Have any tips on where the owner might be or memories related to this shop? Please drop me a line.
As one might expect, the businesses in this corner of the city—not far from Times Square and around the corner from the main branch of the New York Public Library with the iconic lions out front—cater largely to those passing through town. Places to eat and drink, from international, mega-chains with thousands of branches worldwide like McDonald's (36, 899) and Starbucks (25, 085), to smaller, local ones, like Zibetto Espresso (three) and Bravo Pizza (four), share the area with banks and boutiques, and the Tapei Economic and Cultural Office. In the space where New York Gourmet once stood is the Nat Sherman Townhouse, a purveyor of tobacco-related goods, built to look European and old, the dormer window on the roof and large arched window with a clock at its center suggest Paris and the Beaux-Arts architectural style that was all the rage in New York between the last few decades of the nineteenth century and the first two of the twentieth. The image is Old World charm. The reality is twenty-first-century whimsy. Nat Sherman may have been in business since 1930, as the words on the store front announce, but the townhouse has only been there since 2007.
While certainly pleasant, a conversation with a Nat Sherman employee who had arrived in the U.S. from Torino, Italy, just three years prior, brought me no closer to finding out anything about the former occupant, other than the fact that apparently before Nat Sherman moved in, a Chinese restaurant had operated out of the same space. Nor has any of my research thus far told me more about the business, its years of operation or who ran it. At the very least, based on the word "gourmet," which anticipated terms like the more populist "foodie" or upscale "artisanal" to describe a devotion to quality ingredients and preparation, I suspect New York Gourmet was likely established sometime in the early 1980s.