Of all of New York’s longstanding institutions, Harlem’s Lenox Lounge stands out as one of the most iconic. According to a report from Black Enterprise, it appears the still-popular hotspot will be closing by the end of the year – but there is a chance a Hollywood legend may step in and save the day.
Owner Alvin Reed has hinted about the closing of the space since March of this year, after a published report from New York Daily News revealed that the former city cop couldn’t handle the increases in rent. Reed was seen as a savior after purchasing Lenox Lounge in 1988. Before he took over, the legendary club had lost much of its luster and was left to decay. Reed restored the lounge to much of its former glory and helped to revitalize Harlem in the process.
The jazz club, bar and lounge space first opened its doors in 1939, serving as a desired venue for several Jazz greats such as Miles Davis and Billy Holiday.
“The most important thing I did for the club was to institute a jazz policy, which played a major role in bringing more customers into the club,” said Reed to Black Enterprise. “I wanted to make a difference in Harlem, and I think my ownership of the Lenox Lounge helped me achieve that goal.”
Although he’s done his best to keep the lounge, he will have to vacate the property by the end of the year. A $10,000-per-month increase in rent stands as the reason Reed has elected to move on. Richard Notar, a managing partner with Nobu Restaurants, will be moving into the Lenox Avenue location and opening his Notar Jazz Club.
Any chances that Notar will keep the Lenox Lounge name and sign have been eliminated; this after Reed trademarked the name years prior. Reed is open to negotiating the use of the name, but there hasn’t been any concrete talks of yet.
Notar is close friends with Hollywood veteran actor Robert DeNiro, and Gothamist writes that a source has told them that the actor has “stepped in to save” Lenox Lounge. Stay tuned as this story is sure to develop.