Rumor: A Century Later, Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes May Close Due to Rent Hike

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Not even a month into 2015, and already the high-profile Lower East Side closures are stacking up. The greats are fading. Streit’s Matzo obviously comes to mind, with fifth-generation ownership having sold the Rivington Street factory after 90 years on the block. That teary goodbye – and subsequent relocation to New Jersey – is planned post-Passover. As if that wasn’t enough, though, we are now hearing word that an even older neighborhood stalwart may soon decamp.

Sources are telling us that Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes – headquartered at 137 East Houston since 1910 – is reportedly on the verge of departure. Apparently word on the street is that the landlord is trying to force ’em out with an all-too-familiar rent hike. Timeframe of the alleged closure wasn’t provided.

In an unfortunate twist of irony, public records reveal that said landlord – Jeanne Jackson of New York & Hong Kong Reciprocation Exchange Corp. – actually purchased the five-story tenement from Yonah Schimmel back in 1979.

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We first started hearing rumblings of its potential demise a couple months ago, but confirmed with the knishery that the talk was simply that. The chatter never stopped, though, and in fact intensified. Yet with this fresh round of rumors, a similar denial from Yonah Schimmel. From what we understand, the response this time around was rather cryptic. That even though allegations of closure are “not true,” the Yonah Schimmel brand is looking to “expand” (i.e. move?) and take on “investors.” Reading between the lines, it’s easy to see that something is definitely amiss.

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Roadwork announcement outside Yonah Schimmel, August 2010

Yonah Schimmel is one of our favorite neighborhood spots, just a simple eatery with delicious ethnic food. No frills. It certainly goes without saying that, if proven true, this would be yet another sharp dagger. The local knish counter is certainly a survivor, too, having outlasted the tumultuous ups and downs of the economy (and neighborhood) for decades. Including a serious car crash in 1970 which leveled the adjacent building. In the end, all it takes is greed and five-plus years of roadwork at your doorstep to make that bottom line disappear.

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Car crash in 1970, Photo: FDNY

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