West Village Rents Swallow PB&J

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The decidedly quirky children's store Peanutbutter & Jane, a nook near the corner of Hudson and Jane Streets for 26 years, closed its doors this weekend, the victim — like many other longtime West Village retailers — of wildly increasing rents. There was no formal celebration, but if you stopped by the shop Saturday afternoon — the last day of the month, and of the lease — there was plenty of misty-eyed reminiscence from nostalgic customers and grandmotherly clerks. “We’ve had customers coming in here for generations,” manager Timmie Reilly said. For the first time in decades, walls were visible in the typically hypercluttered shoebox of a store. Gone was the ruffle of tutus that previously hung from the ceiling, and only two pairs of ruby slippers remained. Moving men hauled off a shelf, and the now-antique light fixtures were sold to a dealer.

Owner Carolyn Meehan, wife of Annie and The Producers playwright Thomas, was in Nantucket for the weekend, but her eccentric décor made her presence felt during closing. A three-foot-tall antique Nipper the RCA dog peering from a corner was her touch, as was the life-size doll that peered in the window from the sidewalk. David Colby, like plenty of patrons, has mistaken the doll for a little girl more than once over the years. He calls Peanutbutter & Jane “one of my favorite memories,” so he dragged his wife and 16-month-old daughter in for the closing. “This is Madeline’s first time here, and we’re cleaning out their Madeline stuff,” Colby said. “I wanted her to see this place before it goes. Just like I took her to CBGB.” His wife rolled her eyes as she ushered the family out the door. —Christine Lagorio