Thursday, August 21, 2008

8th St. Salvation Army

Like most of the businesses on the block before it, the Salvation Army thrift store on West 8th Street is on the verge of vanishing.

A sign in the window says “Prime Retail Space Available.” Their 10-year lease has expired and they are “in limbo,” trying to negotiate a new lease with the landlord. But with that sign up, and the way things are going up and down that ghost-town of a block, the future looks grim for what many New Yorkers, and Villagers especially, think of as the best Salvy in town.

Even dedicated label-hunters find hits here, unearthing clothes and accessories from Hermes, Brooks Brothers, and many other designers, all for about 10 bucks or less. It may be one of the few remaining places in the city where rich, poor, and those in the middle can all go urban-treasure hunting together. You can even find a strange surplus of "Dubya Duds."

Now it may be time to say goodbye to Salvy’s “3 Floors of Shopping Excitement.”


Anonymous said...

Generation Yunnie won't stoop to buying used clothing. Unless it's around Halloween, and they want to go to a party dressed as "hobos" or "hookers."

Anonymous said...

Sad to see it go.
The Sally (I've never heard "Salvy" before. Regional difference?) Army on 23rd us quite good. said...

The Salvation Army was left a gift of something like $5 billion a few years ago by a deceased billionaire, which I would assume wouldve covered their real estate costs across america. Yet they are closing in droves. Where did that money go?

Being an ex-thrift shop employee and diligent shopper of such locales across the country, I can say the SA has always had exorbitant and arbitrary pricing ($2 for vinyl LPs, $8 for t shirts, $35 for dresses, $$$ for electronics) compared to yr typical local church volunteer thrift shop (everything under a dollar). And their stuff is most always complete crap.

I'm not sad to see them go, but I mourn the loss of yr typical mom and pop thrift shop much more.

But seriously the 8th St Salvation Army was among the worst for selection. Go to the one in Astoria at least.

ee said...

Grieve, what are you talking about? -- Yunnies "want to go to a (Halloween) party dressed as "hobos" or "hookers." They dressed up like this everyday (since everyday to them is a party, if not a Halloween party) -- like the depression era clothes and their Carrie Bradshaw/hooker outfits, i.e. mini skirts, high-heeled stiletto heels, etc., etc.

Ken Mac said...

I won't miss a lot of the crap shops that have been on 8th for years, but the Salvation Army leaving is a turning point. We have a homeless guy living in our stairwell and this is where we would buy cheap blankets for him in the winter. But it's nice to see a few decent places on 8th, and we still have that excellent Mexican joint (can't recall the name), Grey's Papaya, and Eva's. There is now a great jazz club, Cachao's on the block, and a good wine store. Just don't demolish the long standing good businesses and it will be okay. But the Sally will be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

The word on the street is that the demise of the shoe stores and rents rising is the work of the Village Alliance aka the 8th Street BID(business improvement district). They want that area more high end and have apparently gotten landlords to go along with this. They have also given $250,000 towards the "renovation" of Washington Square Park with the "blessing" of the Community Board (2), many of whom are also members of the BID.

WSP Blog

Anonymous said...

I love thrift shops but most of the Sally's are pretty grotty. Housing Works has really changed the nature of thrifts in NYC. More expensive, definitely, but less smelly selection, better maintained, faster turnover. As mentioned, the Sally's Steinway Street isn't bad, though. They've been closing stores one after the other (Lower East Side, Bay Ridge, South Slope, etc.) Best thrifting clusters are still on east 23rd St and Upper East Side (2nd and 3rd in the high 70's to 90s).

Anonymous said...

That rental sign has been up since the end of June, so it didn’t just pop up recently. As of the beginning of July the man inside said that they were trying to work out something with their landlord, but he didn't seem too hopeful. The fact that it is still there after that sign has been up for almost two months encourages me slightly. I hope they work something out.... I love that place, and 8th st is looking very sad these days... There is something shady going on for sure. In just one year so many places have disappeared. CB2 played pretty dumb about it at one of the last meetings, like they couldn't conceive of a reason why so many stores, some of which had been there for decades, are simply GONE, or GOING.

JakeGould said...

So if they vacate what will that do? End up adding yet another dead storefront to 8th Street? I'm amazed at how dead that strip between University and 6th Avenue is. Back in 1985 when I was in High School THAT was our mall.

Anonymous said...

EV grieve-I've seen plenty of clothes at this Salvation Army and others,some of which have been there for weeks, suddenly show up at trendy lower east side boutiques with 3 figure price tags on them as "vintage" pieces. ($300 "distressed" 80's rock band t-shirt anyone?)
These dumb yunnies, who need their sense of style, personality and "street cred' neatly packaged and marketed back to them in a nice safe environment, spend $200 for a dress that was $9.99 last week,a few blocks away.

Willie, the manager of this store, told me that the landlord was raising the rent to more than $25,000 a month. Their lease is up and they are there month to month until a "prime retail tenant"takes the space. The last store he managed, on Allen & Delancey, closed because a wealthy couple turned the building into a private home.

sounds a little too familiar to me.