Today’s news:

Tea Lounge to close in July!

for The Brooklyn Paper

South Slope writers, mommies and, yes, even a few coffee lovers, were crying in their lattes this week at the news that the original Tea Lounge — a neighborhood staple on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 10th Street — will close at the end of July, a victim, its owner said, of soaring rent demands.

“It’s killing us,” said co-owner Greg Wolf, who opened the popular java joint in early 2001. “The closing is completely ruining our lives.”

Wolf blamed his landlord, Georgina Tufano, for doubling the rent on his small storefront, though he declined to reveal the dollar figure.

“It’s astronomical,” said Wolf, whose other bars are on Union Street in Park Slope and on Court Street in Cobble Hill.

Tufano could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer did not return a call.

Tea Lounge fans were distressed by the news. “I am certain that this is the end of my writing career,” said author Libba Bray, who wrote the better part of her four novels — including the forthcoming mad cow disease comedy, “Going Bovine” — on the third couch from the door.

“The Tea Lounge is like ‘Cheers’ with coffee,” she added. “It is the source of my creativity and my super-foxiness.”

Susan Fox, who is not only a Park Slope parent, but the founder of the seminal Park Slope Parents Web site, said the closure would hit local moms hard.

“It’s an iconic mommy meeting place,” said Fox, a mother of two. “I blame gentrification.”

Perhaps, but if high rents are the villain here, the Tea Lounge is a victim of its own success. When it opened, property values and rents in the area below Ninth Street were lower and bodegas were more common than tony coffee joints.

“When we moved in, the neighborhood was different — everything is more expensive now,” Wolf said. “The only businesses opening on Seventh Avenue now are national chains, banks or real-estate brokers.”

“At the price our landlord wants,” Wolf added, “we would have to sell a coffee to everyone in the borough every single day.”

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E.A. from park slope says:
"“It’s an iconic mommy meeting place,” said Fox, a mother of two. “I blame gentrification.”

Uh...The mommies ARE the gentrification.
May 23, 2008, 12:05 pm
DKA from North Slope says:
A victim of gentrification? That has to be the funniest thing I've ever heard.....rich white mothers being pushed out of the neighborhood by....richer white mothers. Please.
May 23, 2008, 1:36 pm
EPS from north park slope says:
Don't they have 3 different locations? I am sure they can afford the new rent as long as its current market rent. The place is always busy! Just raise the price of drinks by 25 cents and you got it covered.
I don't understand why they would just throw up their hands in the air and let a very successful, iconic place shut down.
May 23, 2008, 2:15 pm
geewiz from Park Slope says:
An ideal corner location...here comes the bank!
We all lose out on this one.
May 23, 2008, 4:41 pm
god below from park slope says:
the wrong people are complaining about this closing -- moms, &"writers"

one's writer's career is going to shut down because this store shuts down? ok, chicken lttle.

and then you have people like susan fox blaming this on gentrification. how rich/ironic is that?"
May 23, 2008, 5:57 pm
jesse from south slope says:
Yeah, those friggin' mothers and writers! What do they think New York is? A destination for creative types who also want to start families? No way! It's for people who either lived here for the last 40 years, or for venture capitalists! Get out and stay out, you bastard tea loungers!
May 26, 2008, 1:51 am
Jim from Hudson Valley says:
"creative types" and "writers"...95% of whom have a trust fund or are still living off parents....
May 26, 2008, 8:40 pm
melanie from center slope says:
wow, i am astounded by the haters on this post. the issue you should be sputtering about is that lack of rent regulation that leads to downward cycles in uptrending neighborhoods. i live in middle of 7th ave, where the center of the neighborhood is falling apart one store at a time due to sky-rocketing rents--what kind of store can truly afford $12,000/mo for ~1000sq ft, which is what they're asking for the book store that closed??? we're not talking 25cents per coffee cup here, and though it is hard to believe, it's the reality of the situation. i'm pretty comfortable calling it unmitigated greed by landlords who have no interest in preserving the community resources if there's a bank or real estate office who'll pay more for the space. this is my HOME, and i am a MOM, and i am a CREATIVE, and where the hell is my trust fund????? maybe if i find one lying around on the street then **I** can pay to keep the Tea Lounge open. Everyone I know in the neighborhood pays heartily to support the businesses we love, even when there are cheaper options a train stop away--and we will fight for the right to keep doing so. And when some of you need help some day, we'll probably show up and fight for you too, cause that's the kind of people WE are.
May 27, 2008, 11:27 am
holycow from South Slope says:
It's not the rent that's closing that location, or at least not directly--it's because the owner and the landlord don't get along. Bad blood between them is informing this chain of events, not the money.

I will not be sorry to see The Tea Lounge go, or miss its constant street litter and subpar coffee & tea. But I'm sorry to say it's replacement will probably be even worse, neighborhood-wise, especially considering the landlord doesn't even live in Brooklyn and has no real reason to consider the impact of who she rents to.
May 27, 2008, 11:31 am
bennylava from park slope says:
Good riddance. On every one of my few visits there over the years, the food and drinks have been overpriced and overrated and the staff uniformly surly at worst and put out by having to deal with customers at best. There is no charm, no warmth. The filthy couches are hideous, the people taking up half the sidewalk sitting in ridiculously big chairs irritating. Goodbye, affectation. Remember, not all businesses are inherently good and worthy and likeable just because they are local. You have to earn your reputation.
May 27, 2008, 3 pm
Mark B from Park Slope says:
There should be a formulaic approach to determining rent in a given area that would consider the number of patrons that frequent the area. Landlords have this delusion that Park Slope businesses should be paying Manhattan rent but they forget (or dont care) that Park Slope doesn't have the customer / consumer volume that Manhattan offers.
May 27, 2008, 11:09 pm
Larry says:
park slope landlords are pigs.
May 28, 2008, 4:35 pm
bennylava from park slope says:
larry, not to generalize or anything...
May 28, 2008, 9:49 pm
Matt from Park Dope says:
Where will all the Mac Books go? It's just greed people. Some other person has probably offered the landlord much more and is just trying to push Tea Lounge out. There's only 99 other places in Park Slope to get coffee and pretend like your writing a novel when you're really just writing a math test for First Graders.

ps: Yes, hilarious that Tea Lounge suffered from gentrification. Should just re-open in Bed-Sty then.
May 29, 2008, 9:36 pm
Justice from Upstate ny says:
Too bad i just found this story now.

If this is the same Georgina Tufano of New Paltz NY she is a scumbag. Her and her husband/boyfriend Dino Toscani are con artists. How ironic she doubles the rent but fails to pay contractors and other people.
But their days of ripping people off are coming to a end. If anyone who reads this has been ripped off by her please contact me at boycotttoscani@Yahoo.com.

If you are still there...don't pay her a penny. Give her a taste of her own medicine.

I'm sure this is the same person, but if it's not I apologize.
Dec. 23, 2008, 7:18 pm

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