There’s now one less place to get an egg cream in NYC. St. Marks landmark, iconic bodega and punk hangout Gem Spa, which has been struggling to get by, has decided to permanently close amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s the official statement from the owners:
This has been an extremely difficult decision, and one we are heartbroken to make. Forced to close the store due to New York City & State Covid restrictions implemented six weeks ago in the interest of safety to our customers and staff, we had hoped to reopen once things stabilized. Prior to the crisis, it had become increasingly apparent that the evolving character of the area was no longer able to sustain a corner creation like ours.
Coronavirus concerns closed our city, cratered businesses, and ultimately sealed the fate of our (close to) 100-year-old shop.
After careful review and assessment of our options, we have made the heartbreaking but necessary decision to close permanently.
We have enjoyed the most incredible love, support, loyalty and friendship from our neighbors, city, and visitors from around the world. We are, and always will be, eternally grateful to the historical artists, musicians, designers and dedicated denizen’s who saw us as much more than a beloved bodega but an iconic East Village institution.
Although our physical doors are closing, we will live on through our website (https://gemspanyc.com) where we will be highlighting more of our rich history and the iconic figures that have made us who we are. We will also continue to sell Gem Spa branded merchandise as well as art, books and photographs inspired by our store.
The Patel family would like to thank everyone for all the beautiful memories and for the opportunity to serve you. We hope that all of you are staying safe and in good health. Lots of love from all of us to all of you.”
Gem Spa, we’ll miss you.
It’s not been a great day for old school NYC establishments: we also lost Jimmy Glenn, owner of JImmy’s Corner, and Michael Halkias, owner of Grand Prospect Hall. And we lost Jimmy Webb, of Trash & Vaudeville, just a few weeks ago.