Harlem’s Legendary Lenox Lounge Appears To Be Dead

January 20, 2016

General views of Lenox Lounge before and after the facade was stripped of its Art Deco details and sign located at 288 Lenox Avenue in Harlem in New York CityGothamist reports that there was hope for a while that Harlem’s legendary Lenox Lounge—which closed in 2012 following a rich 73 years history—would one day reopen, preserving a slice of history in an area that’s undergoing significant changes. Unfortunately, it looks as though the storied jazz bar and former speakeasy won’t be undergoing a revitalization, as plans to reopen the club look to have fallen through. Jeremiah Moss found a bleak scene during a recent visit, with the venue still boarded up and “[left]…behind to rot.”

Back in 2014, there were reports that Lenox would be revived in some way by Richard Notar, a managing partner of the Nobu fleet, and then later, a plan by original Lenox owner Alvin Reed and business partner Dean Schomburg, who were going to reopen the bar in a different space along Lenox Avenue. Neither of these plans came to fruition, however, with Notar reportedly setting his sights on a different space in Harlem.

The year Lenox 2.0 was due to open, Reed was embroiled in a multimillion dollar lawsuit with the club’s former landlord for allegedly stripping fixtures from the bar after he was ousted. According to Moss, Reed himself took the famous neon sign that illuminated the exterior immediately following the New Year’s Eve closure back in 2012.

When Lenox was first ousted, the landlord doubled the rent on the Lenox Avenue space from $10,000 to $20,000, an untenable amount to Reed at the time. Now Moss has uncovered real estate listings that have the Lenox space and its neighbor listed for $40,000. Surely the brand new development across the street—with ensuite Whole Foods—has nothing to do with it.

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