#SaveCafeEdison Campaign Hits Over 6,300 Supporters; Words from Martha Plimpton, Glenn Close, Jennifer Tepper & More!

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On Thursday, November 6th it was announced that Café Edison in Times Square is being denied a new lease by The Hotel Edison management. The diner -- which has served as a hub for the Broadway community for more than 30 years -- is expected to close at the end of the year to make way for a new restaurant with a "name chef."

An exact closing date has not yet been determined at this time, but an official representative informed BWW that it will be at the end of December.

The story has sparked an outpouring of support from the Broadway community and New Yorkers at large, as well as produced a widely circulated online petition.

Among the signees -- numbered at 6,357 supporters (as of 6:30 p.m. on Nov 11) -- are stars Glenn Close, Martha Plimpton, Jennifer Tepper, Christine Pedi, Karen Mason, Mary Testa, Joey Parnes, Rob McClure, Teal Wicks, Mamie Parris, Michael Cerveris, Sean Connery, Marc Shaiman and more.

Also on the list are members of the Strohl family, the owners of the Café Edison.

Scroll down for some of the top comments:

Martha Plimpton: "The Cafe Edison is one of the last true havens for theater artists and writers, journalists, stagehands, the people who make Broadway and Times Square the attraction that it truly is. The Edison does a brisk and healthy business, locals and tourists, pros and amateurs, old and young. There is no possible way that whatever replaces it will have the same character, or staying power, the Edison Cafe has. It is a NY and Broadway institution that still attracts the newest Broadway stars and the oldest union guys. You can't find what the Edison has anywhere else in the city. To lose it, and to have the sacred filial bond between it's original owner and the original owner of the hotel dismissed is a shame. And the employees of the Edison, who've been there for years and made it the warm and wonderful place it's been, deserve better than to lose their jobs for no reason. Please save this special place."

Glenn Close: "There are some things that should be preserved in a district that makes NYC the premiere theater destination point of the world. A place like Cafe Edison has been an important gathering place for theater casts and crews for years. It is a place dearly loved. With imagination and goodwill, wouldn't it be possible to preserve it as the treasured institution that it has become?"

Jennifer Tepper: "A favorite casual dining spot of all creatures of the Broadway jungle, the Café Edison on an average day feeds producers breakfast, New York Times reporters lunch, actors a pre-show meal, and crew a post-show dinner. In 1931, when the Edison Hotel opened on the block splitting 46th and 47th Street, Broadway and 8th Avenue, it boasted an intricately designed dining room.

"In 1980, the original dining room at the hotel was converted into the Café Edison, opened by Harry and Frances Edelstein. Almost immediately, it became a haven for show folk. August Wilson reportedly wrote several scripts on Café Edison napkins. Neil Simon was always around, and immortalized the café in his play 45 Seconds From Broadway. (Faded posters and clippings from that play currently dot the walls of the venue.) A VIP table, with a red velvet rope in front, boasted the key players of Broadway, usually the Shuberts or the Nederlanders. Both Doug Henning and David Copperfield were regulars at the 'Magic Table' in the corner, where a playing card was above on the ceiling as part of a trick occasionally done for the unassuming tourist.

"I discovered the Edison, as I'm sure many avid theatergoers do, when looking for a bite to eat between shows. There's nothing like it in the theatre district. The features of the 1931 dining room are prominent and wildly enough, they haven't been lost to time. Beautiful beige and tan columns and wall carvings give the room a distinctively 1930s feel, but the lunch counter is purely 1950s. The ceiling is ornate, and the chandeliers are the original fixtures! Homemade signs announcing the specials in black marker and a now-defunct balcony area looms -- filled with storage -- above the lunch counter. Since Harry and Frances were immigrants from Poland, and the menu has an Eastern European slant, the Cafe Edison is affectionately referred to by insiders as 'The Polish Tea Room'. Its two most famous dishes are the matzo ball soup and the blintzes.

"Always teeming with life but never too crowded, the Edison has a magic ambiance that's a mixture of old and new. I had never seen the Edison empty or still until I interviewed my dear friend and mentor Mana Allen, and we closed down the place! Mana tells me that in 1986, when she was doing Smile next door at the Lunt-Fontanne, the 'Smile girls' would come to the Edison between shows, and often be sitting between the theatrical cognoscenti and Times Square's transvestite hookers, who also loved the soup.

"A few years ago, I was eating the famed blintzes with orchestrator Larry Hochman when actor Jeb Brown sat down at the table next to us. Larry had just finished orchestrating The Book Of Mormon and Jeb was in the thicket of previews for Spider-Man -- and by the time 30 minutes had passed, they were both regaling the nearby table of hotel guests in their 80s visiting from Texas with tales from both shows.

"There's just something about the Edison. When it was reported that Neil Simon had written a play chronicling the Café Edison, August Wilson simply replied: 'He beat me to it.'"



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