Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Love Saves the Day

VANISHING

I just saw this sign this morning in the window of Love Saves the Day on 7th and 2nd Ave--and it's a heartbreaker.



While I sensed this was inevitable, I still thought it would never happen. I hoped that Love would be saved by the economic downturn, that it was too much a part of the old 1980s East Village to ever vanish. After all, Madonna shopped there in Desperately Seeking Susan.

But I should know by now that nothing is safe.

In 2005, after more than 20 years here, they nearly vanished when their rent tripled, according to The Villager, who reported, "It’s a shame," said Leslie Herson, the store’s owner and founder. "New York is losing its individuality because little stores like mine can’t compete."

Now the same can be said again. And this time, apparently, for good.



Love Saves the Day will vanish from the city sometime next month. They have another shop in New Hope, PA, but that's a long way to go for Star Wars action figures and rubber poop.

*Update: Racked just followed up on this story and added that founder Leslie Herson passed away this August, which I did not know. Also, they'd welcome being saved by a benefactor.

38 comments:

KnicksBasketballNY said...

The Desperately Seeking Susan New York City seems like 100 years ago instad of just 20.

By no means am I a Madonna fan either.

But I am somewhat a fan of the movie.

henry said...

I moved from Brooklyn to Maine 2 years ago -- not because of the changes to the city, by any stretch -- and I've been watching with this sort of detached 'huh' as more and more things happened on Bowery and 4th Avenue and things,

But between Love Saves the Day and the Holland, this is finally really viscerally connecting for me. Holy crap, this sucks so much. It's like the 15 years I spent there turn out to have been a drawn-out process of completely misunderstanding what was going on around me. I mean, sure, there was money, but it's still new york, right? Right?

Hmm.

boweryboogie said...

this makes me so angry

EV Grieve said...

Wow. Leslie Herson nailed it:

"New York is losing its individuality because little stores like mine can’t compete."

What a shame.

Mark said...

I was mugged right up against that double phone booth way back in
1968, when this was a Blimpie Base. When I couldn't produce more than $2.00, they took the 45's I had bought. When they saw my selections, they handed them back to me, then punched me in the face.

Kirby Carnegie said...

This is the worst store closing news yet. LSTD was truly the one place that symbolized the East Village and has been there since before I moved to the hood. It was such a icon - I recently bought an $8 bow tie there I needed for an outfit. Everywhere else they were $40. I guess therein lies the problem. Oh, how I'll miss them.

Karate Boogaloo said...

Thats a big one for the East Village...

Anonymous said...

Always loved this place and lived down the block from it for 5 years in the 80s. With all of the stupid wealth concentrated in this city you would think someone (with a brain and a heart) would be able to step up.

Jeremiah Moss said...

maybe madonna will save it. or varvatos will turn it into a luxurified love saves the day museum. ha. it will probably become a marc jacobs. god help us.

Jeremiah Moss said...

nice story, mark. so...what were your selections exactly?

Michelle said...

How does one find out how to be a benefactor? I am quite serious about this.

esquared said...

I've bought a lot of "stuff" at Love Saves the Day-- last one being a wooden tennis racket this past summer. And when I carried it around on my way home, the new transplants (aka yunnies) were laughing at me and saying things like if i just got off the time machine, calling me caveman (from the Geico commercial, I guess) and asking if I were off to play badminton.

Anyway, found this vid on youtube: Karen sells "treasures" (flea market items) for a dollar on up in front of Love Saves the Day

Colonel Mustard said...

This fucking sucks. I love this store and always enjoy walking past it. I apologize for cursing, but this really fucking sucks.

esquared said...

P.S. I'm moving to New Hope, PA!

Mark said...

I knew someone would ask that question.

I got punched in the face for buying a Supremes 45:

"Reflections".

Jeremiah Moss said...

hey michelle, if you're serious, i suggest dropping by or calling the shop.

esquared, thanks for the link. saw that earlier and plan to post it up tomorrow. karen is very cool.

mark, the reflections lyrics are weirdly apt for this news today:
"Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me..."

Anonymous said...

Ummm...I hate that this is happening as much as the next guy/gal but the whole "they're hoping to be saved by a benefactor" comment really rubs me the wrong way...I'd expand a bit more on that comment but Whole Foods is about to close and I need some Dancing Deer cookies.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Look at the East Village. A former shell of it's old self. Brick by brick it's becoming nothing more than a mall you might find in New Jersey. Love Saves the Day will come to Brooklyn, where the cool people are now.

Manhattan suckers! Enjoy your new bank!! Or maybe a Duane Reade!!! How's that rent feeling now? Bwahahaha!

liz said...

it says "they'd welcome being saved by a benefactor" not "they're HOPING to be saved by a benefactor".... read it first before being indignant.

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite anecdote about Love Saves the Day. Shortly after moving here in early 1992, I went in with two friends to sell some long-neglected and bedraggled childhood action figures: Mr. Spock, Green Goblin and Scotty Mego dolls. Friend No. 1 says to me, "They're not gonna buy those -- look, Spock has no phaser, The Green Goblin has the wrong boots, and Scotty's got no pants!" But sure enough, I went in and the employee on duty bought these damaged bits of my 1970s Midwestern life for a solid 25 bucks.
The next day, Friend No. 2 was in a changing room at Love, where she overheard a manager on the phone. He was saying, and she swore by this, the following; "..Yeah, I don't know what the Hell he bought these things for. I mean, The Goblin's got the wrong boots, Spock's got no phaser, and Scotty's got no pants!"

Bill Wikstom said...

"LSTD was truly the one place that symbolized the East Village". I assure you this is only by default.
Better vintage clothing stores have gone long ago because they didn't charge more for merchandise because their rent was sky high. I bought two pairs of admittedly awful "vintage" pants for $100 dollars each. This was pretty outrageous in 1990, which was just before the 1970's resurgence. It's hard to sympathize with small stores when they charge more for their merchandise because their rent is exorbitant. And even less harder to justify shopping there.

This City has changed considerably a long time ago. It shouldn't be much of a shock that a novelty vintage store as this is closing.
I'm actually surprised it lasted this long while more practical used record shops have closed (like LSTD's one-time neighbor Wowsville Records).

What was great about the lower East-side dissipated a long time ago. There is no longer any great music scene as there once was (musicians can't afford to live there). Forget about any art scene.

It's sad for LSTD as they had been there a long time, but how often did anyone have to buy a vintage lunchbox anyway?

Tara O. said...

I hope someone comes forward and helps them out. I would if I actually had any money. That store is just such a colorful, happy surprise when you come across it. It offers something original to the neighborhood. I hate that the stores that are SO colorful and SO unique are the ones I have the highest level of anxiety about, to the point where if I haven’t been around in a while and I see the place is still there, I suddenly feel a little burst of relief. Signs in windows of beloved stores always start heart palpitations. I saw a tiny little jewelry store on 6th avenue with a big sign in the window that actually said “No we aren’t closing, we are just having a sale!” Look at this sad culture in NYC... People are actually so worried about their special, colorful nooks that SIGNS in their windows actually cause anxiety… I've had so many entertaining and interesting times in Love Saves the Day. I never anticipated that they would have an ominous sign in their window. They seemed so established there. Hopefully someone who appreciates the store, and who is able to, will give them a hand, and let love save the day! How beautiful would that be?

Anonymous said...

Tara O - that was so gay.

BaHa said...

It's sad and all, but when it opened I saw it as rather a touristy place from the git-go. I've probably been in there twice. I shopped in cheaper vintage places, at which I could find stuff that wasn't quite so kitschy (and that I could wear to the dead-end job of the moment).

Anonymous said...

Wowsville Records... a practical store????

Gimmee a Break. That store amounted to nothing more than a hang out for it's owner couple and their hipster friends. While they had tons of cool merchandise, they didn't really appear to know how to run a business. Each and every time I entered that place I felt like I was walking into someone's extended college fantasy of a store rather than a real store as the owners and all their friends stood around chatting while ignoring the customers completely.

I liked the place a lot, but I would hardly have called Wowsville practical.

Love Saves The Day was more of a tourist trap since it's inception than anything else. Yes it was nice to see it there still and walk in from time to time and it was one of the few leftovers from the 80's on that strip. However, LSTD has been overpriced since they opened and even though it heralds back to the original era of the East Village, it was a place that primarily catered to tourists and out of towners to begin with. Hardly an authentic East Village experience from even back in the day.

Still, I am very sad to see it go. It was fun to go into, and it's another nail in the coffin for downtown NYC.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this Mayor just keeps on pushing for huge corporations to move into our city. Doesn't he realize people are going to get sick of this crap?

Why would you come to New York if the SAME STORES are in your hometown? What is there to see besides architecture?

The Mayor could stop it by not allowing these huge projects, for instance in California, some areas are zoned so that only small business can operate there, it is illegal to have certain chains.

Why doesn't Bloomberg follow this? He is DESTROYING everything great about NYC.

PEOPLE-New York is being bought out by foreigners, soon nothing will be local based!

WAKE UP

Anonymous said...

Guliani started the destruction of NYC culture and Bllomberg is continuing it....

Sad thing is. most of the people that are new to the CIty i.e visitors, tourists and transplants don't seem to care. They even welcome it, because it feels 'safe' and they themselves are just as boring as the things they are now visiting.

Tara said...

Anonymous, being hopeful is "gay"? That just makes you sound like a homophobic asshole.

JackS said...

I'm with Bill Wikstom on this. I want to feel sad for the closing of "Love Saves the Day", but basically the place is like a museum of a vintage store and not a vintage store. And that's been the case for decades. Even when UNIQUE, Flip and Canal Jeans were around, I'd walk into LSD and wonder, "Why would anyone buy this stuff at these prices?"

It's sad—don't get me wrong—but other stores have come to kind of fill in the niche. Such as the small chain of Housing Works Thrift Shops and even Beacon's Closet. Heck, Beacon's Closet is a true vintage store that knows how to survive.

So I feel bad for the place coming. But will be hopeful for something better coming along to fill the void.

Anonymous said...

Stores like this are obsolete, it's called the internet. Why sell an item to a store that will then mark it up and sell it to someone else when all you have to do is throw a photo up on the internet, mark it up yourself, and ship it. It's just not economically efficient to have a physical store.

Things change over time, I'm sure 40 years ago when all these new hippie/trendy/punk whatever stores, bars, etc came in, there were some middle aged folks compaining that the NY they love is gone.

While some of the changes in NY are bad, some are good and many may be unkown to people, the trend setters are young, you perhaps are not and are unaware of the scene.

John B said...

Turns out they're closing in two weeks, according to Mr. Herson, interviewed on NY-1 this morning. In this case, the downturn was the last straw.

This is truly sad - a Ninth streeter, I've been going there for years. But, am I alone in hoping this downturn has some positive aspects?

My rental - which was condo-ized two years ago - hasn't made a sale in months. I have a neighbor who I met when he moved in, and the next time he was at his apartment was when he moved out seven months later, saying that I "Should get out too, buddy, before the whole neighborhood tanks!" good riddance to him and the others for whom the village was never more than an investment and who never heard of Joe Gould.

Thanks, Jeremiah, for blogging. I hadn't the heart to, but I may get my Irish up after your inspiration.

Mahima said...

Oh Boy, Ive never been to New York or anywhere else for that matter, but im already heart borken for Love saves that day....

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I did NOT move to New York for the stores!

John B said...

OK - I understand you didn't move here because of the stores, but in many cases they *are* the neighborhood, the face of people in it, and an indication of how the neighborhood has changed.

The loss of Love Saves The Day and Krywicki's Polish market are terrible, because they will be replaced with places with less of a sense of place, less character, and less "New York-ness".

If one is content to lose these folks and have another Starbucks to go to, then why come here in the first place.

If you don't care about the stores, fine. But you say you came here for other things. I can guess what those things might be, and if you want those things and want to keep them and your neighborhood intact, I URGE you to patronize the local owner over the chain, even if it costs a few cents more per purchase.

Otherwise, you might as well live anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm about to move from my current Manhattan apt. to save on rent, and from what Craigslist is showing, it's a much better deal to stay in Manhattan. I can find something for the same price as Brooklyn, and save the commute $ and chunk of time from my life. Brooklyn will follow the same path a la the chains.

JennBLITZ said...

this REALLY blows chunks. check my homage to LStD: www.musikBLITZ.blogspot.com

Emma Smith said...

This is so sad. I only just discovered this place as I am from the UK but come to NY regularly. Last summer I bought a ton of original vintage adverts, a tartan 70's mini dress and a Zena the Warrior Princess doll-all for under $50. Where else could you get all that stuff in the same place? And so cheap? Not like all those sanitised rip-off Vintage places elsewhere in NY.

Vanessa Anne said...

Oh wow... how things change... I walked by there on the way to Astor Place for like, a year straight (till I moved to AStoria). That's really sad, it was a great EV spot!