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New York Magazine: City Shutters La Esquina
Aileen Gallagher

Cancel those La Esquina plans: The restaurant is temporarily closed. “The Department of Buildings has determined that conditions in this premises are imminently perilous to life.” According to photos submitted by a Grub Street tipster, it’s the restaurant itself that’s the source of the trouble. “It is hereby ordered that all persons occupying any part or parts of the structure located at CELLAR LEVEL (EATING AND DRINKING ESTABLISHMENT) vacate such … parts of the premises forthwith.”

A closer reading of the vacate order gives us pause: “There is imminent danger to life or public safety … in that at cellar level arranged for over 284 occupants with wood combustible ceilings and inadequate Egress (illegal Egress through intervening spaces on 1st floor.” But why now? La Esquina has always been in a combustible basement with inadequate egress. Either someone just got around to inspecting them, or the Department of Buildings is in a crackdown kind of mood today.


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