6 Iconic Places Impacted by the Pandemic

6 Iconic Places Impacted by the Pandemic
The historical Caffe Florian in Venice is on the verge of shutdown, Photo Credit: Julie Mayfeng/Shutterstock.com

From comic bookstores to cafes frequented by Mark Twain and Casanova, we look at some legendary places that have been hard hit by the pandemic. Some are gone, but never forgotten

Urvi Shah
February 13 , 2021
09 Min Read

An unfortunate by-product of COVID-19 has been its ability to render obsolete thousands of businesses across the world, and ravage scope of a resurrection. Many of these ventures, iconic in their own right, lent an element of mystique to the places they were in, functioned as harbingers of hope for marginalised communities, and were part of a city’s culture.

As the pandemic took centrestage in early 2020, businesses began teetering at the precipice of impending crises.

We have curated a list of six iconic places across the world that once drew travellers in droves, but were either forced to shut down or are on the verge. 

Old Delhi’s Iconic Nihari Eatery

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Much sought after for its signature meat stew, Old Delhi’s Hazi Shabrati Nihari had to transform into a grocery store as a consequence of dwindling sales amid the pandemic. Located in Haveli Azam Khan, the little kitchen was known for its piping hot nihari cooked overnight in a deghi stationed atop a chulha. It was a dish that conformed to the slow cooking tradition to bring out flavours, and satiated a gargantuan clientele’s cravings through the course of the day.

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The new venture is run by the same family, and it sustains them. Only customers no longer ask for the trademark nihari to be parcelled in takeaway packets. It's all about orders of daily needs goods.

LGBTQ Bar Stonewall Inn
Tucked into NYC's West Village neighbourhood, Stonewall Inn is considered the birthplace of LGBTQI+ rights movement
Credited as the birthplace of the LGBTQ-rights movement rooted in1969, and perceived as a flag-bearer of acceptance and equality, Stonewall Inn is tucked in New York City’s West Village neighbourhood. After the pandemic forced the bar to cease operations, and shutter its doors to tourists, mounting costs spiralled into a legitimate crisis. Now, a permanent dent in operations seems like a probable occurence.

Even though the bar caters to customers via a little window, and outdoor services are functional, sales produced through the same aren’t culminating in anything substantial.

And although the bar received Paycheck Protection Funds, it hasn’t been enough.

An online fundraiser is in the works, but even then, the owners worry that the bar will not make a full recovery once they resume work. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Comic Store Forbidden Planet

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Forbidden Planet, the world’s largest retailer of toys, comics, science-fiction, cult, entertainment, and graphic novels, is in serious jeopardy. The NYC-based store was started in 1981, and soon had three branches in the same block. Since then, the store has embedded itself into the city’s culture, functioning as a second home for faithful fans. 

The store remained non-functional for one month after the lockdown. Profits plummeted, and even though it was condensed into an online space, sales weren't great. A GoFundMe campaign was started in order to sustain the store. Here's hoping it keeps the place running.

NYC’s Roosevelt Hotel

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What hasn’t Midtown Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel lived through? Started in 1924, the iconic structure survived World War II, witnessed a succession of historic elections, and even appeared in a series of movies along the way (Wall Street, The Irishman, and The Boiler Man among a few). The 18-storey structure with more than 1,000 rooms, was brought to its knees by the pandemic, and settled for a closure in the face of shrinking demand. According to reports, the hotel, once valued at $1 billion, had to face a loss of 500 jobs. 

Anna Salai’s Mathura Restaurant
Chennai’s Mathura restaurant, which used to popular with families who loved its distinctive vegetarian fare, was yet another casualty of the pandemic. A 30-year-old business, the restaurant was experiencing a number of impediments even in pre-COVID days. The coronavirus situation proved to be the final nail in the coffin, marking the demise of an iconic eating joint cherished by many.

San Francisco’s Cliff House Restaurant

The Cliff House Restaurant afforded views of the Pacific Ocean
The over 150-years-old Cliff House Restaurant was a much sought-after eating out option in San Francisco due to its unparalleled view of the Pacific Ocean from the north-end of the Ocean Beach. It has hosted the likes of Mark Twain and five US presidents. When it shut its doors, more than a hundred people turned up to witness the removal of the restaurant’s sign. We hope this is a temporary blip, and Cliff House recovers from its losses. According to recent reports, it might be making a comeback after all.

Italy’s Oldest Cafe

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Located in Venice, Caffè Florian is dubbed as Italy’s oldest cafe. Inaugurated in 1720 by an
Italian entrepreneur, it has hosted the likes of Nietzsche, Grace Kelly and Margaret
Thatcher, Casanova, Goethe, Charles Dickens, Clark Gable, Andy Warhol, Ernest Hemingway, and Charlie Chaplin, and made an appearance in Hollywood flicks. In December 2020, Florian celebrated its 300th anniversary; however, it was a rather sad acknowledgment in current circumstances. Due to the halt in operations amid a pandemic, and a lack of funding by the government, the cafe has suffered an 80% decline in sales. Right now, it subsists on funds sourced from stakeholders and its online gift-shop.

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