Many of the mementos and photos posted to Anthony Bourdain’s former workplace Les Halles have been stripped from the windows — but the new owner on the space promises that they haven’t thrown pieces of the memorial away.
A new group of restaurateurs has taken over the Murray Hill restaurant space, at 411 Park Avenue South, between East 28th and East 29th streets, and like many other New Yorkers, they’ve been amazed by torrent of notes for Bourdain, who died at 61 last Friday of an apparent suicide.
Nicolas Sangros, a representative for the new tenant, tells Eater that they only took off the notes on Wednesday so that the rain wouldn’t affect them. Eventually, they plan to get in touch with Bourdain’s family to formulate a plan, he says.
On Thursday, flowers were still strewn on the sidewalk, and people were still visiting the restaurant, the place where Bourdain once worked as executive chef and where he was when he wrote his breakout hit Kitchen Confidential. A note is now pasted to the front door, saying that the mementos have been moved inside the restaurant.
“To the friends and family of Anthony Bourdain, we share in your sorrow for the loss of such a remarkable individual,” the note says. “The outpouring of love and respect is extremely touching and beautifully embodied in the shrine that you have created.”
Sangros, who declined to say what the new restaurant would be, says they “will preserve” all the things that have been posted to the space. The owners have yet to contact Bourdain’s family — “right now, they have more important things to care for,” he says — but none of the dozens of notes have been destroyed.
Over the last week, people have been leaving tons of notes about the way Bourdain impacted them. Stuffed animals, beers, flowers, baguettes, and even a box of Popeyes have appeared at the front of the restaurant as fans mourn his death. As early as Sunday, the windows were almost completely covered in notes. (See what it looked like when covered with notes here.)
Though they have been moved, Sangros says that the new owners don’t mind if the memorial keeps going or if people continue to post remembrances.
“People are free to do whatever they want to do,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with leaving more testimonials. There was an uproar of testimonials that were extremely touching in many ways.”
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.