After months of financial struggle, Park Slope's famed jazz club, , might open its doors for the last time this evening.
Even despite a community bailout last summer – where $21,000 was raised to help keep the venue open – owners say that the Fifth Avenue music venue just can’t keep afloat.
"People simply have less money to spend, and so we are making less money. We are getting people through our doors less often, and when they come they are spending, on average, half of what they used to," said co-owner Martin Fagin.
The venue currently owes $30,000 in water, electric, insurance and liquor expenses, and unless they raise $15,324 by May 4 the venue will have to close for good.
But the club’s owners haven’t given up yet.
Tonight Fagin and co-owner Jamie Affoumado will host what could be one last blowout jazz performance, in hopes of raising enough funds to keep the doors open a little longer. Local jazz staples such as Arturo O'Farrill, Alex Blake, Randy Johnston, John McNeil and more are set to perform.
"I would love if everyone just came out, said hello, enjoyed our venue and shared in the experience that we have offered for the better part of seven years now. If we're going to go out, one last night of memories and amazing music I don't have to leave my neighborhood for would be amazing."
Fagin Affoumado have to keep the club’s doors open, introduce a food menu, and calling on staples of the jazz community to help raise funds and draw business to the club.
The pair said that they are now open to bringing in a third partner, to help pay off old debts and finally solidify the club as a mainstay in the New York jazz scene.
"We firmly believe that we are on the verge of a tipping point in the right direction right now, but we cannot break through due to old debts," Fagin said.
Reflecting on how – not even a year after over $20,000 was raised to keep the space in business – the venue is facing the same money issues, Affoumado said that the economy isn’t entirely to blame.
"We're a jazz bar and not everybody likes jazz. Puppet's is not promoted as well as it could be. A lot more promotion and it would fly real big," he said.
If the pair cannot come up with the cash by the end of the day tomorrow, it is likely that Puppet’s Jazz Bar will close it’s doors for good.
But Fagin and Affoumado hope the community will come through one last time.
"There are no real jazz clubs in Park Slope,” said Affoumado. “It's a great spot, a cultural place. It needs to be in Park Slope. I'm not giving up on faith. Time is ticking, but maybe it's not the end."