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Volume 77, Number 6 | July 11 - 17, 2007

Chumley’s owner says famed bar’s comeback is on tap

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Walking-tour guide Michael Karp, center, paused outside Chumley’s last Thursday.

By Lucas Mann

After a collapse at 86 Bedford St. in April, the longtime home of Chumley’s bar and restaurant was in danger of staying a pile of rubble. Now, three months later, demolition crews are hard at work clearing the debris out of the building and preparing it for renovation.

“We’ve put about a week’s worth of work in so far, and in a couple of weeks, once the roof is abated, we will start up again,” said Gerald Eglentowicz, Jr., New York City operations manager for LVI/Mazzocchi Wrecking, Inc. “So far, we’ve removed the collapsed chimney and made way for shoring to be put in place to support the building.”

Eglentowicz emphasized just how massive the job is that they’re trying to accomplish.

“Usually a building in this shape would be torn down,” he said. “But with a building as historically significant as this one, they wanted to make sure that we do everything possible to save it. We still need to do phase two: remove the south and east walls.”

Steve Shlopak, owner of Chumley’s, which occupies the building’s ground floor, is happy about how the repairs are going.

“It’s a major reconstruction of a full-sized brownstone, so, obviously, it’s a lot of work,” he said. “Everybody is working really hard and cooperating to make sure the job is done well. The Department of Buildings and our landlords have been very cooperative.”

Shlopak said he looked forward to the building’s restoration and Chumley’s grand reopening, hopefully, by Oct. 1.

Eglentowicz also thinks the project is moving along well, but foresees his crew spending a lot more time at the site.

“We’ll be back on the job by Aug. 1 and I think we could spend a good eight more weeks in there,” he said.

LVI/Mazzocchi are only in charge of the demolition. The reconstruction and refurbishing of the space will occur after their job is done. Eglentowicz said he could not speculate on when the entire renovation would be completed.

Whenever the project is done, Shlopak is planning a rousing party to celebrate the building’s renovation and the reopening of one of Greenwich Village’s most-storied establishments. Actually, he said, it’ll be more like, “Five parties in a row.”

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