By Carol Tannenhauser
A new “Clearance Sale” sign that went up on the window at West Side Judaica on Broadway between 88th and 89th Streets has neighbors worried. The judaica store said it was closing two years ago, and was only able to hold on after an outpouring of support — and shopping — by fans of the store.
Asked this week if this is the end, owner Yakov Salczer said he doesn’t want to say he’s closing. He did that last year and he doesn’t want to sound like the boy who cried wolf. But “it doesn’t look promising.”
West Side Judaica opened in 1934. Salczer bought the business in the 1980’s, and brought it to its current location. It sells a wide variety of Judaica, from books to religious items like Tefillin. J. Levine, another Judaica store, is about to close, leaving only two such stores left in the city.
Salczer said his rent is $24,000 a month for the past three years, and he can’t make it anymore. He has seven years left on his lease. He asked his landlord to lower the rent because “rents are going down on the UWS,” but the landlord wouldn’t budge.
“If I can raise some money, I’ll stay.” He’s going to try to do that through a big sale on everything, 30-80% off, which started yesterday. It will go on as long as he has merchandise.
So, he said, “we’ll see.”
We’re waiting for a response from the landlord.