Boring downtown Manhattan gets an indie makeover

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If you dread the touristy downtown vacation walking this season, you’re going to be surprised: Rockefeller Center is on the move!

Hidden behind the Art Deco façade of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in a space filled with some 10,000 vinyl records, now lives rock lovers’ paradise. Rough Trade, an independent London record store, opened at 30 Rock in June after closing its Williamsburg store in March.

This helps create an avant-garde vibe in the Long Haul Zone, bringing live performances to the Outer Plaza and inside the famous Rainbow Hall on the 65th floor. Last month, the rarefied venue hosted British post-punk band Dry Cleaning and The Muckers from Brooklyn.

“I have the impression that this brings a lot of independent and alternative artists to [those who wouldn’t] necessarily hear them or see them, ”said Christian Salhany, a 24-year-old shopper and East Harlem resident, of the store’s presence in the neighborhood. “It just shows the resurgence the city can have, and it’s constantly evolving – and that’s great.”

COVID, downtown Manhattan now has an avant-garde vibe with new trendy restaurants and shops with roots in downtown and Brooklyn.” class=”wp-image-20397150″ srcset=”https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/midtown_cool.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1536 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/midtown_cool.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/midtown_cool.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/>
With chain stores shutting down in the wake of COVID, downtown Manhattan now has an avant-garde vibe with new trendy restaurants and shops with roots in downtown and Brooklyn.
NY Post composite photo
Rough Trade has attracted a hip clientele who browse the store's records during an era of vinyl's growing popularity.
Rough Trade has attracted a hip crowd browsing records in the new downtown store at a time of vinyl’s growing popularity.
Stefano Giovannini

Another client, Garrett Troy, 33, who lives near the old Williamsburg outpost, said: is happening around here.

Vinyl enthusiast buyers flocked to Rough Trade's Rockefeller Center, which opened in June.
Vinyl enthusiast buyers flocked to Rough Trade’s Rockefeller Center, which opened in June.
Stefano Giovannini

Rough Trade is in great company – and there is more to the cool to come downtown. Last week, Williamsburg’s Detroit-style Ace’s Perfect Pizza opened a 30 Rock outpost – as did Soho’s health-conscious and “socially conscious” convenience store The Goods Mart, which sells beef burritos at 5. , $ 75 per plane each week from Los Angeles. On the horizon: a tap room for the Brooklyn Other Half brewery at Rockefeller Plaza; and, across Sixth Avenue at 135 W. 50th St., a Singaporean-style food market from Urbanspace and street food guru KF Seetoh, which is slated to open next year.

Rough Trade also hosted shows in the famous Rainbow Hall, such as a performance in November with Dry Cleaning and The Muckers.
Rough Trade hosted live concerts in the famous Rainbow Hall, which last November included performances by Dry Cleaning and The Muckers.
Credit: Rockefeller Center

While a number of these locations were considering a move from Rockefeller Center ahead of the pandemic, COVID-19 threw them into action as stores near chains like The Gap and Duane Reade closed.

“This moment gave us the opportunity to move to an area of ​​the city devoid of counter-culture, which called for independent creative cultural activity, which was widely considered to be ‘uncool’, [while] at the same time, it was an easily accessible area, ”Stephen Godfroy, co-owner and director of Rough Trade, 48, said by email from London.

Jill Lindsey's Rockefeller Center store, open until December, sells clothing and home items made by local artisans.
Jill Lindsey’s Rockefeller Center location, open until December, sells clothing and home items made by local artisans.
Stefano Giovannini

In recent years, owner Tishman Speyer has approached smaller local businesses to open at Rockefeller Center to counter the chain presence, according to the New York Times. In addition, they make reasonable rental agreements.

For Jill Lindsey – who owns an eponymous boutique, cafe, and wellness center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn – a downtown business presented a unique opportunity to bring up-and-coming designers to a neighborhood known to be a giant. big brand.

Lindsey has had a combined boutique, cafe and wellness center in Fort Greene since 2014.
Jill Lindsey has run her eponymous boutique, café, and wellness center in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood since 2014.
Stefano Giovannini

“It was a really good breath of fresh air from what people have been saying,” Founder and Owner Lindsey, 43, told The Post. “People were like, ‘Wow, local in the city center? It’s crazy!’ … This is what New York City needs and should be.

It opened last November, in the middle of a lonely holiday season, selling clothes, accessories and home items – such as candles from Greentree Home and handbags designed in collaboration with KZ_K Studio. and 1 Workshop – under a 13 month contract which runs until December.

Lindsey sells a number of household items, such as scented candles and matches that double as incense.
Jill Lindsey sells a number of household items, such as scented candles and matches that double as incense.
Stefano Giovannini

Lately, thanks to its location across from Radio City Music Hall, the store has seen traffic from tourists seeing the venue’s signature “Christmas Show”. And Rockettes fans mingled with his loyal Brooklyn crew who crossed the river to shop: “They’re the ones who kept us here and they’re the ones who really supported. [us]”said Lindsey.

Jill Lindsey enlisted the help of longtime downtown jewelry designer Karen Karch, who never thought she would be doing business in the downtown area, to operate a small pop-up in her space.
Jill Lindsey enlisted the help of longtime downtown jewelry designer Karen Karch, who never thought she would be doing business in the downtown area, to operate a small pop-up in her space.
Stefano Giovannini

Lindsey even hosted local designer pop-ups at her boutique, including one with jewelry designer Karen Karch, 57, who had a store in Soho for 16 years before moving to Gramercy ten years ago. It closed its doors last September due to COVID-19.

“I love Midtown because it’s like Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center – it’s so New York… but I never thought of it as a place where I would like to have a store or have a presence.” said Karch.

“I saw this [Lindsey] was doing, which was so interesting for that area – and she told me management wanted to bring local New York businesses to the area, so tourists wouldn’t see the same thing they could see everywhere they went. live.

Last week, Rachel Krupa opened a downtown health-focused convenience store The Goods Mart outpost inside Hall 30 Rock.
Last week, Rachel Krupa opened a downtown health-focused convenience store The Goods Mart outpost inside Hall 30 Rock.
Stefano Giovannini

Seeing signs of promise, Rachel Krupa, the founder and CEO of The Goods Mart, 41, also jumped at the opportunity to expand into the city center. It opened in a lobby-level newsstand at 30 Rock – selling virtuous riffs on snacks, like Cheetos-style puffs made from peas and jars of almond butter.

The Goods Mart, located in a former lobby newsstand, sells snack items like riffs of pea-based Cheeto chips and small beef burritos that ship weekly from Los Angeles.
The Goods Mart, located in a former newsstand, sells snacks like pea-based Cheetos-style puffs, jars of almond butter, and beef burritos that ship weekly from Los Angeles.
Stefano Giovannini

“Being part of the city center in the heart of the city, we are able to [reach] more people, and the goal of ‘The Goods’ is to make the best options for you readily available to everyone, ”Krupa said of the new outpost.

Eli Sussman, the 36-year-old co-owner of the fast-paced, laid-back shawarma spot Samesa – who recently operated in East Williamsburg before shutting down due to COVID-19 last September – also didn’t sniff out his downtown debut. city.

Eli Sussman said the opening in the city center was a long-desired goal to test the concept of the fast-casual Samesa restaurant, which serves shawarma dishes.
Eli Sussman said the opening in the city center served a long-standing goal of testing the concept of the fast-casual Samesa restaurant, which serves shawarma dishes.
Stefano Giovannini

In March, Sussman and his 39-year-old brother Max opened a lobby-level restaurant at Rockefeller Center, fulfilling the duo’s long-standing goal of putting their concept to the test in a vibrant neighborhood.

The Sussman brothers brought their 2020 shuttered Samesa, which recently operated in East Williamsburg, to the lobby at Rockefeller Center.
The Sussman brothers brought Samesa, who most recently operated in East Williamsburg before it closed in 2020 due to COVID-19, into the lobby at Rockefeller Center.
Stefano Giovannini

“Midtown is a whole different beast, and while it might not have the same freshness as the West Village or the East Village, or somewhere in Brooklyn, if you want to have a successful restaurant, you have to be where the customers are, ”Sussman said.

“I think we’re bringing something cool downtown. Something new and fresh, something that isn’t just a cookie cutter.



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