Monday, February 20, 2012

The Real Reason For Sweet Melissa's Closing?

Screen Shot 2012-02-07 at 11.32.59 AM
photo 1
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Hmm! Perhaps there was more to the recent closing of Sweet Melissa, the patisserie on Court Street near Douglass Street, than owner Melissa Murphy's farewell message in the window revealed.
Murphy explained that she was shifting her focus back to her passion of baking and developing new recipes. She announced that she would continue her business out of her other store in Park Slope (175 7th Avenue).
On Friday afternoon, the King's County Marshal's office taped a "Legal Possession"sticker on the storefront at 276 Court Street, which Melissa's vacated on February 7th. Such proceedings mean "the tenant remained in possession of the premises after the expiration of the lease term without the landlord's permission, and/or non-payment proceedings, where the tenant is alleged to have defaulted on the payment of rent."
The patisserie had been a part of this community since 1998.

(Thanks for the photo, Mary)

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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I did smell to much marketing in her farewell note.

Sad that I was right in a way...

Oh I see an Italian American name as the landlord, could it be another "old timer" hating the newcomers or the greedy kind that loves them for their dollars?

Anonymous said...

"an Italian American name as the landlord"...that it totally inappropriate, Anon, and you know it. If Melissa didn't pay her rent, then she deserves to leave...regardless of the ethnicity of the landlord. Also, Melissa is hardly a newcomer. Give me a break. This is 2012.

Michael said...

I was quite friendly with Melissa and her partner Chris and they were always gracious and always wonderful. I've known them for years and it was wonderful having Sweet Melissa's on Court St. If anything, whatever happened would more than likely have been the landlord's doing. I don't think to suggest that anything dark or ominous happened is accurate or responsible. As you can see, the first comment, not-so-bravely by "Anonymous" says "I did smell too much marketing in her farewell note" - again someone suggesting that Melissa was too much of a player or a saleswoman. Completely false and without basis in reality. Melissa's note was gracious, given the sad circumstances. And this sort of thing amounts to what is known as "character assassination", which people seem to constantly get away with under the cloak of the Internet - and irresponsible comments.

The landlords in this neighborhood are committing what amounts to business genocide in the neighborhood by gouging business owners in the area with unaffordable rents, and putting out of business a lot of the businesses that helped build up the credibility of this very neighborhood and helped transform it from a Mafia slum into a place that is more fun and has better food than pizza and pasta every two blocks, as it was before the transformation. And it's only the old-timers who mistakenly miss the "old days" of hitmen, goons, idiotic toughguys, and drug dealers (some of these goons and meatheads, are regrettably still around). Now we've lost one of the better outposts of good food in the area.

"Anonymous", if you want to make accusations about someone's character, I suggest you collect more evidence than your superficial analysis and shallow interpretation of a note on a window. If you want to contribute to the neighborhood, do some research, rather than making statements that are as dumb and uninformed as "Sad that I was right in a way..." without having a shred of evidence. You just made yourself judge, jury, and executioner with your misguided and slanderous comment.

Katia said...

Thanks, Anon 4:30. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just said what most of the people thought when they saw the name. Just a "raw comment". I do agree it is inappropriate, but I'm very upset about those old timers in one hand bashing the new comers (last 10 years or so, you're right Melissa is border line) and in another hand cashing out the astronomical rents. I understand that not all old timers are landlords or reluctant to change in our nabe, but most of the old timers are connected/friends, so start the blame in our own "circle first".

Secondly, there are always 2 sides to a story and "you know it". I understand she did not pay the rent, and that's wrong for sure, but do we know if the landlord hiked her rent recently? Like a similar spike we have seen in others commercial rents on Smith or Court, that forced numerous business to close?

Anonymous said...

Hooray --- the internet airs dirty laundry. For what purpose?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Katia, I'm Anon 4:30 pm. I feel that I have to express how appalled I am by the remark made by the OP. Since when did greed become an Italian-American trait, may I ask him or her? The last time I looked, greed is a universal fault transcending all ethnicities the world over. Such bigotry is outrageous, and OP can't wiggle out of this one. I'll just be charitable and attribute it to an unfathomable degree of ignorance and stupidity and end it there.

Anonymous said...

Juicy!

Michael said...

I was quite friendly with Melissa and her partner Chris and they were always gracious and always wonderful. I've known them for years and it was wonderful having Sweet Melissa's on Court St. If anything, whatever happened would more than likely have been the landlord's doing. I don't think to suggest that anything dark or ominous happened is accurate or responsible. As you can see, the first comment, not-so-bravely by "Anonymous" says "I did smell too much marketing in her farewell note" - again someone suggesting that Melissa was too much of a player or a saleswoman. Completely false and without basis in reality. Melissa's note was gracious, given the sad circumstances. And this sort of thing amounts to what is known as "character assassination", which people seem to constantly get away with under the cloak of the Internet - and irresponsible comments.

The landlords in this neighborhood are committing what amounts to business genocide in the neighborhood by gouging business owners in the area with unaffordable rents, and putting out of business a lot of the businesses that helped build up the credibility of this very neighborhood and helped transform it from a Mafia slum into a place that is more fun and has better food than pizza and pasta every two blocks, as it was before the transformation. And it's only the old-timers who mistakenly miss the "old days" of hitmen, goons, idiotic toughguys, and drug dealers (some of these goons and meatheads, are regrettably still around). Now we've lost one of the better outposts of good food in the area.

"Anonymous", if you want to make accusations about someone's character, I suggest you collect more evidence than your superficial analysis and shallow interpretation of a note on a window. If you want to contribute to the neighborhood, do some research, rather than making statements that are as misguided and uninformed as "Sad that I was right in a way..." without having a shred of evidence. You just made yourself judge, jury, and executioner with your theoretical and slanderous comment.

Michael said...

I suggest that if you want to comment here, try to at least respect a little bit of journalistic integrity, even if you don't have it in you - because, these days, many people rely on these amateurish comment threads that are all over the Internet, rather than actual journalism, which is being priced out.

We all have something to say - but it is not always as important as we think it is when it runs through our minds and seems like a flash of brilliance from a favorite and/or local deity.

Anonymous said...

Michael, Michael, Michael...I agree that there are always two sides of any story. I'm sure that Melissa is a lovely person, and whatever happened is between her and her landlord. But in defending her -- which you are certainly entitled to do as a friend -- please don't dump all "old-timers" into the same bucket who "miss the old days of goons..." How can you say that?

I am "old-timer," albeit in my late-50s, having grown up in CG and still living here, and I certainly don't fit the mold of what you and others think old-timers are. There are many, many "old-timers" in CG like me who are educated, working professionals, and they would resent your remarks just as much as I do. You are just perpetuating unfortunate stereotypes.

I have seen the changes over the decades, many welcome, some not; but I certainly don't consider myself or my neighbors to be lovers of hitmen, goons, and the like. I never considered myself having lived in a Mafia slum, as you call it. Your remarks are hurtful to those of us who persevered and stayed in CG (rather than fleeing in the 60s and70s) and worked hard to make the neighborhood a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

May I suggest you take your own advice to OP about making misguided statements. Please already!

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael

I'm anonymous 2:30 and 8:12pm.

First on my "anonymous" status... wow... you are right "Michael" is so not "anonymous"...

Second, when I said "I did smell too much marketing in her farewell note", I was refering to the marketing, the PR, you resent when someone, not competent, underperforming at the executive level and instead of "fired", it says "John decided to start ventures and wishes him the best". This is the feel I got from reading the note: the real reason of the move was not there and she covered it by "we are excited to make sweet melissa's the best it can be- a one stop location", no kidding? Excited because you got boot out of your place? Really?

Later, on the note she said "a shift in focus back to my passion will bring my strenghts to the forefront once again". So without the end of the lease, she would have run the business instead of doing what she does best?

Again, I'm sad she is leaving, but please cut the Bull-sh--t, just to respect your customers by telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

I think their business model/cutesy look wasn't working as it might once have. Chocolate Room (even though expensive) has a better finger on the current pulse when it comes to treats and high quality.

Michael said...

Michael REISS. Now you can run any kind of background check on me or remember me when you want to slander me like you seem to have done to Melissa.

As far as Melissa's note - what did you expect her to say in her note? Did you expect her to write a long, rambling explanation to you and all of the customers who she knows all have different interpretations and different damages? Of course not. She's running a business still (in Park Slope - one stop, yes) and needs to keep her communications as concise and professional as possible, while also maintaining a warm touch. Writing an overly detailed explanation of every tiny, petty detail of the loss of something that probably meant a lot to her and where she spent much time and, I'm sure, had at least a substantial emotional investment is not what any reasonable person expects.

I'm sticking to the facts here and how businesses are run, what owners have to consider - I've done similar kind of work in the past.
I, unlike Melissa, do have the time and the freedom to explain the minutiae to you, at this point.

I think people seem to be taking this as an opportunity to slander and bully Melissa as she departs this neighborhood. There's a lot of agreement that to throw potshots at someone on their way out from an "Anonymous" perch represents the inherent cowardice of the Internet, the ugly side of what is possible with the new freedom we have here. But that is what people do on the Internet. It is the perfect way for people who are either vicious or impotent to vent all of their venom and bile on people who they don't have any chemistry with and who may have a grudge or a bone to pick with someone like Melissa for whatever reason. Look at the crazy cowardice of Yelp, for example - of course we do live in a world where people get clobbered for speaking their minds openly and identifying themselves, but I don't think anyone has anything to fear in Melissa's case. Unless you find getting a pie thrown at you not funny. I have always wanted a pie thrown at me. :)

Anonymity is wonderful if you're in a vulnerable position, but stop using it to spew toxic comments on people not in a position to defend themselves or trying to force others to have to engage in a petty battle over foregone conclusions. It's simply adding insult to injury.

I'm sure if you really want to know what happened, there are easy ways to ask Melissa - how about checking out her website or her Facebook page and emailing her? Or call her directly at the Park Slope location. Far more noble than assuming that it was a shady deal that went down because that's what you think happened and because your thought was "Sad that I was right in a way..." Are you right? Did you talk to Melissa personally? Call her and report back to us. Till then - stop making things up and passing them off as some sort of truth. Because that's only GOSSIP.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. Will everyone shut the f up?
Oh my god. A "mafia slum"?!? Isn't that an oxymoron?
Or perhaps just written by a moron? Have respect for those "old timers." What are you, 12? Move back to Park Slope!

Michael said...

At any rate, comment threads often get down and dirty. If anything, there's a release that satisfies us all, like the above comment asking me politely and delicately to shut the fuck up.

You can call any comment moronic or disrespectful, whatever you want. These comments are really just a community debate and we are all able to make extreme, polite, or insignificant chatter here. "Old timers" deserve respect just as much as someone who moves down the street from me next month. There is no earning respect automatically for having been anywhere longer. There is no rule or city ordinance that gives any privileges to "old timers", Sicilians, made guys, guys with bigger guns, or people with more money.

Welcome to the extreme democracy of the Internet. Shake off the comments you don't agree with, because there are always more debates and comments to come. We could all use thicker skin.

This neighborhood does not belong to any one group in particular. It belongs to anyone who lives here at any given moment in time. That's actually closer to the way things work LEGALLY. And that's the way most New Yorkers choose to live, allowing us all mobility and opportunity. And that's why the mob likes to use coercion and illegal tactics - because it's the law of the street, thug tactics.

Anonymous said...

Wow some of you really sound like 9 year old little rat tattle tails! Seriously meatheads goons?? Do you personally know the all the people that you are name calling from this neighborhood? My family has kived in this neighborhood for ov 90 years. Yes my grandmother was born in thehome she lives in now. You should keep your childish comments to yourself you make all the newcomers look worse than they already do. Not even going to give you the satisfaction of addressing your ignorance any further.
To katia - I think you fail to realize a lot of your " fox 5 on your side" style reporting can be harmful. Here's why. So sweet melisa failed to pay her rent or whatever the case. Is it necessary to shed any additional light on this? Shes talented brought no harm to anyone baked her cakes and minded her business. Her issue is a private matter with her landlords let her handle it with some discretion. Why do we all need to see or speak of her dirty laundry? She wasn't smuggling drugs to neighborhood kids in her scones. I've seen you do this type of reporting to regular working people just trying to make a living which seems to be near impossible for a lot of folks these days. Investigating DOB records on simple residential home improvement jobs calling out violations in public...do you think at the end of the day the husband and wife trying to make a better home for their family are a danger to you or any one else if they extended their laundry room an extra 2 feet? I'm not referring to some money hungry developer launching a 20 story condo site. I'm talking about regular old hard working people. Don't bring burden and heart ache to good people. See that's why "old timers" can never accept outsiders with open arms. We know what community is we know How to treat each other there's an unspoken respect we don't rat each other out. Help your neighbor don't tattle on him. Simply put Sometimes you just need to know when to mind your own business

Maureen said...

Well I agree with the previous post on so many levels! I live here 50 yrs, family history goes back 150 yrs - I am not Italian, but take offense to the comments made, and that we were a "mafia slum". As per the previous post, this is a reason us 'old timers' dont' like 'new comers'. I am all for improvements, and new people and things changing - it's called progress people --BUT when you have people that come here and want to change everything that attracted them to this area in the first place,put Mom & Pop shops out of business, because we must all have big box & chain stores, and make this place " any town, USA" then I can't stand you! As far as this blog, I must also agree that you need to be smarter, and more careful about what is placed here. I used to read this everyday, now once in awhile, because it's boring and reports alot of crap that has no bearing except to belittle all of us when you but titles like " the real reason" - none of us know the reason - could be a deadbeat tenant, or a greedy landlord -- or somewhere in the middle. Basically, it's none of anyone's business. Sweet Melissa's didn't "flee in the night" and was decent to her customers and thankful for business, what else do you want? Sometimes there really is a thing as too much information, and then too much useless, un-necessary information.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks - it's the usual thing...

She knew she was moving and decided that she didn't need to pay her rent any more. The OLD "just take it out of my security" ploy.

But, perhaps she didn't even know she was behind in her rent - it's not like she was there that often and when she started doing TV she hired a store mgr.

CG since before St. Agnes said...

Michael 2/21 -

Sounds to me like you and Anon 2/21 @ 2:30 are the same person.

Having lived in CG since it was still called Red Hook and being part of a family that has been here since the 1800's
How dare you call this area a Former Mafia Slum.

Question: Are you so close to Melissa that you KNOW that (even if no fault of her own) her business was handled correctly? Perhaps a business mgr or accountant messed-up with her payments?
You see, it doesn't matter if her goodbye note was sincere or just an attempt at good business - just like it shouldn't matter to anyone (except her landlord) if she did or didn't pay her rent.

Yes - there are plenty of greedy landlords, but not every closed business will get a posting like Melissa's did.
But, the POSTING might also mean that the landlord has laid claim to any counters & fixtures she left behind. Anyone think of that? She's gone, left some stuff & he doesn't want her to claim it later when he rents it to the next bake shop!

Maureen - You are correct. Katia has gotten TOO petty with her choices of posts.

Raised in Carroll Gardens said...

Katia,

You never addressed the 3 people who thought you're "Fox 5" style of journalism is getting to be over the top.

Please try coming down from the tower once in a while - - - not everyone (and especailly not the people who have lived in C.G. for generations) have Beach Houses to spend weeks at a time in or have the means to spend a month in France every year.

Either start (re-start) being a true community watchdog OR just report on Tea Party's and Flower Shows.
Meanwhile, stop fueling the fire between Old Timers & New Comers. As I once wrote, everyone is welcome - the the neighborhood and to their own opinion. However...
If you moved here because you loved it, stop trying to change it. (This means you, too, Katia.)

elise said...

To Raised in CG - ouch! I am not Katia, but your attack on her life - was that necessary? She has always shared her adventures with us, and I for one, think it adds real character and breath to her blog. She does not have a narrow view, and her blog also gives the community a voice.

Katia said...

Thanks, Elise.

Raised in Carroll Gardens said...

Dear Elsie & Katia,

I was always a big fan and would generally say that Katia was (and still is) an important voice in C.G. and beyond. And her combination of Travel Log and Community Activist Blog was an uplifting blend of styles. And I still think Katia is well meaning and essential.
My point (as indelicate as it may have been) was to agree with 3 other entries made - that Katia is starting to sound like the neighborhood cramuggien (cria-muge-inn) and she is too young & too important to become the 'town grouch'.

Michael R. said...

Please stop blaming Katia for anything - she is simply expediting your comments as best she can. Not an easy job. If you are envious of something, try to be constructive, not infantile.

Running a blog is about being diplomatic also. And some comments need to be censored for the sake of the conversation being safe and constructive. Consider what you are saying and try to be factual before you submit a comment for approval.

Maria said...

Being Italian- American, I am highly offended by the ignorant and close minded comments I see on here. There are good and bad people in every race, group and ethnicity, and to imply that all Italians are "Greedy", "Goons" and "Meatheads" is ridiculous!

Then you wonder why so many people who worked hard to make their neighborhoods what they were see you as they do. If you don't like it, you can always move someplace else.

I agree that some people are greedy, because if I owned an apartment building, I would much rather have someone who grew up in the neighborhood living in it for cheaper rent, than SOME of the "hipsters" that are out there!