Microretail in Midtown Manhattan (Part Two): can it salvage the city’s shuttered storefronts?

In this era of progressive retail collapse, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to conceive of any viable long-term solution for the numerous, variegated, embattled storefronts across this nation of largely unregulated markets. It’s already bad throughout the suburbs, where strip malls, big boxes, and even formerly mighty regional malls are under such strain from their burgeoning

If you can’t remove the room with a view, build anew.

A thriving neighborhood in the nation’s (and one of the world’s) most densely populated cities should yield great promise. This is New York City we’re talking about, and, in any given hour, at just about every intersection, hundreds—even thousands—of people walk or drive by. And the high concentration of rooftops, housing units, office leases, and

Viewing the stodgy charms of yesteryear…through a lens from to-day.

I’ve been wising up over the last few years to an escalating resurgence of the Victorian aesthetic throughout the Western world. Whether it asserts itself most powerfully in facial hair, comfort food, or a neo-Puritanism among our great social-media arbiters of taste, the Victorian revival seems most entrenched in the hippest, most urbane quarters. Take

When physical malls confront a virtual reality, the brand’s the thing.

Amidst all the talk of mall death—at least some of it from yours truly—it’s becoming easier to spot the retail sector’s outright desperation. When was the last time you visited a chain retailer and were not asked about becoming a member of the rewards program? And how long did it take you to find a

City View Church: an old, urban fedora atop a young, suburban head.

Religious conservatives have bemoaned the perceived encroachment of secularism in this country for decades, manifested most powerfully through surveys over the last few years that reveal an unequivocal rise in religious “Nones”. Credible those these results may be, polls do not always align with on-the-ground manifestations of those surveyed sentiments, as the data collected before

Taking luggage to a whole new level.

It’s hard for me to believe that I can offer anything about the New York High Line that someone else with a better knowledge base, commitment to the city, or insider’s connections hasn’t already said. It may still rank as the country’s premier greening of formerly neglected space in the past decade—a worthy successor to

If a tree grows in Brooklyn, then Queens can claim an entire garden.

When a settlement grows suddenly and rapidly, it’s common for the new development to completely overwhelm everything that preceded it: not just for the older settlement to get engulfed in the new, but for it to disappear completely. It’s happening all over the fast-growing areas of the American southwest, particularly states like Texas, where formerly rural

Teardowns: more than just an antidote to architectural monotony.

I recently featured a photomontage of teardowns and realized that, as powerfully as the images can speak, I’ve hardly plumbed the depths of this rich subject. Many other visuals await. In the weeks ahead, I’ll reveal my first blog post from a U.S. state I have not yet featured (and haven’t visited for almost twenty years),

From offal to awe-ful: branding the Meatpacking District.

Forgive the awful triplicate pun, if you can, and step back in time for just a moment. If we were to take some fashionable New Yorkers from 1986, shove them into a DeLorean, then shuttle them to the present, can anyone imagine the shock on their faces if this were the first thing they saw

Sterling silver in a sandwich.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how, in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible for a storefront in the middle of a city block to secure a tenant. The population density usually just isn’t great enough. If the storefront is on a corner, it could work, and if it’s in the middle of

Taking luggage to a whole new level.

It’s hard for me to believe that I can offer anything about the New York High Line that someone else with a better knowledge base, commitment to the city, or insider’s connections hasn’t

Sterling silver in a sandwich.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how, in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible for a storefront in the middle of a city block to secure a tenant. The population density