A fixture on the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue in the East Village for 100 years, Gem Spa has permanently closed. The store, considered home to New York’s best egg cream, had been struggling financially due to the gentrification of the neighborhood, as well as the loss of its cigarette and lottery licenses last year. While a fundraising effort launched last fall by current owner Parul Patel helped temporarily, the coronavirus pandemic “ultimately sealed the fate” of the institution.
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It is with a heavy heart that we announce Gem Spa has poured it’s last legendary egg cream and closed its doors forever. This has been an extremely difficult decision, and one we are heartbroken to make. . . We were forced to close the store due to New York City and State Covid restrictions 6 weeks ago in the interest of the safety of our customers and staff hoping to reopen when things stabilize. Prior to this crisis, it had become increasingly apparent that the evolving character of the area was no longer available 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 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 & photos inspired by our store. . . Very big thanks to Adam Nelson of @workhousepr for sending out the press release for this development and also successfully helping us on two major campaigns over the last year. We are so blessed to have your support and expertise. . . There are so many people, organizations and members of the media that we would like to thank but we will do so in a separate post to acknowledge the heartfelt contributions of all of these people. . The Patel family would like to thank you our extended family 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. . 🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤🥤#gemspa #eastvillagenyc #les #nyc
Gem Spa has been closed for nearly two months as a result of the state’s “pause order,” issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March. “Prior to the crisis, it had come increasingly apparent that the evolving character of the area was no longer available to sustain a corner creation like ours,” the owners wrote in a post on Instagram on Thursday.
“Coronavirus concerns closed our city, cratered businesses, and ultimately sealed the fate of our close to 100 year old shop,” the post reads. “After careful review and assessment of our options, we have made the heartbreaking but necessary decision to close permanently.”
The Patel family plans on maintaining the website of Gem Spa to share historic stories and images of the storied shop. Merchandise, including art, books, and photos, will still be available for purchase.
Gem Spa opened in the East Village in the 1920s and first became famous for its clientele of Beat writers and poets, and then later became known as an all-night spot for punk rock artists.
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Neighborhoods : East Village