uploaded by deanv41.
The original Prague Cafe occupied this abandoned site. It has since moved, expanded, contracted again. I was taken aback by how quickly the structure was gutted in the year since it shuttered.
Decline seems accelerated in the wake of The Great Credit Crunch and far too many spaces in The City are empty. New enterprises are as often 'carts' as Establishments in brick and mortar. I'm all for more street food, but it does reveal quite a change of fortunes in the past few years. Lately in this district, a new City College campus is rising in a lot that has a contentious history both socially inspiring as well as intractable and damaging. The looming presence of the brutalist landmark Chinatown Hilton on the site where the courthouse had been also makes the political equation for development more complicated.
There is a thriving Scientology Center in an historic flatiron a block away and a new gastropub called The Comstock Saloon opened across the avenue serving stellar cocktails and a vintage menu, slightly updated. My sinerest hope is that the district tilts toward the saloon's reinvention and leaves stressed-out souls to their own devices. The ghosts of The Barbary Coast and Old Prague might agree.