Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nicky's Magazines


Back in 2008, the great Nikos magazine shop on the corner of 6th Avenue and 11th Street shuttered. It was replaced by Nicky's magazine shop, which was far less great, but still had something going for it. Now Nicky's has vanished.

Reader John Charles Nuss sent in these photos of the closed shop.

When Nikos shuttered, after 31 years on that corner, people were devastated. The place was a dusty warren of un-glossy magazines--odd titles, obscure stacks, everything. Back then, as I peered into the window one last time, an older man stepped up and peered in with me. He summed it up, saying, "You could get anything here. I knew this would happen. It was only a matter of time."

When Nikos turned into Nicky's, I said, "I doubt we'll ever see Daedalus, Dislocate, Lacanian Ink, or the New York Quarterly in this new place." But I was wrong. While Nicky's sold mostly mainstream magazines, they kept a few shelves in the back for the hardcore stuff--and by hardcore I mean intellectual and literary. Usually, you could find some salty Villager back there, muttering and shuffling through Lapham's Quarterly or Lacanian Ink. That back section was a small, semi-secret oasis.

I kept going to Nicky's, stopping in to buy a magazine whenever I passed by, probably because it felt, in some way, like a continuation of Nikos. Maybe it felt that way for a lot of people, because since Nicky's closed just over a week ago, I keep getting emails, Tweets, and Facebook messages about it. People are upset.

Alex in NYC wrote about this closure: "Like so many other fixtures of a once-thriving, healthy community, [the old Nikos] was snuffed out like a fucking candle by a landlord's greed. In its place, a new but strikingly indistinct newspaper emporium opened. For the last few years, that business has anemically held court on a spot previously renowned as a nuanced haven for the literate and knowledge-hungry. Well, balls to all that now... Once again, the neighborhood loses."

Across the street from the shuttered Nicky's is the shuttered Famous Roio's Pizza. And so this crossroads has become a dead zone, waiting for the Chase banks, Starbucks, and yogurt shops that can pay the ever climbing rents.

in Nicky's window


Nikos closed
Nicky's moved in


Anonymous said...

Yet another victim of Bloomberg's New York, the mayor may be retired, but his dream lives on. Undoubtedly, it will become another chain like a yogurt place or a Roy Rogers =(

Anonymous said...

Up until the late 1980's there were kiosks in and around Bryant Park selling nothing but academic journals in the humanities an social sciences like Daedalus, The American Philosophical Quarterly and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Around the time the drug dealers were swept out of Bryant Park these kiosks got the boot also. NYC is now a difficult place to find anything of an academic nature. Who would have thought this would ever happen?

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Dead zone. Exactly. Broader and broader swaths of the city without any mystery or idiosyncrasy. Ugh.
I saw about Rizzoli's second eviction today. Was in there with a friend just a couple of weeks ago, and bought a copy of Grimm's tales.

Michael Simmons said...

In addition to the standard unreal estate egregiousness, this is more proof of the dumbing down of EVERYTHING. Remember when the Village was an intellectual oasis?

laura r. said...

how many yogarts can a neigborhood support? the village is no longer the village. let us know what replaces the mag store.

John K said...

So sad. One of my favorite remembrances of Nikos involves watching the elderly blonde-haired woman very carefully hoisting herself up to and down from the register area to find me an older edition of one of the many obscure journals they carried that happened to be in the back. Although I usually went to St. Mark's Bookshop for literary and scholarly journals, I found a number of rare editions, especially of October, at Nikos.

Please, Jeremiah's readers, patronize smaller, independent bookshops like St. Mark's Bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. and similar businesses of all kinds all over the city. Whether it's coffee or pizza or a meal or clothes, please consider the little gals and guys first. They are hanging on by a thread. There are rapacious real estate developers just waiting to throw these businesses into the street and usher in yet another day spa or bank branch or fro-yo outfit. Or bistro or anything else that appeals primarily to the idle rich and wealthy, suburban-raised college students (nothing against them, but they are the target consumers).

Eric said...

I live in the neighborhood. This closing makes me feel guilty that I didn't go in more often, to support them.

laura r. said...

john K 12:40pm: it goes beyound "supporting" the small businesses. the experience for the customer superior. you get good service, quiet time, better books, food, coffee etc. its so nice to have someone know what you like, try to accomodate you. this is old world, we are losing that. in a chain store/restuarant, you are dealing w/ships in the night. (employees who could care less). it is luxurious to have the owner say " hi, we just got in those pens you like. he new issue of xxxx has arrived"

Anonymous said...

This is not exactly about this neighborhood. But one of my favorite places in old ny believe it or not was called backdate magazines. It was in the shadow of port authority in times Square"s hey day
It had everything from vintage porn to national geographic .. smelled like yellowing paper.a haven of source material for an artist.