Anthony Macagnone (center) reopened Sal Anthony’s in Gramercy in 2017. (Pictured) Macagnone with wife Cynthia Graham and son Anthony Jr. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Gramercy business owner Anthony Macagnone died on Wednesday, January 23, from esophageal cancer. He was 79.
Macagnone was most well-known throughout the Gramercy neighborhood as the owner of two very different businesses both operating under the name Sal Anthony’s: a restaurant and a fitness studio.
Although Macagnone’s career in the restaurant business started more than 50 years ago, his most constant presence in the neighborhood in the last 20 years has actually been through Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon, which he opened in 1999 after leasing an old beer hall and former restaurant on Third Avenue.
The original restaurant, which Macagnone opened when he bought a spot on Irving Place in 1966 after working at the nearby Pete’s Tavern, was open until about 10 years ago when he was forced to close over a dispute with the landlord about rent, but he was able to reopen the restaurant on Third Avenue and East 19th Street under the same name two years ago.
The Tenants Association is up to its old tricks again – forcing residents to list their name publicly (even if they don’t pay dues), or the TA will not act on their behalf, as a tenants’ representative.
I received an official looking letter from the TA, even though I have never paid dues to them. The letter said I must choose between two unappealing choices:
Choice A: I must list my name as a “Public Member” of the TA. The letter says that the TA will only speak for those who are willing to be listed publicly as Public Members.
Choice B: If I do not list my name, the TA states that I waive all rights to any benefit that a Court may award to residents of Stuyvesant Town. Choice B states:
“I do not wish to become a Public Member and hereby grant to the STPCV TA, its President or Secretary, and any legal counsel chosen by the Board of Directors standing permission to enter into settlements of legal claims with benefits which may accrue solely to those who sign the Public Member Pledges, and we waive any claim to such benefits.
Anthony Macagnone (center, outside his restaurant) with his wife Cynthia Graham and Macagnone’s son, who is also named Anthony (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Ten years after Sal Anthony’s closed on Irving Place, the Italian restaurant has come back to the neighborhood, although owner Anthony Macagnone insists he hasn’t really been gone this whole time. Aside from living adjacent to the old restaurant on East 17th Street, Macagnone and his wife, Cynthia Graham, have been running a movement studio on Third Avenue for the last 18 years, but the new space on Third Avenue at East 19th Street marks the first Sal Anthony’s restaurant in the immediate Gramercy Park area in a decade.
The spot on Irving Place expanded over the 40 years the restaurant was open and although the new space on Third Avenue is only a fraction of the size, Macagnone said that he has a much better relationship with his current landlord than with the owner of the building on Irving Place.
Macagnone was forced to close the previous restaurant due to a long court battle over rent but he said that he has been drawn to this neighborhood because of a sense of community.