Thursday, April 5, 2012

Henry in Harry's

When we see places vanish, we wonder what will take their place. Checking back in with the new tenant is usually disappointing and depressing. Still, it must be done.



In 2006, Harry Chong was forced to close his laundry after 60 years on the corner of Waverly Place and Charles. The landlord spiked the rent. A hair salon moved in, keeping part of the HARRY CHONG window signage, then it moved out. In October 2011 a For Rent sign went in the window. Last month, after the space was rented, workers scraped HARRY CHONG from the windows.

Today, there's a new upscale boutique in the spot. Henry Beguelin has moved here from the Meatpacking District, bringing MePa values with it.

That yellow handbag on the table sells for $2,195. Flip-flops go for $550.



Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that many of the "pioneering" boutiques that created MePa are being pushed out of the high-end shopping mall they created by skyrocketing rents that are attracting high-end shopping mall chain stores, like Sephora and Intermix.

With its influential boutiques on the move, thanks in part to the High Line raising property values, "MePa Creep" has begun.

If these stores have the power to make MePa wherever they go, what will happen to our quiet little blocks--and their existing businesses--when the exiled Meatpacking boutiques start showing up?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say there is no stopping the big takeover in Manhattan & Brooklyn. Best bet is to move to a city where the culture isn't ruled by Wall Street & Russian Oligarchs. The old NY is sadly a thing of the past. There are more Midwesterner's on Flatbush Avenue than native NYers. Landlords will get what the market allows. If people are willing to spend $550 for a pair of sandals, doesn't that say something about modern NY culture?

randall said...

$550 for flip-flops is an affront to everything flip-flops stand for.

randall said...

By the way, my brother does hand lettering and sign painting.

He could give you a harry chong sign across the windows in your apt. if you wanted.

Caleo said...

As I've said before, It's going to get alot worse before it gets better. At this point I'm not sure there will be a point in the future when it gets better.
The ultra wealthy have claimed the city as their own, and will continue to push out anything that stands in the way. At this point people aren't even coming to NYC simply to make money, because you need so much wealth to even afford the city in the first place.
Most of Manhattan south of 125th street, and an ever larger swathe of Brooklyn are being claimed and transformed. And it's not slowing down. There appears to be no ceiling on rent increases. People with more and more wealth keep moving here and paying these wildly inflated rents , justifying another round of increases. Where it all ends, nobody knows.
With the immanent invasion of Google goggles to further infantilize the herd, it's going to get much more pathetic and ridiculous in ways none of us can imagine.

Anonymous said...

WHAT are those flip-flops made of?

Katrink said...

MePa makes MeVomit.

Marty Wombacher said...

What an obscene store!

Ed said...

Caleo made am important point when he said that people are not coming here to make money any more (even the finance industry is shrinking). The center of the city is becoming a place for rich people to live and to hang out. It explains the diminishment of the bustle on the streets, ie most people strolling instead of walking.

Its disorienting because I didn't think you can turn a city of eight million people into a version of Swiss or Rockies resort town, and I still think something will have to give, but amazingly they are doing it. But I'm not sure if the obvious conclusion (move!) is the right answer. Because the city is so big and the change is so big that its taking time and there is a good chance that everyone reading this will be dead before it comes to its inevitable bad end.

lauran said...

i am curious about the flip flops. i am wearing a pair of black ones now. they were on sale from "old navy" (on line) for $5 per pair. (i bought several pairs as they break easily, yes i like flip flops). i had additional height added to them as they were too low to the ground. the most i ever paid for a flip flop (& im ashamed) is $22. this was "j crew" & i missed the sale. now ARE these rubber like i have? for $550. you can get beautiful leather sandals. but i believe people are so stupid they will buy anything. do not blame the new people in new york for this crazy neighborhood changes. its the developers. malls have taken over the world. from the high end to the low end. i still would take these $550. flip flops over walmart any day. what choice do we have?? btw, walmart is another rip off. now i wonder, just WHERE do people bring their laundry?

John M said...

One mistake humans repeatedly make is to extrapolate the future out of what's happening in the present. That's how our brains are hard wired.

For the past 10-12 years, the 'present' has been getting carried to its logical extension. I haven't enjoyed most of it, like most longtime New Yorkers. But to think things will just continue on in this direction forever until we're just one, big, high-end mall is probably the old hard wiring kicking in. It really feels and seems that this will continue indefinitely, and it's possible that it will, but the odds are against it. This is likely the end of a cycle that started back in the 80s. Mean reversion will, at some point, kick in.

Far too late, of course, to save much of what's left of the city many of us loved. If we live long enough, though, there will be a snapback toward the other end of the spectrum...which I'd say was in the mid to late 70s. It won't be just like that, history rhyming rather than repeating, but what's happening to the city is happening to cities all over the devleoped world, and for the same reason: massive injections of liguidity to stave off the inevitable economic drop.

Given the troubles in Europe, especially, this could happen sooner rather than later, but the powers that be have done a 'good job' holding off the trouble--or kicking the can down the road, your pick.

So, we all just watch it unfold in all its horrid non-glory....

Ed said...

John M, though I agree with most of your comment, there is some evidence that "the powers that be" have chosen New York as the one place they will make sure won't get away from them. That is why one of them took the trouble to become mayor.

randall said...

@ John M.

I couldn't agree more with your sentiment and I'm reminded of one of my favorite insights gleaned from Steinbeck's "East of Eden"

"I have spoken of the rich years when the rainfall was plentiful. But there were dry years too, and they put a terror on the valley. The water came in a thirty-year cycle. There would be five or six wet and wonderful years when there might be nineteen or twenty-five inches of rain, and the land would shout with grass. Then would come six or seven pretty good years of twelve to sixteen inches of rain. And then the dry years would come, and sometimes there would be only seven or eight inches of rain. The land dried up and the grasses headed out miserably a few inches high and great bare scabby places appeared in the valley. The live oaks got a crusty look and the sage-brush was gray. The land cracked and the springs dried up and the cattle listlessly nibbled dried twigs. Then the farmers and ranchers would be filled with disgust for the Salinas Valley. The cows would grow thin and sometimes starve to death. People would have to haul water in barrels to their farms just for drinking. Some families would sell out for nearly nothing and move away. And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and that during the wet years, they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way."

It is easy to forget that history moves in cycles.

bARE-eYED sUN said...

bad end? heh. i'm sick of it all. i was born at 26 Allen Street, or more poetically on First and First.

i've seen this city go though highs and lows but i never expected it to be sanitized to a point where it's like living in one of those sci-fi flicks where Native New Yorkers travel in to care for other-mother babies, push paper and/or set tables - then travel out leaving behind the . . . well, no name calling.

this used to be a town where EVERYONE was welcome. the best bars catered to working people, now ask for a short and yer gonna stump the tender.

its not gonna end well at all i tell ya, thankfully at my age i have no stake in the outcome (missing George Carlin) . . .

enough gripe. sorry, but this post just touched a sore spot.

..
.ero
.

tiny tim said...

@ bare eyed sun

Ha. There's probably not a bartender in Manhattan who knows what a "short" is anymore. Probably still in one of other the boroughs though.

Claribel said...

Speaking of massive injections of liquidity and watching things unfold in all their horrid non-glory, I just hope we don't end up with one of these http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/welcome-to-ikea-land-furniture-giant-begins-urban-planning-project/article2388705/page1/.

A lot of govts are kicking the can down the road and the cynic in me believes there are enough private interests waiting to step in with solutions. If you're of a libertarian mind, this is as things should be. But if you're of a generation who has a healthy skepticism of technocrats who apparently know what's best for neighborhoods they don't even have to live in, it's hard not to feel like you're being corralled into corporate-defined lifestyles. I’m tired of living in a culture of consumption comprised of target market groups. A lot of us here are nostalgic for a period we identify as being charged with creativity and experimentation and risk taking by INDIVIDUALS, not companies. The irony is that those are the very qualities needed today to jump start economies but both the public and private sectors are putting financial choke holds on generations young and old. You may despise the blight of earlier days but so many famous people who accomplished great things and found community have openly acknowledged that affordability was a key factor to making their achievements possible in this City.

(That said, I’m a mother, I have great friends, there are still great minds, artists, everyday people, cultural institutions and attractions here that I’ve grown up with or have yet to discover. So I’ll love what I still can in this town until for whatever reasons, I can’t any longer, keeping in mind that living and leaving here are both luxuries.)

Anonymous said...

john m: about your comment about the "developed world" i live in the 3rd world which is becoming the 2nd world. if you think what happends in new york is special you so wrong. the corporate takeover is world wide. from the high end to the sleezy low end. entire towns farms cities are being destroyed. main street USA is over. the entire world is one big superhighway. you should be glad NYC does not have highways going over & thru. when there is big money @ least you can still walk around. that has been taken away from most places. i saw 80 miles of farms, forests, ranches, homes (estates to humble abodes), businesses burnt down, bulldozed down so fast. they work thru the night. now it is all parking lots, urban squalor, filth & some clean strip malls between, & developments. the larger cities have malls that go on for miles. & the theme parks are coming. who ever is doing it in new york is doing it world wide. 8 lane highways were built here so more people could drive & yes, hang out (eat shop drink). it seems that "hanging out"- whether rich, poor, lower middle, is the industry of the day.

Tricia said...

Just catching up on my blog reading and saw this for first time. Although I knew a high-end clothing store was coming and had erased the Harry Chong lettering, it's still a shock to read this.

The link to the $500 flip flops, led to the Henry Beguilin blog. It says in part: "The space was formerly part of Snip and Sip and somewhere way back, Harry Chong’s." Their casual disinterest in Harry Chong's 60-year history at this location is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Tell the retailers to move to 8th Street, they need all the help they can get!

ellen in vt. said...

speaking of 8th street, does anyone remember pop's candy store? when i was 16 i used to drive from jersey on my drivers permit just to work there for a couple hours- and be part of "the scene" - that was 40 years ago- now i drive in from vermont and if i can still get rye bread from moishe's bakery i'm relatively happy... ( for me , the real beginning of the end was when 2nd avenue deli closed )

laura said...

jeremiah, will new york become the next dubai? after all, that city was built for the "best& brightest, & most skilled. (as the visionary said). i have seen live debates on this subject on youtube. what is interesting is that 60% of the worlds wealth is concentrated on the upper east side, & tribeca. the rest in UAE. do you see a similarity between dubai & the new manhattan?