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UWS Barnes & Noble Closing
City Loses More Public Restrooms

Jp-barnes-popupBy now you may have heard that the immense Barnes & Noble at Broadway and 66th Street will be closing in January when its lease runs out. Just like so many retailers of all sizes in the city, the store was unable to continue profitably under the rent hike it faces if it remains open. The New York Times's examination of the situation reveals that a lot of people found in the store are not actually buying anything more than a cup of coffee, but it fails to mention one of Barnes & Noble's most important roles in New York City: A source of (hopefully, sometimes) clean public restrooms (as a recent SNL sketch pointed out).

While it appears that the city is no longer appears to be pursuing any plans for the public bathroom program that it used to talk about, it is left to department stores and big box retailers like Barnes & Noble to provide relief for folks who are out and about. Who among us hasn't suddenly felt an urge at an inopportune moment and found ourselves heading toward the nearest Barnes & Noble? Is there any New Yorker who doesn't have a mental map of suitable potties around the city should the need arise when far from home or work? Well, you can cross one spot off that list.

Barnes & Noble's spokespeople insist that the chain will be looking for a replacement site in the neighborhood, but knowing the area, we can't immediately think where it might be, or what could possibly fill the four floors that will soon be available, aside from the usual names on shoppers' wish lists (Topshop, Uniqlo, a small SoHo-style Bloomingdale's? etc.).

Ironically, as Barnes & Noble shrinks, Border's is expected to open a store in the next phase of the Columbus Square complex between 97th and 100th streets on Columbus Avenue, so it may turn out to be a story about trading one big bookstore for another.

At Bookstore, Even Non-Buyers Regret Its End (NYTimes)
After the jump, the full SNL Sketch featuring "Mad Men"'s Jon Hamm


UWS Barnes & Noble Closing
City Loses More Public Restrooms
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A Peek Inside Ralph Lauren's New Store


Nobody is more excited than The Shophound when a construction site leaves the front door open and we can get a look inside. The other day we got a good gander at what's going on inside the upcoming Ralph Lauren store at 72nd and Madison which confirmed our expectation that no expense will be spared for this flagship. No designer is more obsessed with the environment where his products are sold than Ralph is, and for the store to be devoted to his Women's and Home collections, he is creating a Gilded Age mansion meant to look as if it has been standing on that corner for a hundred years. Clearly, the interior is set to rival that of the historic Rhinelander Mansion across the street which has served as Lauren's main flagship for the past 25 years. His ever-expanding product lines began testing the landmarked mansion's space limitations almost as soon as the store opened, and since then, he has managed to slowly assume all of the retail space on both sides of the block of Madison Avenue between 71st and 72nd streets —which was still  not enough room. The new building should go a long way to finally allowing him to present something close to the full range of his offerings.

It doesn't look like the store will possibly be ready for Fashion's Night Out less than two weeks away on September, but miracles have been known to happen when it comes to getting stores like this ready on time. If anyone has the resources to pull that off, it's Ralph.


Another Barneys Warehouse Sale Price Drop

BNYWSlist8-30 This week is when things get REALLY cheap at the Barneys Warehouse Sale.

Some categories are now being sold with an extra 60% off the ticketed price, so CLICK ON THE IMAGE to see the full list of discounts as of yesterday evening. The security guards tell us that the list changes every day, but this should serve as a good guideline for the next day or two.


Trader Joe's Upper West Side
Opening Date Confirmed


We did have a couple of sneaky photos of interior progress at Trader Joe's upcoming store at Broadway and 72nd Street, but that's wasn't very interesting once we learned yesterday that the store is slated to start receiving customers on Monday September 20th. Though the website still lists it as 'Coming Soon', those signature hibiscus shirts don't lie. We were expecting October or November, so this is an especially pleasant surprise.

Hell, we just got used to shopping at the new, relatively hassle-free TJ's on Sixth Avenue, and soon we will only have to pop down to 72nd Street! Ah, convenience.

The new store will go head to head with West Side stalwart, the mighty Fairway, and while we don't expect the local favorite to lose much to the popular interloper, it's worth noting that the store at 74th Street has been spruced up just a bit, probably in anticipation of the coming competition. Regular Fairway customers will have noticed that the most cramped aisles have been slightly reconfigured and widened which has actually helped somewhat in making a visit to the store less of a road-rage inducing experience (seriously, sometimes it's like combat shopping in there).

Upper West Side TJ's Watch: Wood Paneling & New Hires Appear At Trader Joe's On Broadway

This Week Online

It always seems like half the world is on vacation the last week before Labor Day, but the Flash Sale sites still have a few things up their sleeves to hold your attention. One Kings Lane has a D. Porthault sale on Monday, and is launching a Sunday Pantry program featuring gourmet food. Rue La La is having Final Clearance Sales on Tuesday and Wednesday while Gilt Home has a Final Sale on Monday. Here is just a sampling of what looks good to us amongst the online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events. Be sure to check the correct start times for sales on each site.
Carlos Falchi, Generra, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Furla, Sergio Rossi —join HERE
Vilebrequin, Ben Sherman, Duncan Quinn, Generic Man, Billionaire Boy's Club & Ice Cream —join HERE
Final Sale, Beauville, Kitchen Essentials, Nachtmann Stemware & Barware, Gail DeLoach Bath —join HERE
Theory, Mandarina Duck, Arthur Court, Final Sale Acts 1 & 2, Canyon Ranch Massachusetts, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Bailey Street —join HERE
Marc by Marc Jacobs, Fila, Lucca, Betsey Johnson, Max Studio, Vince Camuto, Julie Brown —join HERE
D. Porthault Table, Bed & Bath, Claus Porto, Zambaiti Blankets & Throws, Michael Feinberg Antique English Silver, Isabel Cabanillas Sterling Frames, Jim Dine Lithographs, Roubini Rugs, Knomo Travel Bags, The Pantry featuring Chelsea Market —join HERE

J. Brand, Ella Moss, Juicy Couture, Hype, Melissa & Doug —join HERE


Balducci's Eyes An NYC Comeback

Balduccischelsea A lot of New Yorkers probably thought that Balducci's died for good when it closed its Manhattan stores last year. The fabled gourmet market remained in operation outside the city, however, with six stores New York state, Connecticut, Virginia and Maryland. Crain's tells us that the brand, now operated by investment firm Angelo Gordon & Co. ( which also owns the upscale Kings supermarket chain) is looking to re-enter Manhattan, first with a few small, 1,000 to 2,000 square foot locations before opening a major flagship in a neighborhood safely laden with wealth like the Upper East or West Side.

While we are not entirely sure that Balducci's was really missed that much, what with the influx of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and a new Fairway planned for 86th Street and Third Avenue. It's lavish Chelsea location has yet to be filled, but the Lincoln Square store was quickly converted into a Gourmet Garage. Lots of excessively picky New Yorkers considered the place dead after it left its iconic West Village location several years ago, but if its comeback means the return of those expensive but super delicious little shortbread rounds, then we will be first in line when they reopen. Seriously, those things melt in your mouth.

Balducci's looks to return to NYC's table (Crain's)


Burberry To Offer Immediate Runway Gratification

The Spring Collections haven't even started in New York, The Times' Cathy Horyn tells us that Burberry will make a portion of its upcoming Prorsum runway collection available online immediately after it presented in London on September 21st. The merchandise will have a six to eight week delivery time, and will include handbags as well as apparel.  This plan should have those Spring 2011 items on your doorstep just in time for... Thanksgiving?

Designers everywhere have been struggling to make sense of the increasing lag time between their lavish runway shows and the actual arrival of the clothes in stores. Rather than delivering ever earlier, Burberry has chosen to let customers have at least some of the pieces they want delivered directly, avoiding the awkward absurdity of having a store full of new but hopelessly out-of-season clothes. Last February, The company offered web customers a seven day window to order a selection of coats and bags right off the runway, which apparently worked well enough that the program has been expanded and looks like it may become a permanent fixture.

Burberry won't be the only company with immediacy in mind this runway season. Up and coming Montréal-based designer Rad Hourani's unisex Rad collection will also be completely available online and in stores immediately after his New York show on September 13th.

Are we coming closer to a time when designers will be showing "in season" collections on the runways, or will the system become ever more confused with different deliveries from different seasons flying all over the calendar? This could possibly defeat the point of seasonal collections entirely, although at a time when people have started to refer to an eighteen-month old dress as "vintage", it might not even matter anymore.

Burberry: Runway to Checkout (On The Runway/NYTimes)


Price Drop At Barneys Sale

Below please find the additional markdowns taken at the Barneys Warehouse Sale as of yesterday evening. We're close to the midpoint when the discount start getting serious. They will go down further, but what you see below is a good guideline for what to expect for the next day or two. The Shophound usually likes to wait until close to the end to start buying, but we always say, if you find something you like at a good price, buy it. Enjoy it, and don't worry about whether or not it it got cheaper. Never look back!

There are lots of additions, and it will probably hold through the weekend for the most part, but don't get spoiled. We're not going over there every day for an update!



Wang To Broome Confirmed


We admit we were skeptical, but the incessant rumors have turned out to be correct. Alexander Wang is indeed taking the former Yohji Yamamoto space at the corner of Grand and Mercer Streets in SoHo for his first freestanding store. There is little more to report as few other details like an opening date, for example, have been released. The designer tells Vogue.com, “It’s a perfect, iconic location, and there is a massive amount of windows” and promises, “a new perspective on luxury”.

Expect frenzy to ensue whenever opening day happens.

At Last! Alexander Wang Confirms He’s Opening His First Ever Store (Vogue.com)


Stephen Dweck's Treasure Trove


Click all images for a larger view in a new window
This morning, The Shophound got a special late Summer treat with a visit to American jewelry designer Dweck8Stephen Dweck's showroom. There is little that can compare to the opportunity to peruse drawer after drawer of the designer's inventive fusion of silver, quartz, bronze, minerals, crystals and any other material that has struck his fancy. There are no simple chains and charms here. As jewelry trends return to bolder, more extravagant shapes, we could say that Dweck is ripe for a resurgence, except that he never really went anywhere. After early, overnight success collaborating with designers like Geoffrey Beene and Oscar de la Renta, the designer set up a boutique at Bergdorf Goodman and has kept his customers happy with a steady stream of inventive work featuring inspired combinations of surprising materials all made in his own Brooklyn workrooms. His latest effort is a collection featuring younger, lighter point of view that can be found at Bloomingdale's (pictured right) as well as an exclusive collection for QVC that routinely sells out.

Dweck is about to celebrate 30 years in business next year, and one of the highlights of our visit was a look at the archives cabinet (pictured above) featuring special items the designer has kept over the years including one-off custom pieces and unique items too precious to him to be lent out to stylists and magazines.

We could easily have spent all day poking through the showroom, but you can get a better idea of what we saw by clicking through our gallery to see just a few of our favorite pieces.