October 30, 2009 in Grump Corner
Giant Halloween stores have opened in my neighborhood, two of them! One sits in what used to be Gristedes, a terrible supermarket chain. The other occupies space formerly leased by J & R Music which went Chapter 11 earlier this year and left. I was indifferent to the departure – prices were okay but service was iffy. I bought my Toshiba laptop from them and 2 years ago I succumbed to an HDTV for my bedroom. I’ve lived in Manhattan for 23 years and harbor neither nostalgia for nor relief from commerce past. Some folks are passionate about changes to the neighborhood. I’m not.
A number of years ago, my block association (hee!) was upset that Chemical Bank (quaint) closed an office and deprived citizens of nearby ATMs. Today we are overrun with banks – not thrilling store fronts – but the economy stinks and the balance of enterprise is less a concern when income is down 40%. Occasionally I’m disappointed by change, like when Club Monaco on 87th dropped their men’s line of European Slim-fit. Alternately, I am pleased with a switch; the new Dunkin’ Donuts is not so bad! And the Indian restaurant it replaced was not special. Mostly I observe and expend little emotion. I can’t remember who had the space at 101st before the T-mobile guy. Maybe a frame shop. Good news – the key guy next door stayed – tiny but convenient!
Back to the Halloween store – I have no objections to it, just curious if this is a good or bad economic indicator. I wonder what the Freakanomics guys, who I detest, think of it…
J & R had a fun window featuring big screen hardware. I usually gawked because men like big TVs. I own a modest 31 inches, but 7 foot plasma impress me! Today the display is fancy costuming and throwaway decoration. My gut is that a hardware economy is preferable for the recovery, although the Halloween stuff is kitschy artsy ironic and more New Yorky – I don’t know. I assume the Halloween stores will morph into Christmas shoppes on November 1. Or maybe two story Donut Emporiums.
I walked the blocks from 79th to 102nd/Broadway this evening. I stopped and bought a shirt. These are my streets. Hey, remember Gourmet Garage on 96th and Broadway? That was a great store. Oh wait, it still is, except for the prepared dinners which I do not recommend. I don’t care what was there before and promise not to bemoan its passing when it’s replaced by American Apparel in 2013.