Counting Down the Days ’til the Annual Village Halloween Parade — Now 18!

Now 18 Days!

Uncle Sam’s Army-Navy Store on West 8th Street wants you to know that it is “your Halloween Destination” and is counting down the days til the Village Halloween Parade, an annual tradition – the 39th year!

Photo taken yesterday so it is now 18 Days!

Time for a costume tho’!

New Happenings on West 8th Street – Hotel, Sewing Center, Craft Beers – and a Closing?

Now Open -- Textile Arts Center

Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the decline of 8th Street in the Village. For a number of years now, new businesses have tried to get a foot hold on the once popular strip. Many have closed; seemingly more and more rapidly — likely due to exorbitant rents.

There’s a few new shops – and a hotel – coming in this fall on West 8th between 5th and 6th Avenuesand one new restaurant closing? Will they take hold?

Here’s a sampling:

1 West 8th Street – Vegan organic juice spot, Organic Avenue is coming to this location at 5th Avenue.

3 West 8th Street – New Hotel With Literary History Coming. Owners are, supposedly, aiming for it to be “affordable.”

From Hotel Chatter:

In New York’s Greenwich Village, right above Washington Square Park, there exists a building known as the Marlton House—formerly an SRO, it was converted in 1987 into dormitories for students at Parsons The New School for Design. And now, thanks to Sean MacPherson and Richard Born, it’s becoming a hotel again.

What’s interesting about the building is its history of attracting notable writers, artists and actors as guests—Jack Kerouac, Edna St. Vincent Milay, Maggie Smith and John Lithgow have all stayed here.

For the new W 8th Street hotel, Born and MacPherson will look for inspiration to their two previous efforts: the Bowery Hotel and the Jane Hotel, saying the renovation design will be “in that genre.”

The NY Post spoke to Born about the new project, who said:

“It’s screaming for a hotel that will fit in with Greenwich Village and NYU,” he said. While it will have a bar/restaurant, Born believes the hotel itself won’t be “terribly pricey.”

This scares me a little. It sounds more NYU than Greenwich Village.

24 West 8th StreetApple Cafe Bakery. DNAInfo covered the space coming in with “New Bakery Brings Gambian Spice”:

Apple Cafe Bakery is taking over the storefront formerly owned by wine purveyor Is-Wine, which vacated about five months ago, Abramson [from realtor/property owner Buchbinder & Warren] said. The 1,100-square-foot space rents for about $9,500 per month, according to the site.

26 West 8th Street – OPEN SINCE THE SUMMER — Textile Arts Center; 2nd location — the other is in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Currently, there is no mention of the West 8th Street location on their web site. Last night there were people inside taking classes. I’d heard previously from the managers that they were “keeping a slightly lower profile this summer” at the 8th Street store as they got up and running.

26 West 8th StreetThe Growler Station, a craft beer store is coming, via The Real Deal Deals.

30 West 8th Street – is available! Right off the Park at MacDougal Street; this previously housed woman’s glittery clothing store, Versailles (which moved to Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn). The listing from Buchbinder & Warren states it is 750 square feet and renting for $11,500.

47 West 8th Street – State Room restaurant closed and soon to be vacant?

State Room 47 West 8th Street, No Longer?

It looks like the State Room, previously Rabbit in the Moon, at 47 West 8th Street has closed. It always seemed to operate like a private club and they added a new fake facade and all this plastic ivy to the exterior – without getting Landmarks Preservation approval first. The interior, per the web site, actually looks somewhat nice but the exterior just did not draw you in. It certainly looks closed and there’s no note saying they’ve gone on vacation.

As for what Buchbinder and Warren Realty is looking to fill the vacant spots on West 8th, DNAinfo reports:

Buchbinder and Warren Realty Group advertises four vacant West 8th Street retail spaces on its website. Bill Abramson, director of the group, said his company is thinking carefully about how incoming tenants will shape the neighborhood.

“We could fill up our shops with tattoo shops and [eyebrow] threading shops, but they’re just not the type of tenants we want and that we think will enhance the neighborhood,” he said.

It doesn’t have to be tattoos and threading on 8th Street, but how about making it affordable for, say, a book store? the return of PosterMat? What else?


Previously on WSP Blog:

Fashion Designer and Former Tenant Patricia Field: NYU Killed 8th Street August 12, 2011

Spotted in Shop Window on Troubled West 8th Street: “Support Small Business” March 16, 2011

Scene: Uncle Sam’s West Eighth Street

Street Scene Outside Uncle Sam’s Army-Navy Outfitters at 37 West Eighth Street (previous home of beloved PosterMat) Friday.

Fashion Designer and Former Tenant Patricia Field: NYU Killed 8th Street

Patricia Field's Former Storefront, House of Field, on East 8th Street

Earlier this year, I wrote about the state of 8th Street off of the Park, once a destination when visiting New York City, a thriving strip of unique movie theaters, stores and book shops. Particularly over the last decade, 8th Street has veered downhill with vacant store fronts left and right, despite (or partly because of?) the existence and ‘efforts’ of the Business Improvement District. The BID, formerly named the 8th Street BID before changing it to the more gentle-sounding, Village Alliance, heavily promoted the redesign of Washington Square Park, under former director Honi Klein.

The Architect’s Newspaper Blog posted an article recently, “The Trouble With Eighth Street,” revealing the existence of a report commissioned by New York University which noted the potential economic viability of the strip within the Village. Television and movie fashion designer Patricia Field (“Sex and the City,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) was quoted within the piece via a spokesperson strongly critical of the university. Ms. Field’s extremely popular store, House of Field, resided on 8th Street between 5th Avenue and University Place for close to 40 years until 2002.

It was revealed that the educational institution, and one of the largest real estate holders in New York City, largely in the area surrounding Washington Square, was Ms. Field’s 8th Street landlord, responsible for her ouster from the retail and residential space in the building.

From the piece:

The street, which once played a distinct role in Village bohemia, began as a hub for book dealers and fostered the original Whitney Museum. Eventually, the street became a district for shoe stores and edgy fashion anchored by Patricia Field. Field decamped for the Bowery about nine years ago and much of the street has since devolved into a hodgepodge of chain stores and characterless low-end retail.

Recently, NYU commissioned a report on the economy in the Village by the economic consultants Appleseed. The report identified the strip as one of a number of “soft areas where the development of new businesses can be encouraged,” particularly the block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

“Appleseed was examining the economy of Greenwich Village, we didn’t tell them the specifics of what to examine,” said NYU’s chief spokesperson John Beckman. “The mentions of Eighth Street should not be taken as an indication that NYU would be directly involved in the development of the street.”

Still, one former Eighth Street stalwart isn’t buying it. “This is a bitter subject for Patricia as she was forced to not only close her store on Eighth Street but also leave her home [she was residing on the top floor of the building],” wrote Patricia Field’s spokesperson Dennis Bernard in an email. “In 2002, NYU kicked her out and all the other business followed. NYU killed Eighth Street. This all she has to say about it.”

According to a feature on Ms. Field at CityFile, the designer studied philosophy at the university, and, shortly after a gig as an assistant fashion buyer, she opened her store on 8th Street in the ’60’s until it closed in the early ‘2000s. Field’s retail store currently resides on the Bowery.

NYU’s press release touting the data found in the Appleseed report states how important NYU is to the “economic health of Greenwich Village and NYC.”

Former House of Field retail space Now: Vacant

Posted earlier this week at CityFeet, a commercial real estate site, is an advertisement that – surprise! – the former House of Field location at 10 East 8th Street is currently available:

Greenwich Village Location ~ 1600 SF ~ Floor to Ceiling Glass Store Front ~ New AC & Lighting ~ New Infrastructure ~ Hi-Ceilings Neighbors Include : Le Pain Quotidien, Capital One Bank, L’Occitane en Provence, CVS Pharmacy, Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, & Mario Batali’s Otto Restaurant

It appears that NYU, behind the eradication of places with endless character like The Bottom Line and House of Field, wants to expunge any entity with a unique, free-spirited nature from the area — so as not to influence their students? for real estate reasons? It’s unclear how much influence the university had on the redesign of Washington Square Park, despite their small $1 Million investment (at least that’s what’s known publicly). For Eighth Street, a combination of greed, bad decisions and mismanagement by the arbiters of the real estate on the strip — those same entities attempting to “revitalize” it — is responsible for its demise. Perhaps they should try a new tactic?

Top Photo: KMP Blog
Bottom Photo: CityFeet

You can read and download the report NYU commissioned here:

Neighborhood Spotlight: Think Coffee on Mercer Street

Think Coffee Mercer Street

Think Coffee on Mercer Street is one of my favorite coffee shops in the city. In addition to being fair trade, their blends are organic & shade grown (bird friendly; conserves biodiversity) offering the perfect triumvirate in conscious coffee ideals!

There are four Think Coffee locations in NYC, all downtown. The Mercer Street location (off West 3rd) is the closest to Washington Square. It’s large with comfortable couches and tables as well as a bar. There’s artwork on the shop walls and it also functions as a mini-gallery and event space, with art receptions, scrabble, and coffee tastings, periodically. From time to time, at night, you can catch music and writers reading their work there. It’s “always happy hour” at Think Coffee with $4 draft beers and $6 wine. (Note: The Mercer Street location is very much an NYU hangout but hey! there’s free wifi and an easy going vibe.)

I previously wrote about Think’s Bleecker and Bowery location here.

Top photo: Badri N
Others: Cathryn

Neighborhood Spotlight: Monk Thrift Shop

Monk Thrift Shop is off the Park on MacDougal Street en route to West 8th. The shop has vintage and contemporary clothing, shoes, jewelry, books, tchotchkes (knick knacks), and more. Although it’s received mixed reviews on Yelp, I find it a fun place to walk in and explore. It’s obviously surviving, unlike many on troubled West 8th Street, and it’s eclectic in a city increasingly homogenized so probably a good idea to support it. Plus they have these fabulous ruby red slippers, a la Dorothy, in their window right now!

Ruby Red Slippers at Monk

They also take donations and will give you a tax receipt, so, if you don’t know what to do with some old something or other, here’s a place to bring it. They are open every day 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., except Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Monk Thrift Shop
175 MacDougal Street (betw. Wash Square North and W. 8th Street)

Flyers Abound for Saturday, April 30th Hospital Rally Around Village

Seen In Window of Lifethyme Natural Foods on Sixth Avenue

Seen in Vacant Greenwich Avenue Storefront

The once-unfathomable idea that a high-profile hospital in an affluent Manhattan neighborhood would be allowed to close had become reality. The hospital’s venerable history—over 160 years, it had treated victims of the Titanic,the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, the AIDS epidemic, and 9/11—had not saved it. Nor had its location as the only hospital on Manhattan’s West Side below 59th Street. St. Vincent’s failure left 3,500 employees jobless and 200,000 New Yorkers without their nearest hospital.

St. Vincent’s plight has been portrayed by public officials and the media as a story of local misfortune—a community losing a vital piece of its infrastructure and a centerpiece of its identity to a combination of mismanagement, the recession, and bad luck. The truth, though, is considerably more alarming.

— From New York Magazine “Why St. Vincent’s is the Lehman Brothers of Hospitals,” Oct. 2010.

Rally to Demand a Hospital will take place Saturday, April 30th, 2 p.m., at 7th Avenue & 12th Street, site of St. Vincent’s.

Tulips on Hudson Street

West Village, Outside Bleecker Playground (subject of an upcoming post!).

Window on Waverly Place

Off the Park.

** More on Washington Square Park Redesign: Phase II coming later today. **

On West 8th Street; Spotted in Shop Window on Troubled Strip: “Support Small Business”

Sign spotted in the window of Andy's Chee-Pees in business since 1977

More and more for Rent signs on West 8th Street

West 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues has been in trouble for awhile now despite the local BID’s efforts to make the strip less about shoe stores and more about high end establishments. A few new spots have opened recently but so many have closed; three in a row on the south side of the street right off MacDougal, including Is-Wine and 8th Street Kitchen, both relatively new. There was another newcomer, Patty & Bun right off 6th Avenue, on the northern side. I always meant to go in. That’s now closed.

This sign, “Support Small Business,” is in the window of Andy’s Chee-Pees Vintage Clothing. This is their “flagship store,” in business since 1977. My first memory of this Village strip is from going to Postermat in the ’80’s when the block was a destination.

The status of West 8th Street has been an ongoing discussion for years now. Is there hope for it to revitalize? It is one block from Washington Square Park. What would it take?

2006: West 8th Street will be new ‘Culinary Alley’, Village Alliance says, The Villager

2008: 8th Street Ghost Town, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

2011: More Closings on West 8th Street, Flaming Pablum