Monday, May 26, 2008

The End of An Era

It seems like every week, a new crack forms in my little heart, you know the one, sandwiched in between the I & NY on the white tank I break out on the weekends. This is no big breaking news here, but it's taken me a while to own up to it. Florent is shuttering its doors at the end of the month.

First it was that donut shop, a teeny mom & pop joint on the corner of 86th and Lexington, which made Boston creams to die for. Then it was the barber shop down the street, the Chinese Peruvian joint (yeah, I know that that's about the weirdest combination you'll ever find, but somehow, it works), the Dominican guy who fixed my heels and would always put an extra hole in my belts when I bought them too big.

Maybe it's just the necessary result of spending more years here than I can now count on one hand. It would be silly to think that the city could always stay the same, because then what fun would that be? But I have to wonder sometimes: is New York changing for the better when every time I go out, all I see is a blanket of homogeneity whose fiber is predominantly white upper middle class?

I mean, everywhere I turn, there's some luxury condo project going up where an apartment starts at no less than an easy million. So, no wonder that Florent is closing. Who, besides maybe a Jean Georges or Keith McNally can afford to pay $30,000 in rent anyway?

When we used to live a couple of streets away, Florent was the place to eat on weekends, as opposed to the much trendier corner cafe, where I felt like I had to be dressed head to toe in Marc Jacobs to fit in. OK, so ever since I've frequented the French eatery, the clientele has always pretty much been Wonder Bread (as opposed to the tranny set Florent is famous for after hours.) But, the food was always good, and more importantly, there was this sense of permanence, like whatever happened, you could always go back next week, and everything would be exactly the same.

Even if owner Florent Morellet were to reconsider retirement and open up shop someplace else, the place just wouldn't be the same. But as a resident of a city that prides itself on change, were that unlikely scenario to happen, I have to remain open to the possibility that, though it probably wouldn't be the same, might it actually be better? Maybe.

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