NYC has turned some sort of corner since I left four years ago. Tourist trap T-shirt and trinket shops that years ago replaced neighborhood sustaining businesses like hardware stores and laundries are now giving way to upscale shops and restaurants. One sad change to note is that the space formerly occupied by Strawberry Fields, my local grocery in the West Village, is now a hideous eurotrash men's boutique. Also, a Juicy Couture shop appearing anywhere is a vile notion, let alone on Bleecker St. but then again that western stretch of Bleecker has been going high-end-mall for a number of years now so why be surprised?
But really, two Coach shops, two Ralph Laurens, two Marc Jacobs (down from three since the accessories shop moved to 4th and Perry;) enough already. I see it all heading in the direction of 8th St in a couple decades.
The good news is that the food purveyors block of Bleecker between 6th and 7th Aves. once again has a fresh seafood shop, a welcome return. Also, Murray's Cheese moved across the street to much bigger quarters four years ago and has an expanded selection along with prepared food too. It's odd to note that the old Zito's bakery is still boarded up and empty. What gives?
The meat packing district is almost completely vegan now, if you catch my drift. It has become encrusted with boutiques and restaurants that have it feeling like London a bit, to me anyway. Talk about a complete re-invention of a neighborhood. I haven't been through that area at night yet on this visit but I hope the trannie hookers are still around and able to take advantage of the money flowing into that area now.
On Friday afternoon, a line of people, bundled up and enduring the snowy weather, stretched down 14th St. from 9th Ave. in anticipation of the 6 PM grand opening of a shiny and new Apple Store. Yet another place for me to check my email and update this blog since I decided to travel sans laptop this time. ø