AN ACTIVIST FOR NEW YORK’S MOM-AND-POP SHOPS

New Yorkers are familiar with things disappearing. Every week, it seems, some cherished antique diner, artwork-deliver shop, or punk den folds, to be supplanted through a CVS. (Latest Heartbreak: Sunshine Cinema, on the Lower East Side.) Requiems comply with. Then city lifestyles resume, at its punishing clip. For the beyond ten years, a blogger going by way of the pseudonym Jeremiah Moss has refused to allow go, grouchily chronicling every demise. The first entry of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, in July 2007, mourned the Greenwich Village speakeasy Chumley’s, which had closed after a chimney collapsed. When it reopened, now not long in the past, as a restaurant serving thirty-six-dollar cod, Moss became aghast. “The powers-that-be have frame-snatched Chumley’s,” he wrote.

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In 2014, Moss became from elegist to activist, whilst he launched a movement to store the Café Edison, a show-biz canteen on West Forty-seventh Street. He commenced a marketing campaign with the hashtag #SaveCafeEdison and organized lunch mobs, causing numerous hundred New Yorkers to swarm the place for matzo-ball soup. It closed besides, however, Moss stored the movement going, lobbying politicians with #SaveNYC tweet storms and staging a funeral for a doomed shoe-restore save in the Empire State Building. Through all of it, he obsessively hid his identification.

Jeremiah Moss is now prepared to unmask himself. He is Griffin Hansbury, a 40-six-year-antique psychoanalyst, and social employee. “It’s tense,” he said on the latest afternoon, sitting near Astor Place. He might have been fallacious for an undercover agent—black cap, shades, purple beard—were it no longer for a T-blouse that stated “More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs.” Hansbury grew up in Massachusetts. He first visited New York in 1978, while he was seven years vintage and followed his father, an apparel salesman, on a business journey. On his manner to peer “Annie,” Hansbury was enthralled with the aid of the “scruffy sidewalk buskers” in Times Square. In 1993, he moved to the town to get a master’s degree in creative writing at New York University and settled in an East Village walkup, wherein he still lives. (“It becomes simply bought by means of an L.L.C. Behind an L.L.C.,” he said. “They need to get us all out.”) Back then, his favorite spots were Verchovyna Tavern, on Seventh Street (vanished in 2005), and the De Robertis pasticcio, in which he would get pignoli cookies (2014). He looked at a spot on Astor Place where there used to be a car parking zone. “There turned into a guy on the other aspect who bought pornography,” he stated, wistfully. “He had a table of milk crates packed with antique porn magazines.”

The biggest alternate within the community, he said, has been the demographic: punks and Ukrainians have been displaced by using yuppies. Hansbury, who is transgender, became transitioning within the nineties, and he observed a domestic within the downtown counterculture. Now, he said, “I feel alienated in my own community. It’s like a frat house.” He changed into feeling mainly glum in 2007, after writing a unique approximately a dyspeptic East Villager named Jeremiah Moss. When he started Vanishing New York, he didn’t provide many concepts to the usage of a pen name, however, he quickly discovered that writing as Jeremiah changed into liberating: “If you took the crankiest part of me and remoted it, it would be him.” The novel became never posted, however “Jeremiah” picked up heaps of readers, who sent in guidelines on endangered mother-and-pop shops. Hansbury said, “I’ve been writing and looking to put up seeing that college, and having little to no success, after which this Jeremiah comes along and it’s, like, no trouble.”

Hansbury decided to show himself, he said, so he can show up at his personal rallies and on panels. Also, “Vanishing New York” is now a book. Walking down St. Mark’s Place, beyond a darkish-glass, constructing that he called the Death Star, he cited a study that measured pedestrians’ pores and skin conductivity outside a wish Whole Foods and on an extra assorted road. “They determined that blocks which can be all this glass stuff virtually shorten the lives of senior residents, because they’re so miserable,” he said. He stopped at Gem Spa, a stalwart cigarette-and-candy store, wherein he ordered an egg cream.