The End of the Epoch: Six Traditional New York Places that Fell Victim to the Pandemic

5:39 pm  |  07.12.2021

Like everywhere else in the world, Covid also meant that many shops in New York had to close. It is particularly sad when companies with a long tradition going under. Here are five companies that were New York veterans and, unfortunately, ended their existence.

The Roosevelt Hotel


Photo via Gothamist

After 96 years, the Roosevelt Hotel, one of the most traditional hotels in New York, closed in September. It was a “difficult step”, Pakistani Airlines informed the owners of the hotel, but the extreme decline in visitors and the uncertain future prospects due to the corona pandemic did not allow any other decision.

The superbly located hotel, which was completed in 1924, right next to the Grand Central Terminal, had 1,025 rooms, 35 suites and around 400 people worked here. For a long time, it was one of the best and most expensive hotels in the city, but in the last few decades, when the trend towards hotels went up, the Roosevelt was more in the middle of the field, but the lobby there was still one of the nicest in New York.

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Eisenberg’s Sandwich Store

Photo – Randy Orloff

Diner, simple restaurants with counters and small tables, have been dying out in the last 20 to 30 years. Eisenberg’s, founded in 1929, was one of the few that still existed in New York. It was right across from the iconic Flatiron (iron) building.

Century 21 Discount Department Store

In September, the discount department store chain Century 21 filed for bankruptcy and closed all 13 branches. 

Most Century 21 department stores are in New York, the most famous being on Church Street across from the World Trade Center.

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The business has become increasingly difficult since the pandemic broke out, largely due to the absence of tourists, according to CEO Raymond Gindi. Still, he believes the company and the 1,400 jobs could have been saved if his insurance company had acted differently. It refused to recognize the impairment of business operations caused by the pandemic as damage to the same extent as the consequences of a fire, a flood, or a natural disaster.

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Update – At Century 21 there is now hope that some stores can be reopened with the help of an investor.

The Paris Café


After 147 years, the Paris Café closed its doors in May. 

The establishment in the South Street Seaport district in southern Manhattan was best known for the lively bar activity in the evening. In 2012, it was almost washed away during Superstorm Sandy, but despite the flooding, the operators managed to reopen seven months after the catastrophic weather. But then the pandemic was too much.

Owner Pete O’Connell had these words for the New Yorkers in May: “On behalf of the Paris Café, I would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our wonderful guests and friends and say goodbye to you with love. Through no fault of anyone, we are no longer in a position to run the Paris Café in an economically viable manner. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to close our doors. “

Nat Sherman Cigars Townhouse

The Nat Sherman Cigars Townhouse, in a prime location on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in the middle of Manhattan, was an institution among cigar lovers in New York. 

When you stepped into the shop, founded in 1930, you felt like you were in a different age. Smoking was not only allowed but was also encouraged.

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There were many armchairs in which you could lean back and smoke a “stick”, as cigars are called in the scene, after shopping. Those who pledged to spend at least $ 3,000 a year could take a seat in the private smoking lounge.

According to the owners, the majority of customer goods consisted of office workers who worked nearby. Most of them have disappeared since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Riccardo’s by the Bridge

Riccardo’s by the Bridge, a banquet hall in Queens that took three generations of New Yorkers to their hearts, closed in September after 70 years.

Since 1951, people have come together here for special occasions, be it weddings, birthdays, funerals, family celebrations, or quinceañeras, an important festival for Hispanics when girls turn fifteen.

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“That decision was very difficult to make. The sole reason was the effects of the COVID pandemic; if it were up to us, we would go on forever, but we just don’t see a realistic, plannable way forward, ”said owner Anthony Corbisiero.


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