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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Funny Store

This is a story recently reported by the New York Times, the Daily News and other local media. The Funny Store, a novelty shop which has been in business in the Times Square area for 50 years, is closing July 31 with a new residential development of luxury condominiums going up in its place. The shop was originally opened by brothers Irving, Mike and Lou Tannen (of Tannen's Magic fame). The current owner, Arnold Martin, has had the store since 2004. It has been frequented by many celebrities and has been a favorite of the Letterman show. The Funny Store sells gags, jokes, magic tricks, games and novelties with all the classics like hand buzzers, rubber chickens, whoopee cushions and their most popular item - fake dog excrement. Why, you may ask, is the story of a tiny novelty shop important? After all, this is not an essential service and these products can be had online. It's not the closing of this particular store but that this appears to be a typical scenario of the day and a harbinger of times to come. The changing landscape of NYC is one that many fear with a future of chain stores and luxury residences and services catering to the well-heeled. The small independent store is becoming an endangered species, along with many niche business operations. Entire districts have disappeared and industries have left the city. What makes NYC the interesting place it is and gives it character are the unique retailers, businesses, restaurants, cultural attractions and the people that make them up - the things you don't find outside the city. Catch them while you can ...

8 comments:

Fénix (Bostonscapes DP) said...

I've been writing about this issue on my blog these past few days. I don't like what gentrification (and its externalities) is doing to our cities. I don't see this as progress, to me it's nothing but defacement. :(

I love your blog.

Cheers from Boston.

Brian said...

Some areas of NYC definitely needed rehab but of course process spirals out of control and leads to over-gentrification and the resultant problems. Striking a middle ground would be ideal but is unlikely.

An Honest Man said...

It's getting to the point that no matter where in the world you are at, the city streets start to look the same.

Remoter towns and villages still manage to maintain their individuality, but for how long?

Jeremy said...

In our bid to create .. we destroy .. sad really

Brian said...

an honest man - I've been saying this for awhile. We are seeing the homogenization of cities and towns around the world. Primarily from the export of US retailing and culture. The internet and media have just accelerated the process as different countries adopt the styles, fashions etc. of each other. The uniqueness of cultures is eroding.

An Honest Man said...

So much for 'valuing differences'!

Jeremiah Moss said...

glad you added this--i blogged about it, too. this sunday is the last day.

travelphilippines said...

thats a nice store for sad people hehe. and its soo colorful too.