Openings & Closings: The Migrant Kitchen, Athleta, Zai’s Dessertery

The Migrant Kitchen, which serves “Middle Eastern Latin fusion food”, is opening on Columbus off of 67th Street. Middle Eastern Latin fusion means tortas and shawarmas sit next to each other on the menu. It has a social mission too. “For every meal purchased at The Migrant Kitchen, we donate a meal to a New Yorker in need,” the website says. You can also sign up to receive a free cucumber lemonade or hibiscus iced tea when they open. Thanks to Diana and Kara for the tips.

Athleta, the Gap-owned fitness gear store at 70th and Columbus, has closed its doors with a “goodbyes are never easy” sign on the door. The brand still has three other locations in Manhattan. Thanks to David. L, Kara and Terry for the tips.

Zai’s Dessertery, known for the “best macarons in New Jersey,” has opened its doors at 468 Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd-83rd. We last wrote about it here.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Leon says:

      I walked on the west side of Broadway between 72 and 79 last night and the darkness really highlights how empty the retail stores are in that stretch. It is incredibly dark and sad. Hopefully some of those empty storefronts will be occupied soon.

      Though I am not personally particularly interested, I was happy to see a good crowd at the recently opened Bareburger between 79 and 80.

      • Just Sayin says:

        why stop there, the area around 86th and above is not much better.

      • Steven Barall says:

        A bunch of the vacancies will surely be marijuana stores. I bet that a year from now between 59th Street and 96th Street west of Central Park there will be at least 50 pot stores. There might be 20 already.

        • Dan says:

          Yah, it will be horrible! Almost as bad as the proliferation of liquor stores after the end of prohibition.

      • Rhas Baba says:

        BWAY from 96 to 90 is basically a third world country between 6 straight blocks of scaffolding and homeless denizens. There should be regulation that mandates expedient repairs and removal of these eyesores. Instead, they go up and repairs do not begin for a year. Then it takes another year for the next inspection. How did this happen to beautiful NYC?

        • UWS-er says:

          Clearly written by someone who’s never set foot in a third world country.

          • UWS-er too says:

            I have LIVED in a third world country and been accosted less by beggars than I am when walking those blocks Rhas mentions. The other day by someone following and threatening me right outside Symphony Space. UWS is a mess.

    2. RAL says:

      damn. west side shopping is getting devastated.

      • SadforUWS says:

        No surprise. The Lincoln Square area on the UWS has the most vacant housing units of any neighborhood in New York City, according to the new census.

    3. hf says:

      The Swatch store on 72nd and Columbus is closing for good this Friday.

    4. Frustrated says:

      Athleta leaving. So no one still wants to grasp that some of the problems of the UWS of people wanting to live on the corner causes any problems with retail stores? Columbus Ave is getting as bad as Broadway. If people don’t want to walk by the storefronts as there are people living in the doorways, perhaps it might make some stores say good-bye. And it’s not the landlords this time. Why pay store rents to have people living outside on your sidewalk? Just saying, again.

      • Leon says:

        I am also frustrated by the growing number of people living on our sidewalks (though a few have been dealt with).

        That being said, I think you have your causation backwards – the empty storefronts are becoming homes for people once they are empty. No one “moves in” until the business is gone and there is no one to monitor the space. Having people living in front of adjacent empty stores doesn’t help business, but that is not the primary cause of the problem.

        This is why it is critical to get stores leased, even if it is something that doesn’t meet the high standards of the intelligentsia.

    5. Debbie says:

      Does anyone know what’s happening to the old Capezio’s on Amsterdam and 69th? I heard that it was going to become some kind of deli. There are permits posted fir the installation of kitchen equipment, etc. but it seems any work has been stalled. Just curious.

    6. Ellen says:

      Athleta is looking for another location on the UWS. Sounds like they already may have a location in mind.

    7. Christine E says:

      That’s a shame about Athleta. The UWS Athleta staff always was helpful and friendly, especially relative to other NYC Athleta locations. I looked forward to the return of in-store fitness classes there, at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

      • JBN says:

        Agree. Terrific store. Excellent service. One of the few places I know that will shorten pants and leggings for no additional charge. Hope you’re right that they’re planning to open another shop in the neighborhood.

    8. Lianne says:

      🍰 yea

    9. I thought you misspelled macaroon but no!
      Looked it up and learned something, so thanks for that:

      “In macarons, the two outside layers are meringue based, while the creamy filling varies in flavor. Macaroons are fully meringue based and have coconut throughout, whereas macarons do not have coconut, unless, of course, they are coconut flavored.”

      What can I tell you, I don’t speak desert…

      • SadforUWS says:

        what other random thoughts are on your mind? Everyone is on edge wanting to hear more.

      • Dan says:

        I can only assume you are also not familiar with cactuses either.

        • Carlos says:

          Very well done! Unfortunately, I’m guessing the person who the joke was intended for didn’t get it.

      • charles says:

        “What can I tell you, I don’t speak desert…”

        The UWS has always had the reputation of being a culinary desert

        Has that changed?

    10. Sunny's Mom says:

      Does anyone know what is going in on the corner of Columbus and W75th St. spot? NorthWest 75th St corner. They have been building it inside for months and months and put little windows outside to allow people to see the progress they even put in an elevator inside the stor on the last lookie-loo jaunt there. I think it’s exciting and hope it is something interesting going in to perk up the dismal vacancies we have been reading so much of lately.

    11. m.pipik says:

      There were many vacant stores on Bway & Columbus from Lincoln Center to 79th St well before COVID. If you are paying high rents you need lots of turnover of the merchandise. There were stores where I never saw customers and wondered how they managed to stay open as long as they did. Yes the rents were high, but how dumb were the merchants to take such big risks with what had to be long leases?

      Of course this was exacerbated by Amazon which has destroyed local shopping and the street life that came with it in most big cities.

      • EGF says:

        Everyone is so quick to blame the Big Bad Amazon when frankly they are nothing without their avid consumers. Place the blame where it really belongs…on you, me, and the hundreds of millions of other customers who continuously use them in lieu of shopping locally.

        • Kay McFadden says:

          Second that — we’re Amazon enablers. But also note that long before online became dominant, chain stores had taken over local retail. Their parent companies make stay-or-go decisions based on big picture revenue, not neighborhood connections. Their absolute similarity doesn’t create a distinctive presence to draw visitors. I love Athleta but the UWS store wasn’t as handy as the Flatiron where I work and certainly no different.

    12. JS says:

      High rents and ecommerce are causes of retail/commercial vacancies. The multitude of chains is also a factor. And it is looking like Target will further impact.

      But it is also more unpleasant to walk around the neighborhood – less sidewalk space due to restaurant expansion, more people panhandling plus nearly hit by cyclists.
      Now frequently crossing streets to avoid something….

    13. Melissa Hurwitz says:

      So tired of mediterranean restaurants.