This past summer, while summing up Bleecker Street's Luxe Blitz, I wrote: "Today, from 10th Street all the way northwest, the only businesses left on Bleecker that aren't high-end mall stores or intimately connected to Sex & the City are the art gallery A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (since 1976) and the 22-year-old Arleen Bowman boutique."
And then there was one.
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is gone after 36 years. A "Store For Rent" sign hangs in the window.
The realtor crows in the listing, "This is the 1st time in over 3 decades this Store has become available! Located in the heart of the Far West Village Gold Coast Retail Mecca along side Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Michael Kors and INTERMIX."
Of course, it was impossible for Tom Martinelli's little gallery and frame shop to last here, not with Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, and all the rest squeezing and clawing, spreading like a virus along a street filled with red-soled, toddling vampires out for a fix, trying to be the next Carrie Bradshaw, trying to swallow the city whole.
In 2008, Sarah Jessica Parker, the original Carrie who helped launched the luxification of western Bleecker with one bite of a pink-frosted cupcake, talked to Emily Nussbaum at New York Magazine about how she worried that "a friend who owns a framing shop will get priced out."
The cruel irony is too obvious to mention.
As for the Arleen Bowman boutique, last Mohican, you are now in New Bleecker's sniper sights.
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Bleecker's Luxe Blitz
More Jane, Less Marc