A big chunk of the block of Broadway between 17th and 18th has been shuttered and is being refurbished for new businesses. What kind of businesses? High-end chains, of course, replacing low-end chain Blimpie, a pizza joint, and J&S Imports.
#863 will be restored to its 1885 Ladies Mile style to house a True Religion Brand Jeans shop, where jeans sell for up to $328.
At #865, J&S Imports--with its cool signage offering novelties from Africa, India, Haiti, and Spain--is vacating the first floor to move upstairs.
#861 is gone, too, and the demolition of its facade has revealed a mysterious ghost sign: RBACKS, it says, maybe once PAPERBACKS? Could this have been part of the famous Book Row that stretched down to the Strand?
I don't know what's coming to these last two spots, but I have to imagine they will all be in the True Religion Jeans vein--maybe a Juicy Couture? How about another Marc Jacobs? And the virus we'll call Meatpacking Creep appears to be spreading ever further.
Coincidentally, an interesting juxtaposition on the corner--Shepard Fairey's "Operation Oil Freedom" poster pasted onto one of the last old-school newsstands right next to a gleaming Bentley ($200,000):