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10zCRITCAL4-superJumboToday's Thursday Styles sends Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica to Williamsburg's new Urban Outfitters concept store, Space Ninety 8, a supersized version of the familiar chain. Given Williamsburg's constantly evolving gentrification, it's hard to tell if this new, deluxe version of the chain is ruining the neighborhood's prized hipster bohemia or holding its ground against the onslaught of even more luxurious, gleaming high rises coming to suburbanize the place. "Williamsburg is already a 4.0 or 5.0 version of itself — there’s nothing left to protect," our shopper reminds us. This store seems to be prepared for your scrutiny. It is working hard to win over skeptics by making room for Brooklyn's local artisans to show their wares as if to make up for the rest of the store's mass-produced merch as well as the long-standing whisperings that the chain is really run by evil, corporate overlords. It's an Urban Outfitters tarted up for people who hate Urban Outfitters.

These are reminders, these missives, that Urban Outfitters knows you have come with your white gloves and magnifying glass, prepared for inspection. Has it succeeded in making this store, parts of which are merchandised specifically to reflect artisanal Brooklyn, sufficiently non-Urban Outfitters-esque? Is the wool over your eyes thick enough?

It turns out that the wool is only as thick as you want it to be. The local wares are worthwhile, but expensive art pieces show Space Ninety 8 trying to play both sides of the fence.

Critical Shopper: In a Fight for Everything Brooklyn By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Space Ninety 8 98 North Sixth Street between Berry Street & Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg


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