Monday, February 11, 2008

7th Street Clearance

Seems like everywhere you look in the East Village these days, shops and restaurants are shuttering and For Rent signs are going up. Some blocks, like on 9th Street, every other storefront has a Rent sign on it. Maybe 7th Street is next for an overhaul.

Between 2nd and 1st, Varsovia Travel and Shipping moved out not long ago. They catered to the once-thriving, now-dwindling Polish population. The windows are papered in secrecy but the other night I found a guy in there who said it's going to be a tattoo parlor. This is surely better than a wine bar, but the last thing 7th Street needs is to become another St. Mark's Place carnival...

The three words still stickered to the door translate "parcels by boat, air":

Between 1st and A, the newbie boutique Sugar is shutting down and everything's on sale. Maybe this newcomer bit off more than it could chew during the recent period of irrational exuberance? Anyway, they're on their way out. I bet they'll be replaced by yet another trendy hair salon:

The non-profit Bodanna Studio & Gallery has also closed. It sounds like they were actually doing some good in the 'hood, teaching life skills to low-income people. (*See Bodanna's comment--they've moved to Soho.) They were in the space formerly occupied by Theo Wolinnin funeral home and kept the great "Licensed Undertaker" sign out front...

Let's hope the next tenants don't dislodge this East Village artifact:

As you can see from this mix, it's not just the old fogies who aren't making it in the East Village today. What's next? Either the greedy landlords will get the hint that their rents are astronomical, or they'll just sell out every single space to banks and chains--oh wait, even the chains, like Cold Stone Creamery and Barnes & Noble can't afford to be here. So I guess it will all be banks then.

More East Village closings:


Anonymous said...

I love your article. Its true that the rent for these places are ridiculous, especial when you only get about 5 square feet to work with.
As for Bodanna, We moved to a bigger and better location in Soho. We now reside at 376 Broome St (Between Mulberry and Mott Streets) Right Now we are under construction, and will not re-open until mid 2008.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks for writing in, bodanna, and letting people know where they can find you. best of luck in the new location!

L'Emmerdeur said...

I've always been one to try to favor stores owned by small business owners over chains, but I've become almost messianic about this the last few years.

Just this weekend, I had to get a haircut for the first time in years (I was shaving the noggin until recently). Sure, there's Supercuts and Dramatics for a cheap-and-dirty factory experience in a sterile, fluorescent environment sure to leave you drowsy. Or you can go for the wood-paneled boudoir look of a place like Jeffrey Indyke's, pay a little more, and actually have a laugh riot chatting with a great person - nay, neighbor - while getting a decent cut.

The good news is, not all landlords are gouging greedy monsters. A number of landlords on University have kept rents reasonable for the stores that have been around for decades, because they realize those storefronts add value to their property and to University itself. Replacing a great florist or lingerie store with "Ni-Hao's Fresh Taco Express LOLOLOL" will devalue their property and the neighborhood.

Some of these stores survived (and even prospered during) the Great Depression. They prefer that longevity to a fly-by-night Ralph Lauren outpost that answers to shareholders.

Jeremiah Moss said...

from a commenter:

This location, 123 E. 7th used to be my Grandfather, Theodore von Wolinnin, funeral parlor. I'm glad the plaque on the front of the building is still there. If anyone ever wants it removed please let me know as I would be very interested in obtaining it. There is a similar plaque on St Stanislaus Church.

As a little girl I remember visiting him in his office which would have been the through right front door. He lived in the apartment upstairs.

My uncle, John Wolinnin worked with him. Then when my Grandfather died he went to work at Jerema's
My grandfather passed away on 9/15/57.

Please e-mail me at

Fnarf said...

This street, and the Wolinnin Funeral sign, appear in the 1971 Milos Forman film "Taking Off".