New York's Landmark H&H Bagels Fights to Stay Open

A company official says the store can't afford its rent of $67,500 a month

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After the legendary but financially troubled H&H Bagels announced last week that it would be closing, it seems the company is trying hard to stay in its famed storefront on 80th Street and Broadway, or at least stay in the Upper West Side. But it's not having a ton of success just yet. Breaking the company's silence on the closure, national business manager Marc Fintz told concerned neighbors in a community meeting that the store was behind on its rent, and couldn't afford its monthly payments of $67,500. It was looking for a reduction  to "somewhere in the $40,000s," DNAinfo reported, and landlord Friedland Properties didn't seem eager to take the loss. "It's now likely the famed bagel store will close on Thursday, Fintz said." It will try to reopen in the neighborhood.

It's been a rough few years for H&H, which is well-known as one of the city's premier bagel makers, but which has been embroiled in tax troubles and labor strife, with owner Helmer Toro serving 50 weekends in jail. In February the company declared bankruptcy. But Fintz told the news site that the store fell behind on its rent for other, unrelated, "economic things."

Thirty years ago, H&H Bagels cost 20 cents a piece, said Besser. Today, an H&H bagel sells for $1.40. H&H would have to jack up prices to $2.40 per bagel or $26 a dozen to afford its current rent, Fintz said. 

"We think people love the product, but at a certain point...," Fintz said, trailing off.

Toward the end of the meeting, somebody suggested he might know someone with the needed extra hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around, DNAinfo said. "He and Fintz exchanged email addresses." Perhaps we will see a miracle on 80th Street after all.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.