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Friday, April 03, 2009

Times Are A-Changin'

Yes, in NYC, stores openings are occasionally media events. Topshop, a British based clothing chain of over 100 stores, opened its first US store yesterday at 478 Broadway (south of Broome Street) in SoHo. What we have here is where buzz meets the American passion for shopping. The awaited opening was covered by every local media group. For over a week before the opening, a pink Topshop van had been busy giving out free tote bags which included gift cards worth up to $500.
Model Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez and Mark Antony were at the ribbon cutting on Thursday, April 2, as was owner Sir Philip and Lady Green. Kate Moss, who has been doing a fashion collection with Topshop since 2006 will be introducing her spring line with the opening of the SoHo store. I arrived in the evening. A tented press area with seating had been installed. Evidence was still on hand of a media event with network TV, professional video cams, photographers and security. Customers were being corralled through gates. Lines wrapped around three sides of a block - Broadway, Broome and Crosby Streets.
Topshop's flagship store is on Oxford Street in London and is the world's largest fashion store - 90,000 square feet on four floors with as many as 30,000 visitors per day. The New York City store occupies 25,000 square feet on four floors.
The store is only two blocks from Canal Street, remarkable since Broadway has been decidedly rougher the closer one gets to Canal and historically has been rather downscale and most immune to gentrification. The arrival of Topman with Citibank flanking one side and a new J. Crew coming soon on the other side with Bloomingdales less than one block away certainly heralds a new age for this immediate area, extending the boundaries of SoHo chic and stamping out the last vestiges of industry along these blocks of Broadway just north of Canal.
Canal Street and the area around it has been known for many things - industrial supplies like Space Surplus Metals (gone), Canal Rubber, Industrial Plastics (gone) and Tunnel Machinery (gone); Chinatown and the Manhattan Bridge going East; the Holland Tunnel and discount shops with fake designer products. Adjectives like cheap, tawdry, seedy and dirty would all apply. But the times they are a-changin' ...


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Will Hennessy said...

it's so interesting to watch change as it's happening. pretty soon, the new NYC transplants will not recognize the NY that people born and raised there over the last 30+ years once knew.

on a side note, i love the look of the red building, too...

Jesse said...

It's Topman's ;) I can't wait to visit it next time I'm in New York last time I went they were still building it.

Jesse said...

Oops it seems that Topmans is the mens store and Topshop is the womens store. I didn't know that, I learned something new today haha. Sorry about that.