Former New York State Division of Parole office to Become Cafe R?
The Hell's Kitchen storefront at 119 W 31 St., a former office for parolees can check in with parole officers is closing and will become "Cafe R", according to records found on EveryBlock and other City of New York sources. Here's a look at the location on Google Street View:
This post on the excellent DNAInfo ("More Parolees Bound for Hotel-Lined Block in Hell’s Kitchen" notes that the New York State Division of Parole is closing its office on 31st Street, but maintaining the office just 10 blocks away at 314 W. 40th.
I first got interested in this location when I saw this permit for an illuminated sign on EveryBlock. The record shows that the sign will have the text "Cafe R". So then I wondered whether this was a new restaurant and what their deal was in general.
A search of EveryBlock for the location pointed me to the recent DNAInfo post, but I wanted to know more. It appears there haven't been any building permits issued for the address, but I figured I'd double-check at the source.
I've written about the Building Information System in NYC before-- it is an amazing stockpile of info.
The original record for the sign has the name, address, phone number, and email of the person who ordered the sign (a boon for reporters and bloggers) as well as contact info for the sign contractor, building owner, and condo board officer for the building. It also notes the cost of the sign ($4,000). These are some amazing public records.
Here's more about the property itself.
I contacted the owner, Louis J. Lee, by email and asked him what Cafe R is all about. I got an unhelpful auto-response in return, but that's neither here nor there.
A search of all restaurant inspections in the city turned up nothing on "Cafe R", and a search of business licenses in NYC led me to a number of avenues that include paying money for lists (not going to happen). I did find a "Online directory of certified businesses with a detailed profile" in NYC Data Mine, which was has a stunning amount of detailed info for the business.
If you have any info about this burgeoning block, lemme know!