Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Chelsea Shop Looks to Breathe Gay Life Into Old Neighborhood

As I lamented the sad state of affairs on Chelsea's 8th Avenue -- 17 store fronts now sit empty between 14th and 23rd streets -- it seemed like the right time to also mention something good happening on what was once the queerest avenue in America. The gay boutique Chelsea Exclusive has recently opened in the former home of Spruce Flowers, on 8th between 21st and 22nd streets. While the neighborhood still has (more than) its share of sex shops, Chelsea Exclusive is a refreshing blast from the past, more in keeping with the now-defunct Chelsea staples Universal Gear and the Starting Line. 

The owner writes online: "Over the past decade, we have noticed that there has been a rapid decline in small retail boutiques in the Chelsea area. As a result, our demographic has declined significantly making Chelsea unrecognizable to people that have been roaming the street for years. Hence forth, we decided to open our first men's boutique here. Our mission is to bring back a little taste of the old '90s Chelsea, of fun, unique style that you were once able to find on every street corner. The Chelsea Exclusive boutique represents this and a lots more."

Here's hoping this is the start of a renaissance. On the upside, the new restaurants Temerario, Seamore's and Mexicue and new night spot Rebar seem to be doing reasonably well, as does the little tapas place (Lamano) just off 8th on 20th. And Gym bar renewed its lease for 10 more years. 


jaragon said...

This is depressing specially if one remembers how lively that street use to be- but I guess the real state companies would rather have empty spaces than lower the rent for small businesses. The Barnes and Noble at 8th street has been closed for years.

Robert said...

Cold hearted greedy landlords waiting for a giant pot of gold to fall out of the sky onto their properties is the reason why so many small businesses have closed up and fled these once unique vibrant urban neighborhoods. Its not only NYC, it is in most US cities.