Dress Before Drink: The Spitzer’s Dress Store of Yore

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 at 10:14 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

The mere mention of Spitzer these days evokes not only the disgraced former governor, but images of an oft-crowded bar in Hell Square that has a penchant for angering neighbors. More than seven years of Spitzer’s Corner at Rivington and Ludlow Streets has been marked with plenty of controversy, from employee lawsuits and Department of Health closures to potential business sales.

Let’s get some context. In his own words, owner Rob Shamlian talked of a “downtown turnaround” in a Blackbook Magazine article from 2010:

I liked the location of Spitzer’s. I was talking to the owner for six to eight months at least trying to get that space. They were going to give it to Starbucks. I talked to the other owner of that space. First, his thing was, “I’d give it to you, but my dad works here.” I said, “That’s okay. I’ll give him a job.” Eventually, I wore him down and he rented it to me…It would’ve been named Spitzer’s Dress Shop, but we threw the sign away.

This image has been archived or removed.

Good job, Rob. Can we call you Rob?

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: Sally Garrington

Before Shamlian came through to create his “gastropub,” 101 Rivington was home to Spitzer’s Dress Store for decades. Fifty years, in fact. In its final years, the shop remained a dusty reminder of the neighborhood’s shmata past, and finally closed in 2007. As homage, or maybe victory dance, the bar was named after proprietor Ziggy Spitzer.

That was nice of him … except not.

As we’ve chronicled in the past, Shamlian has more issues than just the LES Dwellers and State Liquor Authority. He’s reportedly hemorrhaging money with the nightlife businesses in Hell Square, and, of course, carries an adverse track record of allegedly not paying employees. And no, we were unable to confirm that the bar maven ever kept his word to any of the Spitzer clan by giving them a job.

This image has been archived or removed.

Though perhaps Ziggy didn’t necessarily need Rob’s offer, after all. After some mind-numbing research, it turns out the Spitzers are still kickin’. Zeliks Management Corp. – of which kin Charlotte Spitzer is President – is the owner of record for 101 Rivington. Jay Kimmel and Abe Lowy are nominees to the mortgage on the property which was just paid off. Wonder how they feel about Rob…

This image has been archived or removed.

And now:

This image has been archived or removed.
This image has been archived or removed.

On a related note, the purportedly financially-strapped Shamlian had been trying to ditch Spitzer’s CornerFat Baby, and Los Feliz as a package deal since last January. (The Derby was successfully unloaded to the Martignetti brothers for Pizza Beach.) One man stepped forth to take on the debt – Sarid Drory, nascent owner of Artisanal. Sale of assets measures were approved by Community Board 3 for each of these troubled bars earlier this year. But the deal purportedly fell through this past fall.

Tell us about your experiences with Spitzer’s, either the bar or former dress shop.

Recent Stories

Developer Begins Demolition of Rutgers Street Playground for Temporary Parking Lot

Demolition work began this week on a Lower East Side park that is a focal point in the tension between the community and developers on the waterfront. The backhoes are out and job now underway at Rutgers Park, the small public space beside the Lands End II residential development. Removal of the playground began yesterday, including […]

The 3 Lower East Side Walk-ups that Sold for $35M

Earlier this month, we reported that SMA Equities, the Long Island real estate firm with controversial history on the Lower East Side, sold a portfolio of its area properties. SMA unloaded three tenement walk-ups to Daniel Fishman of GAIA Real Estate – 102 Norfolk Street, 177 Ludlow Street, and 99 Allen Street – for an […]

H&M Debuts Pop-up Hotel on the Bowery this Weekend

Fashion retailer, H&M, is headed to the Lower East Side this week with a pop-up hotel concept. Starting tomorrow, prospective guests can access the so-called Hotel Hennes via the eponymous 3 Freeman Alley. The three-day publicity stunt will be open through Saturday, from 2 to 9pm. Guests will be able to check in for an […]

Sneakerhead Arrested for Knifing Customer at Hypebeast ‘HBX’ Opening on Division Street

A watershed moment for Hypebeast transformed into a melee on the Lower East Side last week. The Hong Kong-based fashion and lifestyle publication on Friday officially debuted in the seven-story commercial loft building at 41-43 Division Street. Its ground-level store – dubbed HBX – attracted a queue of sneaker heads waiting for a limited edition Nike […]

Arsonist Torches Eldridge Street Beauty Parlor

Two people were injured yesterday evening after an arsonist set ablaze a beauty parlor on Eldridge Street, according to several published reports. The incident transpired shortly before 5:00pm at the Sa Sa II Beauty Salon, located at 129 Eldridge Street. Cops said the suspect poured gasoline inside the store and set it on fire. (Initial […]