Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Books to Sneakers

Massey Knakal just announced what will take the place of the recently shuttered, rent-hiked Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore on Broadway: "The space will be occupied by Foot Locker."

Another national chain. Another suburban mall store. Another piece of Anywhere & Nowhere, USA.



And here's what agent Brendan Gotch, who "exclusively represented the landlord in this transaction," had to say about it:

“I remember buying my textbooks at Shakespeare & Co. as an NYU student, and while both the landlord and I are sad to see them go, the realities of today’s market combined with the effect of online retailing made it undesirable for them to continue their business. Foot Locker is an ideal solution for the landlord and provides a product that is hotly in demand in this market, especially by NYU students."

Blame "online retailing" when the landlord nearly doubled the bookstore's rent, according to the Observer, to $50,000 per month. Nothing but a national chain can pay that kind of rent. Period.

Once again, our local, independent businesses need protections. Our city needs to control the rampant spread of national chains. Every day this doesn't happen is another day too late to save the city's soul.



Previously:
Shakespeare & Co. Closed
Shakespeare & Co. Closing
...and Hipsters & Tourists

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's funny because there IS a Foot Locker a few doors down (on the north side). Has been for years. Thought it peacefully co-existed with Shakespeare for years...but what do I know? That block sucks now...the life has literally been sucked out of it over the past decade and it's been replaced with the usual: a mall.

Downtown NYC (re: Soho) is basically an open-air, luxury suburban mall. I can't imagine that anyone - even the rich - actually "live" there.

Anonymous said...

One of the other big features of that block was Unique Clothing, a gigantic vintage store that these days could never exist. It would be unimaginable/unprofitable. Back then when it was there you never thought there couldn't/wouldn't be a place for it. It was a great store! Kids don't demand that anymore, they demand fro-yo.

What a bunch of selfie-sellouts!!

Anonymous said...

It is insane that a commercial landlord can double the rent like that. While a small group of real estate kingpins get richer and richer and richer, the wider population gets screwed.

Caleo said...

I remember Unique Clothing, but I could swear it was on Lafayette, parallel to the block with Shakespeare and Co. . I remember walking in there for the first time in the fall of 88', and being wowed by the shear size of the place, rack after rack of used clothing.
It wouldn't possibly survive these days, but back then nobody else wanted that space. I remember a few more vintage clothing stores on the stretch of Broadway in question, and they lasted well into the aughts, but are now long gone. It wasn't that many years ago, but you can't imagine anything like that existing today.
New York has been murdered.

Anonymous said...

Caleo hit the nail on the head "back then nobody else wanted that space" Unfortunately now they do. I don't know what the practical legal answer is. Even SF with its laws has been gentrified beyond belief and yes they have plenty of chain stores. They just limit new ones from opening. Did foot locker move from down the street?

Richard Federico said...

To the previous comment about the Vintage clothing store, If I remember correctly it was called the Unique Boutique and it was great! It was one of those stores that could only exist in the New York of yesteryear as it was large scale authentic vintage. Kids today do sort of demand that experience, but they get the corporate version in a Forever 21 chain whose clothes point to eclectic vintage style. This works for them in their disposable lifestyles, perish the thought of wearing someones previously owned or worn clothing! clothes made for these corporate chains are made anywhere, but the USA and nevermore in NYC. The special significance of a unique store or even authentic clothing is lost on the youth today, Buy new, wear it once or twice and throw away. This explains why Payless is becoming such a NYC phenomenon. Why spend for quality when we now live in a disposable culture? Even the culture that was uniquely New York has proven to be disposable.

Richard Federico said...

Yes Caleo, another one of those vintage stores lining that stretch of Broadway was the Antique Boutique. These stores were like clothing time capsules!

Anonymous said...

Wait till everyone paying these new rents realize there is nothing special here anymore...

mch said...

Well, my daughter in a Crown Heights edge of Prospect Heights.... She has opted for a huge cut in potential lawyerly salary to be a defender. The price (personal, not just financial) isn't small. I mean HUGE salary differential, from multi-hundreds of thousands to what brings her near NYC poverty levels -- is there not a middle class anymore? The either-or-ness of it all. Crazy. And, she is a bit scared, as she looks forward to starting a family. I urge her on, hoping I am not nuts. (I don't want my grandchildren to starve.)

onemorefoldedsunset said...

I remember shopping at Unique. Actually vintage clothing stores are still pretty widespread, some of them crazily expensive (like Tokyo 7 on 7th Street) and some affordable, and certainly many young kids are still into that kind of stuff. There are more mainstreamy vintage fashion places these days - almost vintage chains really - but the charity thrift shops are thinner on the ground..
Actually, there's a huge second hand clothing store in downtown Brooklyn, on Fulton Mall, that is very very cheap and is packed with shoppers - mostly regular people looking for good deals. It's called Unique too. But the way that area is going it may not last too much longer ...

Anonymous said...

Well I guess colege students need sneakers more than books.

laura r. said...

foot locker "luxury" ? are you kidding? its just an ugly mainstream store.

Anonymous said...

Seems weird to mention Unique Boutique (It was on Bway not on Lafayette) since it didnt even survive the 90s, but here's a great photo of it since everyone is mentioning it. This is the only photo i've seen of it on the net:

http://recessnewyork.com/intermission/angelo-baque

Bway used to be ground zero for youth culture in NYC. Hip-hoppers and club kids and supermodels walking around. It was great.

While we're on the subject of that stretch of B'way during that particular era, just wanna add that I miss Bayamo and it's huge paper mache crayfish suspended from the ceiling. Also miss that the Guggenheim downtown outpost was on the corner of Prince... and that African museum as well. Culture!

One last thing... to this day I avoid walking on the herb (west) side of Broadway.

Anonymous said...

Also, Unique Boutique wasnt just vintage clothes. They sold records (new york rap and house music, duh. it was the late 80s/early 90s) and there was a dude who would do airbrushed art on your clothes too.

Caleo said...

Thanks for the photo of Unique. I don't know why I had skewed the original location as being on Lafayette, but the photo brings back memories and correctly orients me as to exactly where it was on B'way.

Lisa MB said...

Don't forget the parking-lot markets that used to exist around B'way, like near Tower Records. I just google image-searched Tower Broadway and felt physically sad.

Greg said...

Unique went all the way through to Lafayette. Storefronts on both ends.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-5039510.html