By Sabina Mollot
One of the members of the family that owns Ess-a-Bagel was taken to the hospital last Monday after he was hit by a car on the street outside the now closed bagel shop.
The accident occurred close to 11 a.m., according to the FDNY, and the victim, Michael Wenzelberg, was taken to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel.
According to another owner, David Wilpon, Wenzelberg, who’s in his early 50s and is Wilpon’s brother-in-law, suffered a broken rib and some bruising and sprains. “But,” he added, “It could have been worse” as there was no internal bleeding.
Wilpon didn’t see the accident, but said his wife did and there is video footage. He added that Wenzelberg had been in the crosswalk at the time. It wasn’t a hit-and-run and the driver was female, though Wilpon didn’t know anything about her beyond that.
This happened as Wilpon and others were clearing things out of the shop, which closed that day. Word of the accident soon spread on the ST-PCV Tenants Association Facebook page.
As T&V first reported, Ess-a-Bagel closed after not having its lease renewed earlier this year. Wilpon said the landlord told him he was taking too long to sign on the dotted line, while the landlord, an LLC run by L&M head Ron Moelis and others, said Ess-a-Bagel refused to budge when the landlord wanted a rent increase.
As for where Ess-a-Bagel is headed next, Wilpon wouldn’t say anything other than he was close to a deal for a space that was bigger and better than its original location.
Over the phone last Thursday, the part-owner of the now closed Cooper laundromat on First Avenue told T&V that Ess-a-Bagel had expressed in that space. However, Wilpon wouldn’t confirm or deny this.
The laundromat’s owner added that he was not being forced out by the landlord, who he called “a decent guy,” but there were other issues, and the decision to close, which happened on Friday, March 20, was “a done thing.”
Meanwhile, the Ess-a-Bagel space, as the building owner confirmed in January, was to be taken over by a Bank of America and another bagel restaurant called Tal Bagels. However, curiously this week, a sign went up on a nearby storefront, last occupied by Beehives & Buzzcuts, stating that Tal Bagels would soon be arriving there. Additionally, a neighborhood resident told T&V a sign announcing Tal’s arrival also went up on the now-closed Rose restaurant space next to Ess-a-Bagel.
Last week, an employee of the owner of Beehives & Buzzcuts building told Town & Village the space had not yet been rented and that any work going on inside was probably just for the benefit of the owner. A call left with the company, Sassouni Management, this week, was not returned. T&V also reached out to Tal Bagels, which has a location already open on the Upper West Side, but an employee who picked up the phone said a manager wasn’t in. The employee also wouldn’t answer questions about the First Avenue store, though this may have been due to a language barrier.
A spokesperson for the LLC that owns the Ess-a-Bagel said its new tenant was moving in — and soon. However, he declined to confirm who it was.
In an emailed statement, the LLC said, “A new tenant is taking over the space and we will be making a formal announcement when that happens.”