope lately will be left wondering “why isn’t Montague Street more like this?” There is an incredible mix of mom and pop businesses, upscale and downscale restaurants, hardware stores, bodegas, food stores etc, even an upscale sex shop.

    It doesn’t have me packing my bags for Park Slope but there sure is a good feel to the street. Too bad they have to come to Brooklyn Heights to find a cellphone store…

  • Publius


    As a business owner who rented a retail location on Montague Street for 7 years, it’s not a mystery why the mom and pops are going away — the astronomical rent. No mom and pop wants to bust their ass all montly long just to turn it all over in a fat rent check to a landlord.

    I have a friend who has a shop on 5th avenue and has been there about 6 years. When he went in, the rent allowed him to earn a living. He’s virtually positive that when his lease is up, the landlord will jack the rent to “market” rates and he’ll relocate the business.

  • CJP

    And one other post about work inside a defunct restaurant/business. I see that demolition is really moving forward at the old Thai place on Henry Street, just next to the church. Anyone have any idea what’s going in there? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Midwestern chain restaurant or another cellphone store.

  • ABC

    I would honestly frequent a midwestern chain more than an Armandos.

    I have kids and there are not many places to take them to eat. I’m from the Midwest, so maybe I’m defensive, but I do like to walk into a clean place where asking for a highchair isn’t met with a grimace. And hey, if they serve burgers and frozen custard — all the better.

  • Sharday

    yes, mom and pops kinda suck

  • lifer

    Montague st always had chains, even in the 70’s there was a Blimpies and a Burger King, Hallmark,Haagen Dazs, Walden books,…That said, it certainly has gone down hill. The block is more set up for the people that work in the neighborhood, rather than the dwellers. complete non community feel.

  • bornhere

    Lifer– I may be wrong, but I am almost positive that the chains you mentioned (except for Hallmark, perhaps) weren’t on Montague until the 1980s. Whatever, isn’t it interesting that even Blimpies, BK, and poor Walden didn’t survive. And I totally agree that it does address more the needs of the local workforce than the local locals.

  • lifer

    you could be right, I’m getting old in my old age..I remember when the community raised a ruckus when a Boston Market was trying to set up shop, but now there’s a Subway..go figure..

  • Tim N.

    I’m with bornhere… chains suck. And ABC, I’ve been taking my daugther to Monty Q’s since she was a baby. We used to go there after playground runs with all her friends. Five toddlers with parents and noise and we never got a face, from either staff or customers.

    Local places can be clean and family-friendly and some even serve burgers. Chain places that underpay people and have cookie-cutter food can be unfriendly and filthy… even in the Midwest.

  • ABC

    I agree that local places CAN be clean and family-friendly, but did you read the health code violations when Monty Qs was closed TWICE last year? And do you think they’re paying way above min. wage there?

  • nabeguy

    Publius, as a landlord (in Manhatten, not the Heights) I agree with your assessment entirely. I have never seen a strip of more greedy landlords unwilling to work with their tenants to maintain any longevity than those on the Q. On the other hand, having seen the block I’m on go through a series of major changes over the last 30 years, I know that rents tend to be cyclical. As soon as all the new places on Atlantic and Smith start hitting the end of their lease terms, Montague Street will probably seem cheap in comparison to the new asking prices that there landlords will be asking. It may take 10 years, but that seems to be the pattern.

  • bhbabe
  • Andrew Porter

    72 Clark Street is a commercial condo, which means that you have to pay an enormous amount of money to but the place before you even start working on putting a store in. I haven’t seen any activity in there, but I did notice the “For Sale” sign had come down.

    I can remember going down to 2 Penn Plaza, along with other Bklyn Hgts people, back in the 1970s when Burger King moved into the space that now holds Banana Republic, and picketing Pillsbury, which owned BK at the time, in order to put pressure on them to prevent an enormous plastic BK sign from being put up. We won; for years, that was the most unobtrusive BK in the chain.