Missing cafe owner was thinking about moving

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Ditmas Park café owner who disappeared two weeks ago may actually have been planning his own escape.

Josh Rubin, the owner of Whisk who vanished without a trace on Oct. 31, had negotiated with a neighbor to sublet his room in a Lawrence Street apartment.

The neighbor, Zach Boyce, told The Brooklyn Paper that he discussed taking over Rubin’s room starting on Nov. 8 — and had looked at the place the day before Rubin disappeared.

“I talked to him about it two weeks before the end of the October,” said Boyce. “Just before the end of the month, I went to see the room. He told me that he was getting a house with some better friends of his.”

Rubin’s roommates said that they knew nothing of Rubin’s plans to move out.

It remains unclear exactly why Rubin would consider giving up his room, but experts said that it could be a good sign.

“It shows planning,” said Monica Caison, the founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons. “It shows that [the missing person] was working on trying to solve some of his issues. People who are suicidal don’t plan.”

Detectives continue to search for the 30-year-old — and a police source said that cops remain concerned about Rubin’s mental state because he suffers from bipolar disorder. Rubin is also a diabetic and did not have his medication when he left his apartment on Oct. 31.

Rubin was under considerable financial pressure in the days before he disappeared. Indeed, he went missing on the same day that his first rent payment was due.

Rubin’s landlord had given him a couple of months of free rent to get his business off the ground, but it is unclear if it ever did. The cafe was well-loved, but it also appeared to be struggling, according to regulars.

“It never quite had the crowds I expected it do,” said a neighbor resident. “I just didn’t get the impression that they totally had their act together.”

Meanwhile, a family-and-friend–led search for Rubin continues, though there is some evidence that the effort is slowing. The “Find Josh Rubin” Facebook page hasn’t been regularly updated — despite the nearly daily updates before that. The last update was Monday night, when the webmaster complained that some “Missing” posters had been torn down.

Still, locals remain concerned about the well-liked cafe owner’s whereabouts and continue to hope for the best.

“I hope that he just split [town]. It may be horrible and humiliating — but it’s still fixable,” said the coop tenant.

Any information about Rubin’s whereabouts should be directed to the 70th Precinct at (718) 851-5557.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 10:45 am, November 16, 2011: This version of the story was altered to provide fresher information.
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Reasonable discourse

Joseph Bagglio from Bronx, NY says:
I hope this man is found alive and safe. I do beg to differ with the woman who stated that people who are suicidal do not plan. Many who consider suicide and go missing will give away their belongings including their apartments. I know as this happened to my nephew. I hope they find him alive and in time.
Nov. 16, 2011, 10:37 am
George from RI says:
As a longtime friend of the Rubins I really wish a different reporter was assigned to this story. So much unnecessary speculation and gossip fodder. 90% of the information here is totally unhelpful towards the goal of finding Josh.
Nov. 16, 2011, 11:41 am
AN from NY metro says:
I kind of agree with George.
Nov. 16, 2011, 12:59 pm
C from Bk says:
Completely irresponsible reporting. Please refrain from sensationalizing the disappearance of a dear and close friend to many.
Nov. 16, 2011, 1:24 pm
Chris from Flatbush says:
This guy doesn't want to be a news reporter - he wants to write stories for 48 Hours mystery or something where you develop theories and innuendo instead of reporting the actual known facts of a case. It's gross.
Nov. 16, 2011, 1:25 pm
Unamused from Reader says:
this article is "here's a juicy story" IT'S NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE: "a man is missing, do you have information? here's the facts"

great job Eli! what great journalism.
Nov. 16, 2011, 2:39 pm
who from cares says:
i think author did all he could with the lame set of facts. a grown-ass man can't be found. big whoop. check the east river.
Nov. 16, 2011, 3:27 pm
SP from NYC says:
"Escape?" Where did this reporter get his information? I know the family very well and the majority written is NOT factual. Who is this police source?
Nov. 16, 2011, 6:25 pm
D from the BK says:
this article has no sound basis and provides very little actual fact. reporting is supposed to be just that...a report of facts to the public. as an old friend of Josh's - this article is offensive, irresponsible, and just plain old uninformative. too much speculation based on...nothing.
Nov. 16, 2011, 8:50 pm
paulie walnuts from bada bing says:
He's back in Rhode Island, with the rest of the crooks.
Nov. 16, 2011, 10:22 pm
witness from bk says:
I can't decide if my favorite quote is from "a neighbor resident" or "the coop tenant." They're both great! Who needs to attribute names to quotes?
Nov. 16, 2011, 11:01 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Let's hope he turns up alright. I also agree with Joseph Bagglio--suicide is profound and baffling, and it seems, with all due respect to Ms. Caison, that employing the type of logic ["premeditation"] that is used by the courts to determine "criminal intent" or "insanity" is not useful here. Of course, we wish to extend as much hope and positive energy as we can to Mr. Rubin's family, but, again, we don't want to mislead. "Suicide" in of itself is a plan--to suggest that the suicidal "don't plan beforehand" seems to me quite baffling, and I wonder if more persons like Ms. Caison with expertise in the matter can disabuse us of ignorance here.

Also, some of the comments here are crass. A human being is missing here people--God help and bless the all of you who have similar problems. For those of you who exploited the moment to bitterly aggrieve your misanthropy--God forgive you.
Nov. 17, 2011, 8:29 am
SD from Ditmas says:
My sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Josh Rubin, but this isn't irresponsible reporting. People who knew him from Whisk and even just neighbors have a right to know the context of a disappearance. If someone vanishes and becomes the object of a hunt then he or she becomes a public figure. And if there are extenuating circumstances it is important to know them. Now: Did Rosenberg get those circumstances wrong? Did Josh Rubin NOT show his apartment? Was the rent NOT due the day he disappeared? Does he NOT have a bipolar disorder--which can be successfully treated but can also account for a degree of instability? If the facts are wrong, challenge them. But Josh Rubin's privacy ended when he disappeared. Those of us concerned about him--about any fellow citizen who vanishes--deserve honest and thorough reporting.
Nov. 17, 2011, 9:39 am
RE from Ditmas says:
good riddance to a failed business owner.
Nov. 17, 2011, 11:20 am
Gerry from Brooklyn Heights says:
Could this guy be dodging his creditors?

Maybe he just needed to get away for a few days?

I hope the guy is OK.
Nov. 17, 2011, 3:21 pm
SD from Ditmas says:
I just checked in to see if there were updates and noticed the comment, "good riddance to a failed business owner" from "RE." WE've all learned that the Internet brings out psychos (and the psycho in people who aren't otherwise psycho) but in context that just wowed me. I have a hard time putting myself in the mind of someone who could read a story about a man's disappearance and type that and press Send. The level of self-hatred must be off the charts. I hope he or she doesn't have power over kids or anyone vulnerable.
Nov. 17, 2011, 4:51 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
SD from Ditmas, would you be interested in joining me on this thread to ask Mr. Kuntzman, who read these threads, and is clearly responsive, to update and upgrade the comments thread format? As you said, "We've all learned that the Internet brings out psychos." I couldn't agree more--it's about identities and names, as you likely know. There is no such thing as anonymity on the Internet, it's all pseudonymity, emphasis on the pseudo-, and I think it is a discrete psychological state. It's not paradox to argue that people aren't themselves when they mask themselves. I myself believe that if Brooklyn Paper could somehow adopt a format like her sister NY Post or even Gothamist [inferior to the NY Post's format, but superior to this], then the frenzy that seems to come over people when they put on masks real or digital will ease. The NY Post comments thread format allows people to comment by signing onto their Facebook and Yahoo accounts, and, if I'm correct, the Gothamist format allows persons to sign under their Google accounts--both have other options I'm not familiar with. I believe the NY Post format still allows "anonymous" comments [again, there is no such thing as anonymity, just shifts in pseudonymity that are also psychological states], but those comments are typically marginalized by more constructive argumentation and/or discussion. Because there is no such thing as anonymity from a psychological perspective, the radical pseudonymity that is allowed by the current form of the Internet has been emphasized as somehow "utilitarian"--if people can completely conceal their identities their minds free towards advancement. The past 20 years of Internet has proven that false, if you ask me. Rather, when people assume their dominant identities, the identities they use with their neighbors, in the supermarket, when they're applying for a credit card, they tend to be more thoughtful and rational in discussion. Is there heated disagreement? Sure! But the best forms of pseudonymous commentary can make the most docile and placid of us seem hateful, insane and evil.
Nov. 17, 2011, 6:48 pm
Jeb from Greenwood Cemetary says:
Only the dead know Brooklyn
Nov. 17, 2011, 10:20 pm
KellyKaye from United States says:
I do hope this person is located safely. I know his family and friends are beyond worried.
How can someone in a missing person org make the decisions on someone's state of mind? "Suicidal people do not make plans" Who is the expert the article refers to?
Nov. 18, 2011, 4:32 pm
LK from Bushwick says:
It's partially Rosenberg's fault that the "psychos" are posting insensitive drivel. The tone of his articles is indelicate and hyped.

"Here are the facts, here is what we know, please help us find this missing man who may be the *victim* of a crime." THAT gets people involved in a positive way. Mature journalism gets mature readership.

Also, painting him as emotionally or financially troubled, and planning his own escape, makes him seem selfish. He must've skipped town, so why bother? That leads to comments like "crook" and "failed business owner." People, we are talking about somebody's son here!
Nov. 21, 2011, 2 am
pete from windsor terrace says:
Well,what DO his friends think?
Maybe they could follow up with that>
Nov. 21, 2011, 12:13 pm
Vanessa from PA says:
To those who posted negative and presumed comments above, you aught to be ashamed. This poor youngman was found shot and burned!

My condolences to his family especially with Christmas days away my hearts weaps for you. May you find the strength to move on and know your son was loved by many. I hope the person who did this is FOUND, convicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Dec. 21, 2011, 7:27 pm

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