Garment District: From hardware store to cafe
We present Simon Greenspan Hardware, which had been at 314 W. 36th St. since the 1930s and was much older. The shutter came down around 2007. Blink and its 2008, and all that's left of the hardware store is the old frame for its sign, which now promotes something more relevant to the increasingly residential neighborhood -- 36 West Bar & Grill.
The hardware store got its print send-off a few years before it closed, in the pages of The New York Times, which in 2002 described it thusly:
The history of New York City's garment district is on display -- or at least jumbled in a heap in a corner -- at Simon Greenspan Hardware ....
Garter-belt clips? Got 'em. Button-making supplies? Got 'em. Hangers that predate plastic? Kerosene lamps? Window-screen patches? Parts for machines no one has used since the Hoover administration? The shelves are brimming, and you should see the basement.
''Why throw it out?'' said Ronald Bernard Wittie, the proprietor, holding a circular piece of steel that he thinks dates from before 1931 (he has a boxful). ''I keep it in case some 90-year-old comes in and needs it.'' He added, ''I haven't sold any yet in 20 years.''
A business changes in the blink of an eye, especially in the New York of the past seven years or so. We've learned to take nothing for granted -- we passed the hardware store many times and never indulged our curiosity to poke our head inside. This we do regret.
-- Rolando Pujol
Garment District Past for Sale; Hardware Store's Shelves Display a Bygone Era [NY Times, 5/3/02]