Rumours of the possible sale of Katz’s deli keep hitting me now and then, but it’s becoming more and more likely with the prss out there. This popped up today on Grubb Street, the foodie blog of New York Magazine:
Mother of Mercy! Is This the End of Katzís?
Katzís Deli is about as close to a sacred space as we can think of. Forget landmark status; the place is a shrine, the soul of what remains of New York Jewish-American culture. So the rumors we have been hearing about its imminent purchase by condo developers are disturbing ó and not any less so for being a little more persuasive than the ones weíve heard in the past. Katzís management denies the move, but ubiquitous restaurant Realtor Alex Picken tells us that heís getting some specifics through the grapevine.
ďFrom what Iím hearing, they will sell, a large building will go up, and then Katzís will move back in and take over the first floor,Ē he says. Though a wrecked Katzís would be in irreparable loss, we would settle for that; as long as their immortal pastrami, the heart of the Lower East Side, persisted, Katzís would continue to matter. Much as we love the ancient walls and counters, they donít define what makes the place special. (And anyway, weíre sure if it did happen, every effort would be made to make the new place look the same as the old.) But will it happen? It seems against human nature for anybody to resist the millions of dollars co-owners Fred Austin and Alan Dell are certainly being offered. Other men have sold atomic secrets for less.
The dark age of deli is approaching ever so quickly. If you haven’t been to Katz’s, best buy that ticket to New York and stake out a spot at the counter next to Beni, Peter, Alan, Jon, Freddo or any of the other cutters who are slicing the last hand cut pastrami in New York.
Save the Deli any way you can!