Last night the Limelight Marketplace opened to press and New York City luminaries like the Real Housewives and Richie Rich for a preview prior to this afternoon's official opening. What was once a pulsating, sweaty nightclub is now a clean, glossy mall! Only it's like the scaled-down version of something you might find in suburbia, with stores that feel more like kiosks than full-fledged retail outlets. We went to investigate with hopes of stealing a disco ball and acquiring some free lotions and/or chocolate. And all our dreams came true! However, we can't imagine having a reason to return in the future other than wanting to show friends and out-of-towners how nice the new black-and-white tiles are and remark, "Can you believe that MarieBelle used to be the D.J. booth?"
The Limelight's shell has been preserved, while only the innards have been gutted and transplanted. The resulting space is gorgeous, and last night it looked to almost be complete, save two stray sinks festering in a third-floor stairwell. However, the vendors inside are a strange mix: Havaianas, Hunter boots, MarieBelle chocolates, and Brocade home interiors all mingle. On the ground floor you'll find foodstuffs in the back, mostly sweets like cupcakes, gelato, and brownies, but also some fine olive oil and fatty meats. We spotted Jill Zarin teetering in silver Louboutin heels and a skintight Hervé Léger dress perusing the fine-salt nook and raving over how great they are in pesto, free cone of gelato in hand. Outside is a little patio where you could sit and eat, which is sure to be mobbed on nice days.
MarieBelle occupies the old D.J. booth and has a very fine chandelier hanging over its toffee bricks. In the floors between, you'll also find some cosmetics and jewelry and other knickknacks. But that's exactly the problem with the current mix of vendors: It's mostly knickknacks and gifty things. But Mother's Day only happens once a year. The concept is fantastic and fun and the stores are adorable, but there was nothing in there we'd go out of our way to buy. One puzzling store on the first floor sold stuffed animals, safari hats, incense, and Spanx. On a shelf near the Spanx, we spotted a pink plastic container labeled "FABULOUSNESS." It held what looked like a white washcloth along with "on-the-go wipettes" to clean your vagina and "eau de spot," a product that promises to "make the scent of a woman even better." We spotted nothing similar for penises.
Shortly after that discovery we grabbed our own free gelato, helped ourselves to a miniature disco ball decorating a tray of crudité, and left.
Related: Limelight: The Mini-Mall