Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ralph Lauren Visits Greenwich

All the smartly-dressed salespeople in their monogrammed blazers are walking to and fro between the new Ralph Lauren store and Starbucks, abuzz with the news that the Great One (that's the GO with the initials RL) is coming to Greenwich this afternoon for a final look-see at the new Renaissance palazzo that sports his name in letters of gold above the front entrance. One would almost think it's 2007 again.

The doors will open tomorrow morning, but, alas, no goody bags will be on offer, according to what your scribe has been told. "We spent it all on the window displays," a staffer confided to him. Well, not to mention the building itself, which is anything but understated in its architecture. It recalls the self-aggrandizing palaces that the Medici family used to build at the height of the Renaissance, just to flaunt their wealth in front of the local citizenry. And now we, the lucky citizens of Greenwich, can ooh and aah at this latest addition to our local landscape.

Not that it really fits in, of course. It clashes with the Art Deco of the former Bob Force's Town House restaurant, later Greenstreet, later Gaia, now something else again. It clashes with the Beaux Arts style of the old Town Hall, now the Senior/Arts center. It clashes with the more modest early-20th century buildings that make up the bulk of the rest of the block. It even clashes with the Rhinelander Mansion, but, fortunately for New York City, it's 30 miles away from there, so the clash is not as immediately apparent.

Will this faux-Renaissance edifice bring about a Renaissance on Greenwich Avenue? 'Twill be interesting to see. Further down the street, the new Apple store will open the following day in more modest premises, but your scribe's guess is that it will attract much more attention (and foot traffic) than Ralph's place. And it will probably offer better value for money, as well. Should be an interesting weekend on Greenwich Avenue.


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