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Jon Stewart, David Letterman, 'Mad Men' and more things NYC will miss in 2016

Each year brings with it the clearing away of old favorites in NYC to make room for the new.

The year 2015 was no different, as beloved dive bars closed down, late night hosts signed off for a new generation and the iconic television show that captured the city, "Mad Men," faded to an inspiring Coke commercial.

Jeremiah Moss, the creator of the blog Vanishing New York, says it's especially important to record the disappearance of local shops.

"It's important that we pay attention to these annual vanishings, because the vast majority of them, year after year, are due to huge rent hikes and there's nothing protecting small businesses from this kind of eviction," he said in an email.

Read on for what we'll miss as 2016 begins.

Winnie's Bar & Restaurant and other dive bars

Bars and restaurants seem to disappear from the
Photo Credit: Shawn Hoke via Flickr

Bars and restaurants seem to disappear from the city in a blink, and this year saw some stalwart dives serve their last drinks. Among those on the R.I.P. list were Winnie's Bar & Restaurant, which some people claimed was the best place to belt out some karaoke in downtown Manhattan, as well as Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Even Hogs & Heifers Saloon, erstwhile home of imposing bikers in the Meatpacking District, was wiped away. The story for many of them was the same: Rising rent costs had just spiraled out of their owners' reach.

Toys "R" Us in Times Square

Even giants aren't immune to rent hikes. The
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Even giants aren't immune to rent hikes. The Toys "R" Us flagship store in Times Square -- a behemoth so large it fit a Ferris wheel -- closed on Wednesday after 14 years in the center of it all. The loss rippled through the media, and was doubly painful because it followed the loss of the beloved FAO Schwarz store in July. Also owned by Toys "R" Us, FAO Schwarz faced a costly rent hike. Toys "R" Us has said it is looking for new locations for both stores, so we may yet see them both resurrected. Perhaps in Queens?

David Letterman does his final Top Ten List

For decades, David Letterman helped to define late
Photo Credit: CBS / John Paul Filo

For decades, David Letterman helped to define late night. For New Yorkers, he also made his nightly gig a showcase for the city itself, going into the streets for gags and riffing off local news in his monologues. With his departure from late night on May 20, 2015, after 33 years, not only did the city lose a gifted showman but also someone who could help us laugh at ourselves when we needed it.

Avignone Chemists of the Village

Avignone Chemists, which had been in the Village
Photo Credit: Ed via Flickr

Avignone Chemists, which had been in the Village since 1929, was finally forced out of its location because of a rent hike. Customers lamented the loss of the neighborhood institution, one even writing a letter to the Villager. "It is shameful that there is still no law protecting such businesses and preventing the further destruction of the character of our neighborhoods, and the fabric that keeps our communities vital," wrote Sheila Sperber Haas.

'Mad Men' goes out with an era

From its pitch-perfect period details to its obsessive
Photo Credit: AMC

From its pitch-perfect period details to its obsessive invocation of the Big Apple as the big backdrop for a heart-wrenching drama about advertising executives on Madison Avenue, "Mad Men" captured a side of the city that had rarely been on screens before. We loved and hated Don Draper, but also saw in him that quintessential New York striving that turned him into a walking brand for himself.

The Birdman closes up his Rainbow Music shop

Rainbow Music in the East Village wasn't a
Photo Credit: Google

Rainbow Music in the East Village wasn't a glitzy record shop. It wasn't even pretending to be something that you'd want to walk into. Its shelves were disorderly, crammed with albums and CDs reaching nearly to the ceiling. The man who ran it, known simply as the Birdman, had for 17 years made the record shop on First Avenue if not the messiest but also the least likely to survive in an era of digital music. Finally, in September, he decided he was closing at the end of that month, the New York Times reported. "I don't need the aggravation anymore, and this is aggravation," the Birdman, then 73, told the Times.

100-year-old Caffe Dante

Caffe Dante, a 100-year-old Greenwich Village spot, announced
Photo Credit: dotpolka via Flickr

Caffe Dante, a 100-year-old Greenwich Village spot, announced in the spring that it would close. The coffee shop had earned its place in NYC guide books, and was a beloved stop for many New Yorkers.

Jon Stewart signs off from late night

First David Letterman, then Jon Stewart left the
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

First David Letterman, then Jon Stewart left the late night landscape when he exited "The Daily Show" as host in August. It was a changeover that bookended two different generations' styles of comedy, but also signaled a shift in the direction of where culture was headed. Like Letterman, Stewart made it clear on his show he was a New Yorker, one of us, sharing both our laughter and grief, while living in one of the most impossible cities. One of his last guests on his show, President Barack Obama, made his seventh appearance with Stewart, even jokingly saying he would issue an executive order that Stewart could not leave the show.

Farewell to: 'Mamma Mia!'

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew H. Walker

"Mamma Mia!", the ABBA musical that became the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history, closed on Sept 12. It had run for 14 years on the Great White Way, offering up a heady mix of cheesy disco from the Swedish pop group, a romantic comedy plot and classic musical patterns. It seemed ready-made for the cultural moment, and it probably won't be too long before it gets revived.

1st Zaro's Bakery closes

Zaro's Bakery may be best known to many
Photo Credit: News 12 the Bronx

Zaro's Bakery may be best known to many New Yorkers as a go-to eatery at places like Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. But the bakery chain has NYC roots going back decades. And the first location was not in Manhattan or even at a transit hub -- it was in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx, where it opened 55 years ago. But after Dec. 28, the original location will close, forced out by demands for higher rent from the landlord.

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