Beloved Lenny’s Bagels on W. 98 St. Shuts Down

The owner cited rent augmentation as the reason for shuttering Lenny’s Bagels, which was a cherished UWS noshing spot for 23 years. On its last day, customers turned out in force to say goodbye — and get one more smear with their bagels.

| 05 Jul 2023 | 10:39

After over two decades of service, customers lined up on W. 98 St. to grab a bagel from Lenny’s one last time. Lenny’s Bagels permanently closed its doors today, June 29, after rent hikes made the storefront unaffordable to the small business owners.

“We bid farewell to you and this Upper West Side neighborhood with many fond memories of loyal customers, shared conversations, and good coffee and homemade bagels, which we hope you savored with friends and family,” the business owners wrote in a note posted at the front of the store. They signed off, “with profound gratitude and a heavy heart.”

A longtime customer, Laura, who has lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years, waited in line for her 33-year-old son to come join her for one last trip to the shop. Laura holds fond memories of Lenny’s, where employees would show her son the bagel-making process behind the counter as a child. “They’re the nicest people that run this place, Linda and her crew. They’re just awesome. They’re part of the community, and we’re all so sad,” Laura said.

The owner, Linda Choi, told ILoveTheUpperWestSide, “I am so sad, we have so many regular nice customers, we tried to keep the store open.” However, Choi said that the rent became unreasonably high.

Lenny’s is not the first on the block to experience this phenomenon. Last month, Regional Wine Bar and Restaurant — which was located two storefronts from Lenny’s — was forced to close after the owners saw their rent double in price.

“We’re really upset with what’s going on in the neighborhood, well, in the city in general. That landlord seems to have some benefit to leaving their storefronts empty from a tax perspective,” Laura added.

Tyler, a young man who visited Lenny’s for over a decade while attending the Manhattan School for Children just a few blocks away, said he heard about the closing yesterday and decided to stop buy for a final bite. “I think there should be some sort of law in place for landmarks like this in our community,” he said, after hearing that the shop was closing due to exorbitant rent.

Efforts by the West Side Spirit to reach the landlord were not successful.