Anthony Haden-Guest had no idea when he swung by Swifty’s on Lexington Avenue near 72nd Street earlier this month that he was taking part in some sad NYC history. But as he writes in his latest column for The Daily Beast, the Jan. 13 evening turned out to be the beloved restaurant’s very last.
Like Mortimer’s before it, the closing of Swifty’s was sudden. Albeit for different reasons. The former’s demise was sealed by a decree in the will of owner Glenn Bernbaum; the latter’s end, by rapidly rising New York rents. From Haden-Guest’s piece:
So it’s not just Downtown Bohemia that’s in a financial squirmish – a word I borrow from Sarah Palin – it’s Manhattan in toto.
Some social history. Stephen Attoe and Robert Caravaggi (pictured), who partnered at Swifty’s as manager and chef, both worked many years at Mortimer’s, a few blocks up Lex…
Namedrop One. Mortimer’s was where I was taken by Bruce Willis when he was studying for his part as an obnoxious tabloid journalist in Bonfire of the Vanities.
The final place setting for Mortimer’s reads: 1976-1998. The one for Swifty’s: 1999-2016. Where the crowd so wonderfully described at transition’s point in The New York Times back in the fall of 1999 will gather next on a regular basis remains to be seen:
The Mortimer’s people – those well-fixed 10021ers, titled strivers, dictators of chic, social X-rays, kiss-kiss celebrities and their plastic surgeons who have been yearning for connectedness in a relentlessly uncaring ZIP code – can at last go home.
[Photo courtesy: swiftysnyc.com]