The Anatomy of a Block: Chambers between Broadway and Church

It was during one of my many early morning waits for a covid test in the freezing cold at CityMD that I found myself scanning across the street to the southside of Chambers, looking at one empty storefront after another. I know I am overdue on updating the Retail Vacancy Report that Erik did annually, so consider this the first installment.

It is not pretty.

Between Broadway and Church, there are six empty store fronts out of 14 — 42 percent. Most closed during and due to the darkest days of the pandemic but there are other trends afoot: changes in retail banking; our new hybrid work schedules that have permanently shifted the office landscape; even curbside dining — or the lack of it on a busy street like Chambers — played a role here.

The panorama starts with the former Chase bank on the corner of Broadway and ends with the new Spectrum store on the corner of Church. (And I know a few of us found the size and neon of the Spectrum sign a bit jarring. Now I say bring it on.)

270 Broadway – Chase Bank CLOSED
74 – Tribeca Hair Studio
76 – Blue Spoon Coffee
78 – Philly Pretzel Factory – CLOSED
84 – Hank’s Juicy Beef – CLOSED
88 – Chambers Street Orthodontics
90 – Kaede Japanese – CLOSED
92 – Abey Nails & Spa – CLOSED
94A – Rahman Candy & Tobacco Inc.
94 – Racine’s
96 – Sophie’s Cuban – CLOSED
98 – A Saffron Thread
100 – Dunkin’ Donuts / Baskin Robbins
151 Church – Spectrum

 

18 Comments

  1. Support your local businesses!!! It feels like there there should be a day dedicated to shopping local so by winter theres not tumbleweed in the streets.

  2. As a close-by neighbor, I was particularly disappointed to see Hank’s close. Best.Hotdogs.Ever!

  3. Protected bike lanes and thoughtful street/landscaping (i.e., trees, planter boxes, etc.) would do wonders to transform the pedestrian and retail experience along that stretch.

    • Yes to that, especially more trees! Tribeca seems to be sadly lacking in trees. I wonder if one reason is that many buildings have sidewalk vaults which extend completely from the building to the street, so there’s no way to plant trees there (except in large tree planter pots, where the soil is completely above-ground). The Village has lots of trees in contrast.

      Well, of course, I had to look this up, so indeed that is the reason. “…many industrial sections of the city have fewer trees for a simple reason: the sidewalks are hollow. He cited Soho, Noho and Tribeca as examples.”

      https://gothamist.com/news/which-nyc-neighborhoods-have-the-most-and-fewest-number-of-street-trees

      • Marcus: So now you know why no more trees: end of story.
        Can’t plant a tree over a street vault and for good reason.

        • Swell can always be sweller.

          • Our building was thinking of putting large planters in front, large enough to hold certain kinds of pottable trees. I’ve seen massive planters on some streets in the area, but we have to find out about the city codes or permits/regulations that might apply

          • See https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-01318

            “The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a permit to install planters larger than 2 feet by 2 feet on a sidewalk. If you are a property owner, you can request more information from DOT, including how to apply for a permit.

            “DOT will respond to requests within 12 weeks of receipt.

            “Online

            “Email the Department of Transportation.

            “By Mail

            “Mail your request to:

            “Department of Transportation Commissioner
            55 Water Street, 9th Floor
            New York, NY 10041”

          • Thank you, James…I’ll pass that on to our management.

  4. I have happily lived in Tribeca since the early 80’s and at the intersection of Church and Chambers for 34 years. I have always been fascinated with Chambers street and it’s evolution, or maybe it’s lack of. When Jerry’s restaurant, Jerry’s of SOHO fame, move in on the block I though the ‘change’ had arrived. Then Jerry’s closed. That’s the story of Chambers street.

  5. The encouraging trend is that Tribeca is becoming the new Art Gallery district in New York. Hopefully the abundance of empty stores will continue to act as a magnet for the unfolding new art district.

    • Yes, I do love the proliferation of art galleries here in the area. Even just walking by them is always interesting to see what’s new through the windows, and often I am drawn in to explore the works further. I feel very fortunate to have so much art on display in such close proximity, and free for the viewing!

  6. Philly pretzel never opened
    Kaede moved to fidi

  7. We love Racines and will continue to support what is a true gem. Also support Hair Studio and Blue Spoon. Would love to see some galleries and more pedestrian pathways (although that section is a main artery to/from BB).

  8. Just got email that Racines will close. Last day of service will be Friday July 30th. Sad to see Pascaline, Diego, Jarrod and team go.

  9. NYC is famous for regenerating itself.
    There will be new stores, new businesses, but it won’t happen overnight.
    As long as NYC is not filled with too many ill-informed (I’d say ignorant, but why bother to state the obvious) inhabitants UNwilling to be vaccinated, then relief/recovery is on the way!

  10. Southampton’s mayor passed a law requiring landlords of vacant storefronts to display art. A ways of making unused space an asset instead of a blight. Would love it (especially in art-centric Tribeca) if landlords would do this without a mayoral decree!

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/hamptons-village-requires-empty-storefronts-to-display-art-11611507601

    • Unless the landlord has the legal alternative of covering all or part of the windows in brown kraft paper or keeping the space entirely empty and tidy, I do not see how this program passes constitutional muster on First Amendment grounds, where the state or its designated agents must approve the “art” being posted or the landlord is fined.

Comment: