When Barneys Returns To Chelsea, It Will Look Very Different
November 9, 2015
A lot of veteran New York shoppers were delighted last year when it was revealed that Barneys New York would take over part of the original store on Seventh Avenue in Chelsea where it became a retailing legend. Anyone who thought that the old store (pictured below in a 1989 archival photo) would somehow be recreated, however, is in for a surprise. The new Barneys in Chelsea will be doing more extensive remodeling on the space than the intervening tenant, Loehmann's, ever did before moving in.
Were you hoping that those display windows would once again hold some whimsical Holiday displays? Those windows have been blown out along with the rest of the entire street level façade of the building, which we noted a few weeks ago. Yesterday, we spied a flat rendering of the new store's front elevation (pictured above) posted on the plywood covering the construction site which indicates that the dramatic entrance to the previous store is being completely removed in favor of a more innocuous set of glass doors. A stone wall will bear the store's signage, and it appears that most of the rest of the front will be glass. We are guessing that it will offer a view directly into the store rather than serve as display windows, more like the smaller, former Co-op stores in Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side. This will be a disappointment for anyone who had held out hope that Barneys would give a nod to the old Chelsea store by reproducing or at least restoring part of what remained there. Of course, we should know by now that the current executive team has no interest in nostalgia for classic Barneys. In fact, given the opportunity to preserve or tear down anything that would remind shoppers of the original store, they almost always go with tearing down and replacing with slabs of marble and glass. We have become accustomed to this by now, but shopping nostalgists in New York should be prepared for the likelihood that Barneys' grand return to Chelseas may not be quite as grand as they might have been hoping for.
CONSTRUCTION REPORT: Barneys Will Have A Whole New Storefront In Chelsea