I’m sure you’re wondering why I posted this ugly picture of a beige plywood facade and scaffolding. No, it’s not a slow news day. Just the opposite, in fact! It looks like work is underway on the new Urban Outfitters store in the Ariel West building (Broadway between 99th and 100th).
Yes, I’m excited about this. The quality of the retail above 96th has improved so much with the Columbus Avenue renaissance and now this. Yes, they are corporate chain stores. But at least storefronts are being filled with something other than banks and Dan Smith “Learn How to Play Guitar” fliers.
About a month ago we learned that Urban Outfitters was opening a second location on the UWS. I live on the upper half of the UWS, otherwise known as “fashion wasteland.” I’m definitely not complaining, because I like Urban Outfitters. But I thought, and still do think, that it is a strange location for a hipster store aimed at 20-somethings, especially since we already have one on 72nd and Broadway. I can only assume they’re looking for the Columbia students.
Anthropologie, which is owned by the same company that owns Urban Outfitters, would have made much more sense. It’s aimed at a slightly *ahem* older and more sophisticated demographic, yet it’s still funky. They also sell shabby chic French farmhouse dishes and linens that would be perfect in any pre-war classic 6 on West End Avenue. The closest one is currently in Rockefeller Center. And who wants to go there? But I’m sure the company must have bench-marked or focus-grouped or whatever retail does to determine where new stores should be built.
On a somewhat unrelated note, did you notice the new snazzy glass bus stop in front of the store? I’m wondering why the uptown side didn’t get one. Those poor saps still have to stand under the death trap known as the Metro Theatre and wait for the bus. I see everyone huddling under the marquee on rainy days and think what a false sense of security they actually have. On rainy days big rusty chunks of the tin ceiling often come clattering down onto the sidewalk.
Maybe Urban Outfitters can build an Anthropologie in the Metro and fully dominate the block. I’d support it.