Is Urban’s ‘Ironic’ New Storefront Mocking Mom-and-Pop Shops?


On Thursday, a new Upper West Side Urban Outfitters will open, featuring an "ironic" façade that references old New York storefronts. "The whole idea was to do this kind of ironic statement of lining the building with storefronts that would be reminiscent of independent businesses," the creative director of the company told The Wall Street Journal in June. "It's the story about the streets of New York as they once were." Well, the only actual irony here is that, with all due respect to UO and its (admittedly awesome) selection of affordable clothing and accessories, chains like Urban Outfitters are a big part of the reason that authentic, old New York storefronts are a dying breed in the first place.

Racked and My Upper West Side have snapped the first photos of the Urban façade, and it's clean and corporate in its own way; there will be no mistaking it for a mom-and-pop shop. In any case, Urban's idea to reference the New York style that much of their clothing draws from is at least more interesting than other big-dog storefronts. Alas, just this week, Cardeology, a card store with an authentically old storefront, closed, in the same 'hood as the new Urban Outfitters.

Related: A slideshow of old-school (and most likely endangered) New York City signage