Carnegie Deli—one of the last vestiges of Manhattan’s iconic Jewish delis—will close its doors for good on December 31, the New York Post reports, taking its infamous corned beef and pastrami “Woody Allen” sandwich with it.
Though along with Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, and 2nd Avenue Deli on 33rd Street, Carnegie is one of the oldest kosher sandwich spots in the five boroughs, in recent years the business’ legacy had become marred, to a certain extent, by outrageous prices, long lines of tourists, and a slew of headline-grabbing scandals.
Made famous under the management of Leo Steiner and Milton Parker in the 1930s and 40s, today a Woody Allen on rye will run customers close to $30, and in 2015 the restaurant closed for roughly a year after it was found running an illegal gas hookup. As Eater notes, Carnegie also faced lawsuits from employees over wage theft, and in 2014 Marian Harper Levine—the second generation owner of the shop—sued her husband for $10 million after he allegedly help his girlfriend open a Carnegie Deli in Thailand.
Ultimately, Levine just got tired of the hustle.
"At this stage of my life, the early mornings to late nights have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business,” she told the Post, though she hopes to keep the family business alive by licensing its products to wholesalers. “I’m very sad to close the Carnegie Deli but I’ve reached the time of my life when I need to take a step back."
Say what you will about the Carnegie Deli—that it’s over-priced, that it’s a tourist trap, that the kitsch hung to the walls is outdated and cheesy—but there aren’t many places left in New York City, or the world, where one can order a 4-inch tall sandwich stuffed with a full pound of cured meat.
For many, the restaurant’s red and yellow awning on 7th Avenue and 55th Street will be sorely missed.
“You can’t find a better knish, stuffed cabbage, or matzoh ball in this city,” the deli’s website reads. “A taste of Carnegie Deli is a taste of New York.”