Life Cafe, a Featured Player in 'Rent,' Rumored to Be Leaving Manhattan

11.9.2011

By Jordan Shavarebi

The East Village cafe where playwright Jonathan Larson wrote his hit musical might be shutting its doors for good.

Life is falling apart—literally. The legendary Life Cafe on East 10th Street and Avenue B in Manhattan's East Village is finally showing signs of a slow and painful death. 

The Alphabet City eatery owes much of its acclaim to the Jonathan Larson musical Rent. It was at the cafe that the late Larson wrote much of the world-famous show and it serves as a location for some pivotal scenes. The business it drove was so impressive that the restaurant saved the bench where Larson sat and worked, however owner Kathy Kirkpatrick has since moved it to the cafe's second location in Brooklyn, where the bohemian vibe of years gone by is alive and well and business is apparently booming.

The same can't be said for the original location. Kirkpatrick closed down the cafe in September because of the crumbling condition of the building and now there are reports that she’s moving kitchen equipment out. 
The situation is a bit murky, however. Construction on the building to fix a wrecked awning and deteriorating brick is under way, and the owners of the building allegedly support Kathy and her business whole-heartedly.

Kirkpatrick has informed reporters that if she wanted to, she’d be able to move all of the equipment back in quite easily. 

It all seems a little too right though, when one sits and thinks about it: any young artist looking for a somewhat affordable Rent-esque lifestyle of loft-squatting, hard drugs, alcohol, and artistic movement would have a much better chance finding it in Bushwick. 

Either way, Life will go on.  

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