There’s more for rent retail space in Manhattan than ever before. Since the fall of 2008, the city is full of ‘for rent’ signs on the main avenues and in the ritziest districts. There’s a story in the New York Post about it today at http://nypost.com/2014/04/26/the-hidden-proof-the-economy-is-still-awful/
Let me tell you what we’ve got down here: West 8th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenue is a ghost town. Barnes & Noble went out out of business, and no one replaced them. Vacant. Across the street, Gray’s Papaya went out, and no one’s come in, although there are rumors of something no one wants called Liquiteria.
Next to where Gray’s Papaya used to be, there’s a store that is perpetually vacant. In the old old days it was Kaiser’s Fine Men’s Clothing. One business after another has died there including the most recent, a pretty good chicken ‘n’ ribs place. This is all on Sixth Avenue, in the heart of Greenwich Village.
Two or three blocks north, there’s another retail shop vacant between 11th and 12th streets, and another between 12th and 13th streets on the east side of Sixth Avenue. Across the street, after months of being vacant after Food Emporium vacated, in moved a spooky looking deep discount store called Buddy’s. They won’t be there too long, though, since I’ve rarely seen customers.
Over at the southeast corner of Sixth and 13th, Chipotle is moving into a long vacant spot. Since there are already two Chipotle’s within another couple of blocks north and and south, you can only imagine that those will close. How much demand could there be for crappy Mexican fast food in the neighborhood? One will do.
Wait! Did I mention the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 11th St.? Ray’s Pizza closed, was replaced by Roio’s, and they closed. The owners sold the building, and now brown paper covers the windows. And back around West 10th Street, heading west toward Greenwich Avenue, the former beloved Pet Palace has been boarded up for over a year, maybe longer.
This is all just in a small radius of a neighborhood where billionaires live in townhouses and a huge luxurious apartment complex is being built where St. Vincent’s Hospital once stood. There is no regular supermarket anymore where you can buy paper towels, canned soup, or Reynold’s Wrap.
It used to be the New York no one talked about was in an outer borough. But nowadays, it’s right on the Gold Coast. In a lot of ways, New York neighborhoods are a lot like small towns across the country– and sometimes just as forgotten.