First Colony Records and now they take our Chicken Soup???
It was two years ago (time doesn’t fly, it rockets by) that Colony Records announced it was closing its doors forever. It was a sad day, of course, especially for those of us who shopped there as young actors (this guy) or those tourists who were looking for a signed Alf poster.
The closing meant the end of an era and the change in our industry (who buys CDs and sheet music anymore . . . and Alf?).
I’m sad to report that another era has has come and gone, as the famed Cafe Edison, with its monster matzo ball soup, will be closing its doors by the end of the year.
If you don’t know the Cafe Edison on 47th St., which occupies a corner of the Hotel Edison (which is undergoing a much needed renovation and therefore kicking out the Cafe in exchange for a “white-tablecloth restaurant with a name chef”), make sure you stop by at least once before it shutters forever.
Honestly, don’t stop by for the food. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the eats (I still wonder why my OJ isn’t fresh squeezed but costs the same), but that’s not why you should go.
The Cafe Edison, or “Polish Tea Room,” as it was called, is one of the last remnants of old school Broadway. It’s where the industry collected to close deals, celebrate hits, and gossip about flops. (They even held the meetings deciding the Tony Nominations there!) But what I loved about it was it was a teeny tiny room packed by every type of industry professional. It wasn’t a Producer’s hangout. It wasn’t a stagehand hangout. It was for everyone. And in our dysfunctional family of a business – that ain’t too easy to sustain. But, if you know the history of the owners of the Cafe (read this fantastic article from Playbill about Manny Azenberg’s thoughts on the closing), then it’s easy to see why people wanted to be a part of their family. Neil Simon even wrote a play about the Tea Room, called 45 Seconds from Broadway (which unfortunately only lasted about 45 seconds on Broadway and signaled the end of a comedic era on Broadway as well).
It wasn’t the prettiest of diners. But it had characters . . . and frankly, it was a character, and will be sorely missed.
Pay your respects to the Edison before it goes away. Because whether you ate there or not, it was within those walls that much of our modern industry was shaped.
My only question is . . . where will the industry get shaped in the future?
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