As it turns out, The Palm looks like the hollow shell of its former self because the building is being sold. The Real Deal reports that The Palm's proprietors Wally Ganzi and Bruce Bozzi closed the restaurant for renovations in the spring but then decided to hire a broker to sell the building that has been its home since 1926. A rep for the brokerage firm that's handling the sale explains: "We're working with some high-end tenants looking to do some major work to the property." The Palm is dunzo.
As noted earlier today, the cartoon murals that graced the walls are gone — either removed or painted over. When reached by phone this afternoon, a worker at the Palm Too across the street did not know what happened to the murals, and neither did anyone at the corporate office. As the story goes, cartoonists used to pay for their meals by supplying artwork for The Palm. But the murals weren't the only reason why this was one of New York's greatest dining rooms — the space had a bizarre layout that encouraged conviviality, and the tiny bar was one of the most fun places in the world to sip a drink. At The Palm, you felt like you were dining in an old Polaroid photo. The chain has 25 other locations spread around the country, but none of them can match the charm of the original.
For more on the restaurant's unique atmosphere, check out Nick Solares's photo essay from earlier this year.