"It is with a heavy heart that we announce Gem Spa has poured it’s last legendary egg cream and closed its doors forever.
This has been an extremely difficult decision, and one we are heartbroken to make. Forced to close the store due to New York City & State Covid restrictions implemented six weeks ago in the interest of safety to our customers and staff, we had hoped to reopen once things stabilized. Prior to the crisis, it had become increasingly apparent that the evolving character of the area was no longer able to sustain a corner creation like ours.
Coronavirus concerns closed our city, cratered businesses, and ultimately sealed the fate of our (close to) 100-year-old shop.
After careful review and assessment of our options, we have made the heartbreaking but necessary decision to close permanently.
We have enjoyed the most incredible love, support, loyalty and friendship from our neighbors, city, and visitors from around the world. We are, and always will be, eternally grateful to the historical artists, musicians, designers and dedicated denizen’s who saw us as much more than a beloved bodega but an iconic East Village institution.
Although our physical doors are closing, we will live on through our website(https://gemspanyc.com) where we will be highlighting more of our rich history and the iconic figures that have made us who we are. We will also continue to sell Gem Spa branded merchandise as well as art, books and photographs inspired by our store.
The Patel family would like to thank everyone for all the beautiful memories and for the opportunity to serve you. We hope that all of you are staying safe and in good health. Lots of love from all of us to all of you."
To illustrate the vital importance of its illustrious history, Gem Spa is featured on the back cover of the first album by the New York Dolls. Poets Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan both mentioned the stand in their works, where Robert Mapplethorpe bought Patti Smith her first egg cream, Madonna shot Desperately Seeking Susan there in 1984, Lou Reed loved to get egg creams there, Jean-Michel Basquiat paid homage to Gem Spa in a 1982 painting. In 1966, The Village Voice called it the "official oasis of the East Village". Abbie Hoffman gathered people for his 1967 protest at the New York Stock Exchange at Gem Spa. it was known as a "hippie hangout". In the late 60s, it was midway between two other iconic venues, the Fillmore East and the Electric Circus, now gone forever. Interested media contact Workhouse, CEO, Adam Nelson, via firstname.lastname@example.org and visit https://gemspanyc.com
Madonna shooting a scene from "Desperately Seeking Susan" in 1984 at Gem Spa. Photograph by Godlis
The New York Dolls in 1973 at Gem Spa
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