New York City’s Next Level Arcade will be closing early next year according to new details from owner Henry Cen.
“I want to explain myself and apologize to community over the uproar a few days ago,” Cen confided in a recent statement. “Basically, [the] Next Level lease is coming to an end at Feb 29th, 2016 which I’m obligated to stay until then. My disagreement with my business partner was about my concerns for the future of Next Level and because of our differences regarding this issue, we’ve agreed that after the lease is over to go our separate ways. I still want to provide a new home for the community in the future and I hope that everyone can support Next Level in these last months before its closure.”
The first signs that trouble was brewing between Cen and co-owner Nick Chan came earlier this week. Team Spooky’s Victor “Spooky” Fontanez, obviously upset by the details, went public during the opening portion of his Next Level Battle Circuit broadcast. “Basically, we have a break down in communications here at the store. I mean, real talk, I’m not gonna promise anything at this point except to say there’s a good chance we will be ending Next Level Battle Circuit very very soon,” Fontanez explained, “possibly by the end of this month.”
As one of the few traditional arcades left in the United States, Next Level is a noteworthy establishment on both the regional and national level. In addition to Battle Circuit, the Brooklyn venue regularly hosts anime tournaments put together by the folks at Team St1ckbug, Smash events, and even gatherings for a number of card games. As such, its closing will affect a wide array of individuals both in and outside of the fighting game community.
Hopefully an agreement can be reached between Cen and Chan before February 29 but, with the way things are going, that doesn’t look likely. Stay tuned for more details as they develop.