This week’s six-page New Yorker story about Ulli Rimkus and her fight to keep Max Fish open doesn’t really say much that all those other tributes haven’t, but it paints an interesting portrait of Ludlow Street (“which felt like the southern frontier of downtown”) as it was when Rimkus moved in (“the main thing was, never let any government people in the building, because they’d condemn it,” Rimkus said of her first apartment). And the piece ends with a telling exchange.
For now, though, Rimkus is trying to stay. She still lives on Ludlow Street, and she still hates the idea of being driven out of her neighborhood. One afternoon, she inspected a newly built storefront around the corner. The real-estate agent was trying to be helpful. “You could have a d.j. in here, in a cage,” she said, pointing to the back corner.
“Or a little kitchen, or something,” Rimkus murmured.
Across the street, the agent showed off a grand concrete-and-glass rectangle full of workers. “This is the Japanese fusion restaurant. They’re going to have waterfalls here. It’s going to be nice. They have a few, already, in Long Island. I told them, ‘You have to come to the Lower East Side.’”
And Strong Islanders aren’t the only ones invading the Lower East Side: Part of Ludlow Street (which just lost In God We Trust) is already being called “Little Seattle” thanks to soon-to-open transplants Caffe Vita, Via Tribulani, and Pike Street Fish Fry. Crain’s has the word on a homegrown newcomer, as well: Shay Zvibak, who owns Candela Candela, is opening a vegan spot, the Hummus Shop, at 101 Ludlow (competition for the new vegan fridge down the street at Health Matters). He’s also “in the process of opening a raw-bar restaurant on Broome and Mulberry streets.”