The New York City Retail Apocalypse That Wasn’t

by MR Magazine Staff

Vacant storefronts are the scourge that is eating New York City. At least, that’s been the story for the past couple of years. Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village went from high-end fashion destination to a row of empty shops reminiscent of the Rust Belt. Manhattan’s Upper East Side has been “facing a retail vacancy epidemic.” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer bemoaned 188 vacant storefronts along the length of Broadway, and a New York Times photo essay on vacant storefronts cited a “survey conducted by Douglas Elliman,” a real estate brokerage, that purportedly found about 20% of Manhattan retail space to be vacant, up from 7% in 2016. That statistic has been repeated widely since, even though when Rebecca Baird-Remba of the Commercial Observer followed up, nobody at Douglas Elliman could confirm it. Recently, though, two city agencies have finally come through with real numbers, and the picture they paint isn’t nearly as dire. Read more at Bloomberg.