Never have we seen a store so bereft of merchandise (and customers, come to think of it) that was still actually open. There is now a fully funereal air on the few floors that are left open, and the salespeople who are left cannot be blamed for looking a little forlorn. After all, now they are tasked with little more than standing guard over their nearly empty selling floors as they finish witnessing their once vibrant workplace die a protracted death. In fact, we had to wonder if the barren store is remaining open simply to allow the remaining staff to collect their hourly wages.
Still up and running are the much loved Tea Box Restaurant on the lower level, and the Floral Boutique now on the main floor (operated by 19th street's Florisity) which in marked contrast to the rest of the store was still lush with blossoms when we stopped by yesterday. They would be the only reasons to stop by the otherwise desolate place.
In related news, the building that houses the store at 693 Fifth Avenue, which was also owned by Takashimaya, was finally sold this week to Thor Equities, the development group controlled by Coney Island's Joe Sitt. There has been no official comment on the disposition of the site yet, but it is believed that the lower few floors will be kept as retail space, hopefully attracting a multi-level retailer looking for a splashy Fifth Avenue address (Hello...Topshop? Too narrow?) while the upper levels of the store could be converted to join the rest of the 20-story tower as boutique office space.
So if you have fond memories of Takashimaya, and you have no need for display cases, by all means stay home! You will be far better off remembering the place as the elegant store it was.Thor Wins Takashimaya (NYPost via NYObserver)
Clearance Update: 2 Floors Closed Already At Takashimaya