March 30, 2009
Madison Avenue: Closed for Business
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.