Sunday, April 27, 2008
The latest issue of The L Magazine has a piece a short piece on the new John Varvatos boutique on the Bowery:
In many ways, it’s the perfect setting for a designer looking to cater to aging rockers (Joe Perry, holla!) and I-have-a-job hipsters ($100 John Varvatos for Converse kicks!). Varvatos is trying to shelter the ghosts of the space, even if it does feel like Rent.
Yeah, yeah, it’s “oh so shocking” and “a classic example of the gentrification of the Bowery,” but, realistically, real estate is real estate in this city, and nothing is sacred. Take for example the sleek and stylish Stuart and Wright boutique in Fort Greene, which used to be a dry cleaner’s — the owners chose to keep the fantastically retro façade, including a big sign that reads “French Garment Cleaners” with an Eiffel Tower graphic. A lot of the stores in Soho have a gallery-esque look because, well, they were art galleries before they were overpriced retailers. The gargantuan Prada shop on Prince and Broadway used to be the visitors’ entrance and bookstore of the Guggenheim Museum’s Soho branch. Parasuco — the obnoxious denim giant on Spring Street — made the old East River Savings Bank into its flagship, a grand space composed of vaulted ceilings and marble. Everything old is new again.
Not sure if I'm following this logic.
Uh. In any event, I've been thinking about this space since Jeremiah Moss wrote this essay on the "it's better than a bank/Starbucks" syndrome. Specifically: Could there be something worse than a bank/Starbucks in that space? How about a Tennessee Mountain or Olive Garden? Or a Hooters? Or a Stage Deli-esque type theme restaurant with sandwiches named after bands who played at CBGB? (I'll be having the Television -- ham and turkey on rye with American cheese and traditional greens. You get the idea. And you can do better.) A Disney Store featuring a new line of punk-rock Mickey Mouse? A Madame Tussauds on the Bowery featuring interactive experiences like sing along with Joey Ramone? A Pinkberry spin-off called PunkBerry? What if the Bowery Residents' Committee sold the building to NYU, who promptly tore it down for a 40-story dorm?
[Photo by Jeremiah Moss at Jeremiah's Vanishing New York]