Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rawhide Replacement

In January I announced that adult erotic emporium the Blue Store would be moving into the former Rawhide space on 8th Avenue in Chelsea. It seemed, at first, like good news, a bit of old 8th Avenue smut and queerness expanding. Then it wasn't.

DNAInfo followed up on my story and was told, “It’s going to be like a high-end store with high-end lingerie. We’re trying to bring to the block a new concept.”

Here it is:

photo: Richie Cohen

It looks like every other Marc Jacobs Ralph Lauren Brooks Brothers, etc., etc., shop on Bleecker St., which it will probably become soon enough. Reader Richie Cohen tells us, "I've walked by multiple times at different times of day. Never ever a single customer."

The Rawhide occupied this space for 35 years. It survived the neighbors throwing bricks and eggs. It survived AIDS. But, like too many of our city's storied small businesses, it could not survive hyper-gentrification. The landlord reportedly hiked the rent from from $15,000 to $27,000 a month.

If we'd had the Small Business Jobs Survival Act in place at the time, the Rawhide might still be here. #SaveNYC.


Anonymous said...

I was standing in the middle of Downtown Orlando yesterday and felt like I was in the meatpacking district. Cities have become shallow imitations of each other, sad.

christian montalbano said...

Jeremiah great internview on NPR today.

Mark said...

Worse, when I passed by around 9:00 AM those grey curtains were closed on all the windows so it presented NOTHING to the streetscape.


laura r. said...

jeremiah, how can i hear your interview from NPR? is it arcived on their site? do they have a site?

Anonymous said...

Math is not my strong suit.

Nonetheless, if a month is more or less 30 days, an establishment has to bring in $900 a day minimum to cover $27,000. And that's not accounting for employees, for electricity, for inventory...

And then one has to consider all the months post-Rawhide when the space was empty, bringing in zero.

How is this good business for anyone -- unless the business is money laundering?

Anonymous said...

Me no know about this kind stuff. :/

Anonymous said...

How many edible undies will they have to sell to make $27K in rent?!

Anonymous said...

Like most new businesses on this strip, it's bound to be closed within a year or two. Chelsea is being destroyed by greedy building owners trying to cash in on the High Line condo explosion. How long will this neighborhood stay "desirable" when there's nothing left but banks and drug stores?

Kink&Blue88 said...

I’m 28 years old and it’s sad that many places in New York are dying. #SAVENYC.

That said, the store that took over, VIBE, caters predominantly to (mostly) queer men. The manager is an older gentleman and he is incredibly kind, patient, and willing to answer any questions about items in the store that I have and about the area. I view him as a mentor. The nickname I’ve heard some people give him is “The Mayor of Chelsea.” Some of their items are high end, though honestly their underwear, sweaters, and harnesses sell pretty quickly and much of what they have is pretty well priced. Their sweaters are super warm. I’ve already got lots of memories associated with the place that I’d like to keep private. It still seems like it has good energy and the shop essentially being a gay clothing store I feel keeps in legacy with Rawhide; It is selling jocks, harnesses, and I have bumped into quite a few people there who are into kink/bondage related activities which is what leather culture is to me. >_^.

BTW: Coincidentally the temperature is still super hot in the place due to that draft from the door, a heat issue which from what I was told Rawhide also had.

Conclusion: I’m happy VIBE is a shop that caters to men and I hope it stays for years. It’s clientele seems pretty kink to me which are the kind of people I’d be looking for if I went to a leather bar. It could actually do FAR more as a space if the manager had his way but unfortunately the owner is a Homophobe and it’d be super nice if they could get a secondary exit and bring the basement up to code but sadly it won’t happen. (I thought owners wanted to make more money? Oh well.)

I think it’s a miracle that Chelsea still has clientele in the face of hypergentrification and my greatest hope is that it’ll stay that way.