An episode of spring fever was the catalyst to head into NYC last week. Springtime in NYC is the most beautiful season, one in which gives people a cue to shed their clothing and spend days and nights in outdoor cafes sipping $15 cocktails.
There was another reason I had to get downtown into NYC’s Meat Packing District. I read an article about retail store, Scoop, which was having a blow out sale in order to liquidate their inventory before permanently shutter its doors at all 16 nationwide locations.
I was aghast when I read the news, because it was–yet again–another downtown shop forced to shut its doors due to high rent and competition; the result of unstoppable gentrification in a overvalued real estate market. There are other problems plaguing the retailer as well, but I didn’t want to read about it. For me it was more about being forced to come to terms with an ever-changing NYC landscape, being replaced by shops better suited on the boardwalk of Atlantic City or Paramus, NJ.
Every generation romanticizes an era, but sadly I can’t stand to witness the last vestiges of my era disappear for good.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Meat Packing District of the 80s and 90s, it was a neighborhood where meat purveyors, cut and delivered meat to neighboring boroughs and restaurants. The place reeked of decomposing meat on summer days, which made it an undesirable place to live. But it was also a place where bars, nightclubs, apparel shops could flourish under cheap rent, drawing in every walk of life you could imagine. It was a district teeming with debauchery, drugs, filth, curiously drawing in humanity’s most odd, bedraggled, creative and whacked out cast-of-characters. It was one in which my friends and I were drawn to, because of the element of mystery, danger and adventure.
There’s no reason to continue lamenting because neighborhoods change overtime. But the scope of change, fueled by gentrification and an overvalued real estate market became too surreal to comprehend.
Scoop, which has operated at 875 Washington Street in the Meat Packing district for almost 20 years was a perennial favorite of celebrities, fashion editors, and the downtown-crowd because of their designer stocked, one-stop shop for all your apparel needs. They were also known for sniffing out emerging designers, then ushering them into an enviable status.
I entered Scoop with my friend Kenn who writes the arts and music blog, NighthawkNYC.com, eager to take advantage of the up-to 30% sale. A cursory glance helped me determine, that sales in boutique designer shops stir a frenzy. I was undeterred because I knew I would find something.
AND THEN I FOUND THIS:
Smiles and relaxation. Shopping. Who needs drugs? Kenn and I left in search of cheese plates, overpriced drinks and teens clad in leggings, with fastidiously morning-ironed-argoned hair and blubbery, exposed midriffs. We knew we could find them at the Sugar Factory. $15 and up sugar laden drinks, with actual floating lollipops as a substitute for a straw. Inside this tourist trap you can find pretty, lacquered walls, too many Crate and Barell chandeliers, floor to ceiling candy-stacked corner with hovering helicopter moms chaperoning their New Jersey teens as they take incessant selfies next to giant gumballs. But my favorite? The genetically blessed waitstaff. What the hell happened to this ‘hood? Oh NY, what happens now? We can’t go on like this.
This is MY NEW YORK MOMENT.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT: My friend Kenn, who I mentioned in this post wrote a beautiful essay about our shopping spree spend together. Do you have a moment? Then read this. I’m lucky I have such great friends.