Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Leo Design


Back in 2010, after 15 years on Bleecker Street, Leo Design gifts closed shop. Their goodbye sign at the time said, "We're being turned out." This was in the middle of the luxury blitz that decimated the western end of Bleecker, turning the quiet and eclectic local street into a homogenized suburban shopping mall for the very rich.

Leo Design moved to Hudson Street. And now it's closing again.

Their goodbye sign this time around is longer--and more heartbreaking. The core of the letter gets right to the core of the problem in the new New York. Owner Kimo Jung writes:

"Long-time neighbors in The Village will remember when we opened 22 years ago. What a different place this was! Mom & Pop shops were the rule, not the exception. One-of-a-kind shops lined the streets—and shoppers could find odd and wonderful delights unavailable in any suburban shopping mall. The Internet was something new and Simon & Garfunkel sang that 'thirty dollars pays your rent on Bleecker Street.'

What happened? Well, the neighborhood changed—some change for the better, some change for the worse. I miss the Village’s alternative, Bohemian character. And I miss the people who used to be able to afford to live in Greenwich Village—especially the young artists.

Don’t get me wrong: I have had (and continue to have) wonderfully supportive customers. I’m brimming with tears of gratitude as I write this sentence. But as my rent (and every other expense) increases, it’s hard to rely on the same devoted core of supporters to keep spending more and more.

Take a look around: there are very few small shops left. I guess it’s always been just a matter of time."

January 31 will be the last day--and they're having a 25% off sale. Leo Design will keep operating online, according to Jung's note, until a new space somewhere appears.


  1. Before Leo Design moved to Bleecker, it was on Jane Street in the space now occupied by indie coffee shop Grounded.

  2. It's undeniable - the Village is not even a cartoon version of what it was from 1900-1970. It's just one big chain boutique now, serving the upper-upper-middle-class who decided long ago to take over every neighborhood except Spanish Harlem.

  3. From a fellow merchant still hanging on opposite Leo Designs, we love you and we'll miss you as we are all swallowed by fake luxury.
    The End of History, 548 1/2 Hudson Street

  4. Thanks, Jeremiah, for noticing. My hope (for you and other "media-smiths") is that small, Mom & Pop shops will get this kind of attention before they reach the ends of their ropes. Thanks for shining a little light. Kimo (LEO Design)

  5. Another thing about West 28th Street west of the High Line, it is in the FEMA flood zone map as moderate to high risk of flooding and requires that those getting federal mortgages to buy flood insurance. Much of West Chelsea is in a flood zone, maybe that is why there was not much residential building there before. Hudson Yards above West 30th Street is almost all in the high risk flood zone.


Comments are being reviewed sporadically. Your comment will be received and held for approval. There's no need to post the same comment multiple times. It's coming through just fine.

NOTE: Comments are moderated by the blog owner. Your remarks and lively debates are welcome, whether supportive or critical of the views herein.

However, commentary that is intended to "flame" or attack, that goes off topic in order to flame, or contains violence, potential libel, and the like will not be published. Commenters who regularly harass or abuse, Anon or not, your comments come with an identifier and go directly to the Spam Box.

Please bear in mind, this is an individually run blog, not a democratic nation nor a wide-open public forum. Comment publication is entirely subject to the owner's discretion.

Thank you.

And a disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by commenters are those of the commenter, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blogger.