In a recent article in the Maroon, Hans Morsbach cites the raised rent at his University Market location as the reason the market is closing. The implication -- voiced outright only by UM cashier, Alma Silva, but present in the undercurrent of the interviews in the Maroon -- is that the University is deliberately forcing him out, to make way for a new tenant.
Let's suppose that it's true. Suppose that it finally dawned on the administrators at the University that Mr. Morsbach frequently bites the hand that feeds him. Suppose they noticed, as I did, that he stood in front of Bret Harte on Election Day, 2008 with an enormous tray of free cinnamon rolls for his neighbors, campaigning for a dry 39th precinct, in order to squash the University's plan to build a hotel on the abandoned Doctors Hospital site, and likely costing the University tens of millions of dollars, not to mention depriving the neighborhood of jobs, a decent hotel, and a couple of new restaurants? Suppose the University noticed his literal painting of himself as a martyr against the oppressive establishment, hanging in his restaurant on 57th Street -- a restaurant that arguably thrives because of University students, staff, and catering jobs? Suppose the administrators actually got fed up? (It took them long enough!)
Well, as a Sicilian by heritage and temperament, I'm here to say they did a lousy job in the vendetta department, because somehow Mr. Morsbach wins privately while he publicly "loses."
Am I the only person who noticed that he gets to move the profitable part of his operation at the UM (the deli sandwiches) to his bakery, while cutting loose the unprofitable grocery section, and saving a whole lotta rent in the process? Am I the only one who wonders what business model the next tenant of the UM space is left with, now that Mr. Morsbach has skimmed off the cream of the potential business, and the rent is apparently too high for the location? And Mr. Morsbach gets to do all this while complaining about the University, one of his favorite diversions.
Here's what Michael Corleone would have done after the dry vote debacle, if he had been the University: he would have put a drug-rehab or halfway house in the Doctors Hospital location. He would have said, "Look, you got what you wanted -- we preserved the bland architecture and we're helping the community, all without increasing congestion or taking up public parking spaces on the street."
That, or a severed horse's head on the Market floor the next morning.