Not so surprisingly, the arrival of a glitzy Keith McNally restaurant on the Bowery isn't going over incredibly well with all the old timers in the neighborhood. When stalwart Cafe Colonial was hit with a rent hike, the owner blamed McNally. When Billy's Antiques & Props on Houston between Bowery and 2nd Ave. was raided by the police, bloggers called it the McNally Effect. And now Billy LeRoy, proprietor of Billy’s, tells the Villager that he is pretty pissed that the restaurateur hasn't come over to say hello:
When you’re a bigwig restaurateur who moves into a neighborhood that has this much history and ghosts, one would think, ‘Hey, let’s get to know the guys across the street.’ Well, me and my Bowery Boys are still waiting.
Daniel Boulud, owner of DBGB, came over and introduced himself. John Varvatos came in and introduced himself. Pat Field, when she came to the ’hood, came in and introduced herself. It’s just neighborly. But maybe Keith McNally is worried that my Bowery Boys will ask for freebies. Tell him Parisi Bakery already does [give us freebies] — and the pizza is better.Slam! To be fair, Keith McNally could in no way single handedly destroy the Bowery. Whole Foods, DBGB, and Varvatos were already entrenched by the time those doors opened. But yes, saying hi does seem like the neighborly thing to do.