Monday, August 10, 2009

Dog Days on the Avenue

Today is the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures up in the 90s. If you were driving an 18-wheeler down Greenwich Avenue and wanted to park, you could pull right up next to the curb in more than a dozen locations. Half the Town is away in Nantucket or Maine, and the other half are sitting by the pools at their clubs or riding the Island Beach ferry. No one is shopping.

And particularly not at Georg Jensen, which closed its doors for good on Saturday. Today all the remaining merchandise is being boxed up for return to New York. Good riddance, says your scribe.

Is the era of the chain stores on Greenwich Avenue finally coming to an end? The signs are hopeful. Quite a few have already gone, and the ones that remain can hardly be turning a profit, given their high overhead and low foot traffic. Indeed, it is a wonder that there are not more empty storefronts than the record number we already have. If one could look at the balance sheets behind the storefronts, it might quickly become evident that many of them are hemorrhaging some serious money on a daily basis.

It will be interesting to see what Greenwich Avenue looks like in another three to six months. Will things start to improve, or will they continue to deteriorate? At the moment, the trend is continuing downward. Even the pretty neon lights that used to beautify the Avenue's massage parlor are gone, no doubt as a cost-cutting measure. Times are tough all over.


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