Where once were gorgeous hats, there will now be Slurpees and Big Gulps.
The former Arnold Hatters spot is going to be a 7-11. The "Coming Soon" sign is up and workers are pounding away inside.
I have been following the Arnold Hatters story since they left 620 Eighth Avenue in 2003. That's when the Bloomberg administration seized their property via eminent domain and used the land for the New York Times tower.
The Hatters moved farther south, to 8th and 37th, where they managed to survive for awhile. I talked to the owners there in 2007 about Bloomberg, eminent domain, and the hat business.
But in the spring of 2009, after three generations, Arnold Hatters closed with a sad shuttering. They had weathered numerous dips and shifts in the economy, but they never recovered after losing their prime location.
Some people like to say, "Oh, well, the city always changes," as if these losses are nothing, as if they're normal. But this is how the city is changing: A 50-year-old local business makes it to the 21st century, then turns into a suburban, Dallas-based, mega-chain.
In this way, every day, we are trading in this city for nothing more than trinkets and beads.
Dallas, Texas: from 7-11, Oh Thank Heaven!