Recently, Curbed reported that the R&S Strauss auto parts shop on 14th and Ave C has gone on the market for $13 million, thus further pushing the eastern end of 14th towards possible luxurification.
I figured I better get in there and check it out. Browsing around car accessory stores is fun. Even when you don't own a car. There are many creative air fresheners, decals both sexy and scary, and novelty seat covers to discover. At this location, you will also find plenty of bling to trick out and generally "pimp" your ride. I asked the salesgirl if they were closing and she said, "No way! If we are, nobody's telling us!"
Strauss is an old company. According to their history, the R&S in the name refers to the store's founders, Harry Roth and Herman Schlenger, who opened their first shop in 1919. The Strauss part belongs to a guy named Izzy they merged with in 1983. It is now a global chain.
Chain or not, its loss from the eastern ass-end of 14th will still be cause for grief if it means what we think it means--an opening for the overall Meatpacking effect that is rippling up and down this main artery to reach deep into the East Village. The site has "flagship opportunity" written all over it. And all it would take is some brave "revolutionary" like Diane Von Furstenberg to move in and there goes the neighborhood. If she, and those like her, were willing to suffer the stink and blood of dead carcasses, what will they care about housing projects and powerplants?
And as we've seen from cupcakes and Marc Jacobs, the ripple effect grows quickly and powerfully. What will the loss of Strauss beget for an entire neighborhood?