Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores

by MR Magazine Staff

Someday urban planners and retail executives may want to debrief Robert Sietsema. As someone who has lived at the corner of Bleecker and Perry Streets for 27 years, he has witnessed the rise and fall of a luxury shopping district that grew out of workaday surroundings in the 1990s and has left empty storefronts in its wake. Bleecker Street, as Mr. Sietsema wryly noted, became “the epicenter of the designer-store revolution, whereby many of the old, functioning stores, like bodegas, laundromats and video stores, were replaced by shops selling $400 T-shirts.” During its incarnation as a fashion theme park, Bleecker Street hosted no fewer than six Marc Jacobs boutiques on a four-block stretch, including a women’s store, a men’s store and a Little Marc for high-end children’s clothing. Ralph Lauren operated three stores in this leafy, charming area, and Coach had stores at 370 and 372-374 Bleecker. Joining those brands, at various points, were Comptoir des Cotonniers (345 Bleecker Street), Brooks Brothers Black Fleece (351), MM6 by Maison Margiela (363), Juicy Couture (368), Mulberry (387) and Lulu Guinness (394). Today, every one of those clothing and accessories shops is closed. Read more at The New York Times.