The cute little Le Pain Quotidien cafe outside the 72nd Street subway station in Verdi Square has not been following health rules, according to an inspector who shut the place down this week. The inspector cited a mouse problem and an improper or unapproved sewage disposal system, among other violations (listed in full below).

A sign on the door announced they were closed for “renovations”, but another yellow sign made it clear that the place had been shuttered by the Health Department. Thanks to Peggy Taylor for the photos.

The cafe garnered 79 points worth of violations.

Violation points: 79
Sanitary Violations
1) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
2) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
3) Sewage disposal system improper or unapproved.
4) Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required.
5) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
6) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
FOOD, NEWS | 39 comments | permalink
    1. West88 says:

      “Not Vermin Proof” – have you been to Verdi Square??? The shrubbery is an infestation of rats! Here’s a game, kick a garbage can anytime of night and see the flurry of rats run out. Anyone who thinks setting up a food anything in that vicinity is without being closed by the health department should be given a medal.

      • frank says:

        lot of homeless loiter in the area also….some days the area reeks of filth,other days it just reeks

      • RF says:

        Yep. My most disgusting “only in NYC” story involves tripping over a massive dead rat in Verdi Square (at 9:00 in the morning, no less) and having it get caught in my sandal! That was years ago and I still pay close attention to the pavement when walking through that area. I can’t imagine that there is any way to keep a food kiosk in Verdi Square free of vermin.

    2. Christine E says:

      How does any kiosk provide #4 toilet? This is a converted newstand, more like a food cart than a restaurant. None of the food kiosks in Bryant Park, elsewhere have bathrooms inside. It’s a tiny space! (Though apparently big enough for mice.)

    3. anon says:

      “Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required.”

      That doesn’t seem like something that can be fixed.

      • Catherine says:

        The Department of Health doesn’t care if what they cite makes any sense. This will cost the company thousands of dollars to cure – probably better to just take it away.

    4. ron shapley says:

      Eh Gods !! I’m getting sick just reading about the violations……

    5. Pedestrian says:

      It doesn’t surprise me. I was surprised they lasted as long as they did.

    6. Ellen says:

      Food kiosks in Bryant Park may not need to individually provide toilet facility as NYC and/or Bryant Park consortium renovated and has attendants constant when Park is open. These are the classical (marble) toilets located on the 42st side just south of the NYPL western facade. Verdi Park would need some connection to similar facilities, or create within the park.

    7. Peter Salwen says:

      I’m sorry, but what does the health department expect the cafe management to do about item 2? Fumigate the park?

    8. Susan Kagan says:

      Disgraceful that a restaurant would jeopardize the health of its patrons. Thank you for publishing this alert.

      • Cat says:

        First, it’s not a restaurant, and second, the proprietors didn’t personally bring in the rats. I don’t understand the sewage violations if there is no bathroom. Exactly what is that referring to?

    9. Lisa A. says:

      Why is the LPQ stand being treated like a restaurant instead of like a cart or food truck? Christine E is right. There are a bunch of these around the city. Are they in violation too?
      Of course the mice and vermin are a bit of a deal breaker, but at least those violations are appropriate to the venue. Clean it up LPQ! That little stand is so cute.

    10. Mary says:

      The park isn’t for yuppie cafe customers, it was foolish to think a Le Pain Quotidien would change the nature of the city and needle park itself. Let the people on the street dictate the culture outside and not the business interests. The book stands across the street and the park next to it always made for a nice break from the encroaching gentrification surrounding. A health code violation seems only fitting

      • Cat says:

        So you’re ok with the filthy book stands and people who run them laying on the sidewalk eating food from food carts, but you’re against what you consider to be a ‘yuppie,’ influence?

    11. jhminnyc says:

      I hope they can work this out. Unlike so much in the city, this kiosk shows someone tried to create a spot that looks great and adds an air of civility to the neighborhood. I hate seeing it shuttered. If anything, the city and community should make an effort to see it thrives.

    12. Sandra Arnold says:

      It was so disgusting last year including the the various smells…it should be closed down! Good job Health Department.

    13. Robert Craig says:

      As commenters have pointed out the OBVIOUS nature of a food kiosk, why would the city allow this in the first place? They owe this business damages and compensation for wasted money for letting them get established when they knew there was NO WAY to be compliant with rules written for enclosed sit-down restaurants.

    14. Catherine says:

      I am glad I never stopped there – they have real problems.

    15. Judy says:

      The chain is Belgian.

    16. Steve says:

      Certainly not the City’s fault that there were so many violations. A better question is why didn’t management at LPQ see these and proactively take steps to correct?

      This is not a mom and pop chain so one must question why this occurred and was not taken care of prior to the Health Department closure.

      • anon says:

        I would ask why they were ever allowed to open of a bathroom is required and they didn’t have one. Are there health department inspections required to get the initial permit to operate?

        • your neighbor says:

          I believe the city requires a bathroom for food establishments with over 18(16?) seats. they seem to have 3 movable tables with 6 seats each and fixed seating (table with attached stools) for about 10 more.

          Fairly simple to change to get out of that violation.

    17. Bob says:

      Why does the parks dept insist on planting shrubbery and ivy in these areas, and instead just plant plain grass that aren’t hiding grounds for rats. This would be similar to the park at 63th street and Broadway (Dante Park – fully grassed) in which one actually feels like it’s safe to be in it. You could even keep it fenced, as it currently is, but at least you could see what is going on here. I would also do the same thing to the skanky verdant area which bounds Broadway and the uptown exit to the station.

    18. nycityny says:

      There are so many food establishments literally across the street from the park that this kiosk seems unnecessary. Cafe 71, Gigi’s, Tasty Cafe, Aroma, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pinkberry and Paris Baguette are just some of the places that can fill the “void” (and avoid the vermin and bathroom problems inherent in the park).

    19. Christina says:

      They are a kiosk!!! Of course they are going to have a vermin problem! They are open to the elements SOOOOO much more than a enclosed establishment! hey are also right by subway station! What do you think would happen?! It’s the location and that it’s a kiosk that’s the problem. The person or persons who opened such a venue should know the risks but NOt their fault otherwise!

    20. Priscilla says:

      I’ve repeatedly reported the rat holes to 311, with photos of the burrow entrances. They keep closing the incident saying an inspector went out and couldn’t find the holes. I sent pictures for goodness sake. I don’t they even visited Verdi Square before closing the incidents. Grr.

    21. B.B. says:

      Have said before, if you knew how many places that sell food are infested with vermin, you’d never buy anything in NYC again.

      Walked pass a Walgreen’s the other night and workers were throwing away several bags of candy (M&M’s (peanut), Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc..). Joked with one of the guys that “the dumpster divers will be very happy tonight”. He replied they shouldn’t because the stuff was being discarded due to vermin (mice).

      Sure enough the young man opened one bag and showed us a packet where mice had been munching.

      A few days later looked up the location on Internet and both via Yelp reviews and DOH website that Walgreens has been cited for evidence of and or outright sight of vermin (mice).

      Getting back to LPDQ, their location on Amsterdam Avenue has had vermin issues in past.

      Ditto for the Broadway in GV store as well:

      New York City has put quite a lot of effort and money into a pretty good DOH website that allows online searches. Pick any restaurant or place that sells/serves food on UWS (or anywhere else in the city)and if you go back far enough you’ll find often at least one citing for vermin.

    22. Maddie says:

      Yes, adorable cafe that is completely unhygienic.

    23. Gretchen says:

      So why doesn’t the damn city ever do something about the rats in Verdi Sq. in the first place — who have staked out this “park” for eons? And if they’re gonna pick on LPQ, why don’t they go as fervently after all those filthy food vendors — I’m guessing they ain’t vermin proof either, not to mention their storage facilities are vermin hotels. Moreover, these filthy food trucks simply attract more vermin and waste precious sidewalk space, among other things.

      • B.B. says:

        Have never seen rodents near any food truck or fruit vendor on city street/property.

        As for Verdi park the only way to “get rid” of the rats (or mice) likely would mean removing all plants/grass, and paving over the entire thing with concrete.

    24. Ted says:

      Needle Park is going to need more than a ramshackle coffee kiosk to class it up. The catalog of filth in there could fill a library. Call it what you will it’s still the dump it always was.

      • Sean says:

        FYI: what was once Needle Park is south of the older subway building. This structure is in
        Verdi Square.

      • Sean says:

        Needle Park was south of here over 45 years ago.

        • Ted says:

          Actually Needle Park was a term that encompassed both Verdi Square and Sherman Square. And yes Verdi Square is still pretty squalid on most days.

    25. B.B. says:

      There have been complaints about vermin in Verdi park going back to the 1980’s if not before. Things got worse IIRC when the MTA extended the 72nd Street subway station beneath.

      That being said a large reason the rats are in the place is same as elsewhere in NYC; human behavior. Long as there is a source of food, rats will come.

      If people would stop throwing their rubbish on ground including left over food, stop “feeding” the pigeons and other birds the rodent population nature would moderate the problem.

      Rats being burrowing creatures between the subway, sewer and other vast systems underground, and the “parks” or green spaces above it is rat heaven.

      Sadly we are never going to rid Manhattan of rats or mice. That war was lost especially when the city banned buildings from burning trash, then piled on by allowing garbage to be put on street in plastic bags.

      If NYC was really serious about addressing the rodent problem in Manhattan at least, it would go back to mandating commercial and residential trash be placed in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting lids.

      This won’t happen because from DSNY on down to many have a gripe with trash cans, especially the metal variety.