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Casellula, the Winner of Best Bar in W42ST’s Best of Awards this year, and Hold Fast, the 2020 winner have both decided to take a break as COVID surges in New York.

Brian Keyser has decided to close Casellula until January 3, 2022. Photo: Phil O’Brien

“With the health and safety of our staff, guests, families, and community in mind, Casellula will be closed until January 3,” said the cheese and wine bar owner Brian Keyser this afternoon. “This thing is out of control. It’s the only responsible thing to do.”

The news was welcomed by Broadway actor Pearl Sun. “You made the right decision. Let’s usher in a healthy new year!” she said on Instagram in response to news of Casellula’s decision.

Brian is having to find homes for the cheese that he has in stock at W52nd Street. “I’m going to be open 2-4pm tomorrow, Tuesday, to sell our cheese. It will be $20 per pound. Just bring your own bag, and wear a mask,” he told us this evening.

Shane Hathaway and Jason Clark have decided to temporarily close Hold Fast. Photo: Christian Miles.

On Restaurant Row, Hold Fast joined neighbors Deacon Brodie’s (who decided to shutter on Friday) in the difficult decision to close for a while. “Hold Fast will be closing temporarily, due to the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant in NYC. We have confirmed exposure within our team and it has triggered our safety protocols,” the partners, Shane Hathaway and Jason Clark, said yesterday evening on Instagram. “Our first priority is always the health and well-being of our guests and staff. Prior to reopening, our entire team will be getting tested again. We will also be completing a secondary sanitation of the restaurant, in addition to our daily deep cleaning procedures.”

Ending their message to customers with “Be Safe, Stay Strong, and Hold Fast”, the owners said: “We will keep updating as we learn more. Thank you all for your support and understanding as we navigate this current surge in the city.”

Other Hell’s Kitchen bars like Ardesia, Valerie and Latitude have taken today (Monday) off to regroup. “Due to a COVID exposure, we have taken the decision to close for service this evening (Monday 12/20). This will give our team the time to get tested, and provided everyone is negative we will re-open tomorrow,” said Ardesia owner Mandy Oser on Instagram. “We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate yet another new phase of this pandemic.”

Today on Broadway, Hamilton announced that it would be canceling performances through to December 26 due to breakthrough COVID cases in the company. We reported on Friday that they had canceled performances from December 17-19.

Hamilton has canceled performances for the rest of the week. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Disney announced this afternoon that Aladdin was canceling performances this week, with an expected resumption date of December 26. They revealed that additional breakthrough cases were found in the company after Sunday’s cancellation.

This adds to last week’s Broadway cancelations, including MJ (the Michael Jackson musical), Moulin Rouge!Mrs DoubtfireTina — The Tina Turner MusicalJagged Little PillHadestownCompany (which The New York Post reports happened during the show, due to food poisoning), Freestyle Love SupremeAin’t Too Proud and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Hell’s Kitchen-based Alvin Ailey also had to cancel performances through the weekend, including their Season Finale on Sunday.

Charlotte St Martin, the President of the Broadway League, told Broadway News that they were not currently considering an industry-wide shutdown. “We have always said that safety is our number one priority. Of course, I’m sorry that four shows have to go down, but I’m also proud that we have 28 shows performing,” St Martin said.

The Broadway League launched a website today — bwaytoday.com — where you can find up-to-date information on which shows are playing and any further cancellations.

In the East Village, local website EV Grieve is reporting more than a dozen temporary closures of local businesses.


As always, W42ST aims to keep our neighborhood connected, updated and upbeat. Please email phil@w42st.com if you have any information to help update this developing story.

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4 Comments

  1. Wishing all the staff at W42St.nyc, Happy Holidays, health & fun times to come!
    Your webpaper is a daily enjoyable & informative read!

  2. Phil. Thank you for always keeping us informed on what’s going on in our nabe. Its a pleasure to open your email each morning. Thank you for all you do! Happy Holidays! Stay healthy and safe!
    All the best,
    Patty & Lin

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