Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Birdbath #9

That was fast.

Nicky's magazine shop, containing the remnants of the beloved Nikos magazine shop, on 6th Ave and 11th, just shuttered last month. It already has a high-profile new tenant.



The City Bakery's Birdbath is moving in.

This will be the ninth Birdbath in town (not including the carts on the High Line). Says Birdbath, "The bakeries are built from recycled, found, vintage, and sustainable materials. Birdbath is wind-powered, and the food is delivered from our main kitchen in bicycle-powered rickshaws. We give discounts to any customer who arrives by bike."

So virtuous, how can anyone possibly complain? But I'd rather have the old magazine shop. (Counting the seconds before someone says, "It's better than a bank.")



19 comments:

Space Pope said...

It's better than a bank! But worse than a magazine shop with character. I'm still wondering when all these places will implode on themselves.

Gojira said...

I'm sorry, but this is vile.

Anonymous said...

There was a tobacco-magazine-candy store there before Nikos became the tenant---so this goes way back. This type of business anchored that corner for close to 70 years at least.

It was there before the old P.S. 41 on Greenwich Avenue was torn down and the new PS 41 on 11th street was constructed. That was in the late fifties.

Every kid in that school came to the shop after lunch or after school to buy candy, every day . A pack of Necco's cost 5 cents and you could "treat" the entire class with one wafer each. The shop was part of the fabric of life.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to eat something from a birdbath?

laura r. said...

its a weird name for a take out food shop. sounds like a bird seed & pet shop kind of place. pet shop that specializes in birds. because of the name i dont hink they will get business. i like the ricksaw thing, & the decor looks decent. it wont stay in business. prediction: cell phone store next. or another frozen yogart. what else is NY for anyway?

Anonymous said...

Just more overpriced stuff for all those tourists and luxury high rise residents. Sad.

Pat said...

I used to think they wouldn't stay in business, but they have their fans. City Bakery is having their annual hot chocolate festival and I went in for a cinnamon hot chocolate with a homemade marshmallow. It was $7.50 for a cup of melted chocolate and a marshmallow so sweet it set my teeth on edge. I felt like a real moron for spending that much money on it.

John Charles said...

On the same theme as others I wonder how many goodies extras decadence do you need per block ? I mean something like 48% of NYC population is at or below poverty level, this is not for them this is not what they need, being one of them currently let me say this is not for me, this is not what I need. And it's kinda hard to have all this pushed in your face all the time, when you ain't got a dime.

Anonymous said...

Ugh- pretentious

Anonymous said...

We decorate our bakeries with salvaged materials. We run on wind power. We take all deliveries by rickshaw. BUT we pay $40K a month in rent.

IDIOTS.

laura r. said...

pat 2/13 how could you spend $7.50 on hot chocolate? what a price. i used to get roasted chicken & potatoes for that, a diner across from saks. i wont even buy coffee @ star bucks. what rip offs.

John Charles said...

Wanted to correct my poverty rate in NYC it's not close to that high at 22% excuse the mistake

Graham said...

You hit on an important point. Like other "green" businesses, the owners of Birdbath have deluded themselves and their customers into believing that virtue can be achieved through consumption. The logic seems to be; we produce a "good" through means that are "good," therefore our customers are performing a virtuous act by consuming the "good" we produce. Of course, just buying and selling goods is simply too pedestrian. The problem is that this logic is as cardboard as Birdbath's muffins. In their profit driven myopia and narcissism, the owners of these companies and their customers completely discount the collateral damage their "good" wreaks on the community and culture, which is what your blog documents. For a more blatantly disgusting example, see how LG is touting their "green" and "sustainable" building as a rebuttal to the protests against their blatant desecration of the Palisades.

Ollie said...

I am a little astonished at the tone of the comments and the post itself. I have lived in the village for 25 years am an avid follower of the blog and am usually saddened at the closures announced here but this...


Realistically who actually thinks that a MAGAZINE store is going to stay in business in 2014? Print media is dying a slow death and this closure was inevitable not because of rent increases but because the business model is outdated and nobody buys magazines.


Who seriously believes that a magazine store "anchors" the corner? I am an alum of PS 41 and we never ever went to the magazine store after school because when school got out they let you out on the Greenwich avenue playground side, not the 11th street entrance, where there were plenty of other stores that we went to that have since closed.


I am appalled by the vitriol being spewed at Birdbath/City Bakery. Considering it is one of the only businesses in the city to push a green agenda. Not to mention they make a lot of delicious things and they reduce the price of their baked goods after 4 because they are no longer fresh from the morning and the bicycle discount. Specifically Graham your argument holds no water because actually the only way to affect change in our capitalist society is to "vote with your wallet." When you choose to pay for the goods produced at Birdbath you are choosing to spend money there instead of at Starbucks or Dunkin donuts and therefore you are actually making a small difference through your consumption. Additionally attacking the name is childish and immature and I expect more from the readers of this blog.


Finally I also think it is inappropriate to say "at least it isn't another bank" it would be more accurate to say "at least it's not another Starbucks or Dunkin donuts." Birdbath has actually done good work for the city in preserving historic facades that would otherwise have been torn down and completely remodeled, see Zito's, and has lent some new character to the areas where they have opened their stores. Stop being so bitter people!

laura r. said...

ollie 2:22pm: i am the person who critized the name. communication is important for business. the name should reflect the product. if i saw an ad for this place, it would think it was a bird shop. other than that, I BUY magazines. i know i am old fashioned, & i understand few other people read "print". it may also be interesting for you to document some of the facades that the birdbath owners have protected.

Ollie said...

Laura, you are right communication is important which is why the name may be Birdbath but on every logo and official communication it says "neighborhood green bakery." Go visit the Soho location where Vesuvio bakery used to be and go read the plaque inside that talks about the history of the location. And for a perfect example of what this website laments just look next door at the remodeling done by both Chobani and 156 prince.

Graham said...

Ollie, first please pay attention to who says what before you slap labels on them. If you enjoy Birdbath by all means go there. But the quality of their baked goods does not excuse the owners' sanctimonious touting of their "green" sensibility. They are not at all unique in pursuing a “green agenda” and screaming it from the rooftops. Even New York's most rapacious developers cloak themselves in the language of green and “sustainable” development. NYU's 2031 Expansion Plan has the potential to destroy Greenwich Village as we know it, but that's OK because they will be doing so in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner: http://www.nyu.edu/nyu2031/nyuinnyc/sustainability/. Is Birdbath’s impact comparable in scale to NYU? Of course not, but both boast about their environmental sustainability as a means to deflect legitimate criticism of the negative repercussions they have on the community. I am criticizing a cynical use of a noble cause. My criticism is not vitriolic and Birdbath is neither the worst nor the only culprit. Regarding your “vote with your wallet” comment, let’s say that consuming is in fact the only way to affect change in our capitalist society. Then consider Starbucks' extensive corporate responsibility program http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility. Your money spent at Starbucks will have a far greater positive impact than anything Birdbath could possibly accomplish. In other words, shopping at Starbucks would make a bigger difference through your consumption. So what makes Birdbath so much better? Is it only because Birdbath is the smaller of two chains contributing to the gentrification and insane rent increases that are annihilating New York City’s small businesses? My question is when does a good business get greedy, or rather at what point does the expansion of a business start to damage what we can call a neighborhood’s economic ecosystem? I would like to hear more about that kind of sustainability. The consensus on this site seems to be that Birdbath is getting to that damage point if it's not already there. Finally, if you are looking at a blog with the tagline “a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct,” you have to expect to encounter some bitter people in the comment section.

Anonymous said...

i went to that magazine store when i was in elementary school over 60 years ago. it was a daily stop with coming home from school kids, and we were welcome. it was more then a magazine store, it was a neighborhood store. something that is rapidly disappearing these days.
they sold school supplies, candy, you wanted it they had it. it seemed like they carried every magazine and comic in the world.
i continued to shop there for many many years after i moved out of the west village.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm in the minority, but I'm happy that a quality business will open on that corner.

We are inundated with tacky nail shops, hair salons, yogurt places, and quickie food stops, so it will be a pleasure to see something more upscale inhabit that space.

We do still have a neighborhood magazine/candy store, (6th btwn 12th & 13th) but none of the solid anchors we enjoyed until the high cost of leases drove them out.

I desperately miss the wonderful asian grocery on the W. side of 6th, b'twn 12th & 13th), The fresh soup, salad and flatbread pizzas of Cosi (corner of 13th & 6th), and our go-to Food Emporium at 12th & 6th. Even Rays is long gone, although it sat on the corner for yea, so many years.

I'm concerned about who will be able to stay, and who else will be sacrificed when the St. Vincent's high-rise apartment and adjoining high-end domiciles are finished.