March 30, 2009

Madison Avenue: Closed for Business

Originally uploaded by missavictoria
I have a lust/hate relationship with Madison Avenue. I always have. To me, walking down Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side is like walking through a living issue of the September Vogue, each store window another glossy advertisement for something I want but can't afford, that I wish I could tear out and look at forever.

From 86th Street down to Barney's @ 60th Street (which I consider the cut-off point between Upper East Side elegance and Midtown exhaust fumes) just FEELS like Manhattan; the Manhattan that I dreamed of living in since I was a kid playing MASH; the Manhattan that made me so excited to move here that I think of my apartment's location in terms of its proximity to the shops of Madison Ave. (20 minute walk to the Louboutin boutique!)

Luxury, beauty, decadence...excess, waste, pretense....Can't notice the beauty without noticing the prohibitive price tags, bad face-lifts, and the sad juxtaposition of the Bronx-bound express buses driving by. But still, I love(d) it!

Now, Madison Avenue is closed for business...

Sometimes to treat myself, I take the bus home up Madison instead of taking the 6 train and I noticed a lot of stores for rent. I decided to take a walk this weekend and see just how many places have been affected by the recession. I took pictures of all the "Store for Rent" signs as a way to mourn the loss of my street, my American dream.

26 stores closed in 25 blocks. From the Sharper Image, whose name they tried to blur out to galleries whose names I never knew--closed. Even in the shadow of the Plaza Hotel, below 60th Street, huge retail spaces are empty and up for grabs. Someone had to document these sad empty store fronts. Sigh.


lucklys said...

i know a lot of stores are closed or closing on 3rd ave, too. everytime i get the chance to walk a few blocks, i notice more and more stores with liquidation sales, "everything must go!" signs, and locked doors that don't look like they're going to be reopened anytime soon. it's kinda sad and a little scary to think that if big-name companies and once-popular businesses can't hold their own in the recession, how are we going to?

Lacey Bean said...

It's sad, isn't it? I work near Times Square and many of the small shops that we used to get lunch at have closed in the last few months. And a bunch of garment stores and smaller shops also. I hope they'll be able to come back someday.

Anonymous said...

Hi Missa -- I'm writing a story on this topic & would love to talk to you -- could you get in touch? When you get back from Topshop of course. Thanks.
Martha Moore

Anonymous said...

This is really impressive, in a sad sort of way.

T. Glen said...

T. Glen

A lot of small joints and restaurants are vanishing in Chelsea. Sometimes the Chelsea Market could be used as a bowling alley. The crowds are down but the prices remain the same. The good news is as a commuter I no longer wait 30 minutes at the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels (unless there is some dope in a '89 Kia with a broken axle). Too bad we can't hold the thieves of Wall Street responsible. They hide behind their hedge funds ripping off retirement plans with a cell phone and laptop. Missa enjoy your city observations, keep them coming.

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