On a recent visit to famed Park Slope institution, the Tea Lounge, while sipping an Iced Americano on the mangy couch nearest the entrance after dropping off laundry next door, I said to my husband, “I pretty much never need to come in here again.”
What I didn’t know then is that as of December 14th, I won’t have a choice; As we mentioned in Whassup yesterday, TL is closing after 14 years in their cavernous Union Street space (their first location was on 7th and 10th, and closed in 2008).
How many times has FIPS -- or for that matter, many many Park Slope residents -- declared “It’s the end of an era!” when some local staple has closed? Most notably Boing Boing and Two Boots (which, controversially, I really didn’t give a shit about, because it had outlived its usefulness to me -- why should I care if your kid never gets another ball of dirty pizza dough to lick? And yeah, it’s back anyway; go eat raw dough).
For better or worse, fairly or not, maybe undermining its profitability, the neighborhood has used that place as an unofficial community center, a shared half-finished basement, some place nearby to go if you couldn’t stand being in your apartment (with no basement) another second alone with your young children, or you’re a doing a work-at-home day, but didn’t want to be in sight of a pile of dirty dishes and unmade beds.
It was like a Park Slope version of a particularly seedy suburban rec room, with parents who really didn’t care what you did down there, but can you just bring your dishes to the sink, please?
I’ll miss the Tea Lounge in theory, and in practice, mostly because I’ll have to satisfy grilled cheese requests at home now. But maybe the whole operation can set up shop a couple of neighborhoods away, in another establishment filled with grimy upholstered furniture and errant toddlers: the IKEA showroom.
After this Sunday, if you want to sit on a scuzzy sofa and drink coffee, you’ll have to do it at home.