Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Charlie's Lives

Back in December I reported that the 41-year-old store Yes! This Is Charlie's would be forced to close due to rising rents on the eastern end of 14th Street.

More recently, The Villager reported on the March 31 closure, quoting manager Danny Rodriguez: “Mostly outsiders are moving in, and they couldn’t care less about us. All the new shops don’t cater to the people here. You feel like an outsider in your own neighborhood. To be honest, I don’t think they even want us here. They would love it if little by little we would just get out so they can move into our apartments."

Curbed picked up that story and their commenters confirmed Danny's suspicions, saying "Cry me a river," and "There's still too many poor people in Manhattan mucking up the City," and "Let them live in the outer boroughs where they belong," etc.

Curbed speculates that the eastern end of 14th is doomed, thanks to the "A Building, with its rooftop pool and glassed-in wealthy residents," along with other changes in the area, including Stuyvesant Town's frat-house transformation and the possible $13 million sale of R&S Strauss at Avenue C. I have to agree.

But the good new is...Charlie's lives! They found a new spot, miraculously, on Ave C between 10th and 11th. It's smaller than the last place, but still filled with odd coloring books, greeting cards in plastic tubs, and rolls of crepe paper. When I was there, two women walked in and greeted Charlie with kisses, saying, "We found you! Thank God--and we're sending everybody over."

Help spread the word, before Charlie's is eventually pushed again, next time off Ave C. This one neighborhood shop is still surviving in a city ever-filling with people who are pointedly, unabashedly, and aggressively hostile to the mere existence of places like it.


Anonymous said...

Uhm, why should I be inclined to shop here over a real store?

Anonymous said...

You've had a very hostile "anonymous" trolling in here for the last couple of days. Well, I am not that person. Charlie's is new to me, and when I was in there I was touched by the neighborhood people visiting it, who were SOOOO relieved that it was still open. It was an obvious touchstone of their own identities. Why go there? $2 books of surprisingly good quality is one good reason - birthday cards for under $5 is another. Not compelling enough? Move back to suburbia, bub.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i agree, re: the hostility. not sure where it's coming from. but to also answer the question about why shop at charlie's vs. a "real" store...

there was a time, and it still exists in pockets, when real stores were for more than just shopping. they were part of the community of a neighborhood. their owners and workers looked out for the elderly, for children. they helped people out. they passed on local news. they served multiple, significant purposes.

charlie's does that today. so why should you shop there? because helping such places stay alive helps the city stay alive.

it doesn't get much more real than that.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

this is great news! i shopped at charlie's for everything when i lived nearby and i continued to shop there after i moved further uptown in 1995. in fact, i was so excited to be able to take my son shopping there for birthday supplies for his first two birthdays. now i am hopeful we will continue to do the same for many years to come. hooray for for the little guys and for people like you, jeremiah, who make this city an oasis of decency in an island of sameness.

Anonymous said...

This place rules. Unfussy greeting & birthday cards. Cheap functional stationary. Good vibes.