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Thread: The Shops at Columbus Circle

  1. #16
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    K. But I'm pretty sure that they use the 0 floor in the UK, too.

  2. #17

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    February 9, 2004

    Like 'Stamford in Midtown': Shoppers Pack the New Mall

    By COREY KILGANNON


    A view of the crowd on Saturday at The Shops at Columbus Circle.

    It took Diana Perdomo, a 22-year-old student from Manhattan, a several-minute stroll through the vertical shopping mall in the new Time Warner Center to arrive at a verdict about the place, known as The Shops at Columbus Circle.

    "It's like a mecca for everything," Ms. Perdomo said, strolling arm-in-arm with her friend, Sarah Ladmer, a 19-year-old cocktail waitress. They gazed wide-eyed at many of the luxury and specialty chain stores, including Joseph Abboud, A/X Armani Exchange, Cole Haan, Eileen Fisher, Thomas Pink, Sisley, Stuart Weitzman and Hugo Boss.

    The four-story public galleria of stores, restaurants and bars - the retail component of the $1.7 billion Time Warner Center at the southwest corner of Central Park - was celebrated with a star-studded opening last Wednesday night.

    It opened to the public at noon Thursday, and has been much discussed in the retail circles and the media. But over the weekend, the mall faced its most important critics: the shoppers themselves. Just as in the blockbuster film industry, the opening weekend of a top-flight retail center is closely watched as a predictor of its long-term success.

    "This is it, the magic moment," Kenneth A. Himmel, the president of Related Urban Development, which helped develop the retail operation, said as he stood on the second-floor balcony Saturday morning peering down as the first weekend shoppers streamed in through the massive glass doors. Mr. Himmel called the weekend a litmus test of the mall's drawing power and a test of whether New York's street-loving pedestrians would have the patience to ride escalators and elevators up and down four floors and trapise through yawning, crescent-shaped spaces that connect two city blocks.

    "There was a time we didn't know if they'd come," he said. But come they did. Shoppers showed up in droves and there were high-profile sightings. Michael Eisner strolled in early Saturday morning and Chelsea Clinton waltzed through the first level toward the Coach store around noon. Passing a tuxedoed worker pushing a trash can, she chatted on her cell phone but withheld her opinion of the mall and all other comments, when approached.

    Comparatively few of the thousands of people gawking at the new space actually carried shopping bags, and it was hard to tell how many visitors were actually buying. At any given time, hundreds of people milled through the fourth floor, for example, even though there were none of the floor's signature restaurants have opened. They squinted through darkened windows and peered at fact sheets.

    One of the busiest stores was Whole Foods, whose 59,000 square feet make it the largest supermarket in Manhattan, with a wine store, sushi bar, juice bar, 248-seat cafe, 42 cash registers and 390 employees. Mr. Himmel smiled as a Whole Foods employee, posted at the entrance to the basement store like a bouncer, regulated the hordes of shoppers elbowing one another out of the way, to better ogle the $50 beef tenderloin and order Jamba Juice smoothies.

    And since most New Yorkers are nothing if not critical, few shoppers reserved judgment on the new center

    Ms. Perdomo, who compared the retail center to Mecca, also warned that it might be too upscale to attract a broad enough spectrum of shoppers. "They need more variety to attract different types of people," she said. "There's nothing down-to-earth. A good business has to offer diversity."

    Jennifer Patel, 29, an internist from Manhasset, held up a purple macramé blouse in A/X Armani Exchange, where shoppers were offered sweeping views of Central Park and a soundtrack of pumping dance music. Ms. Patel compared the center to Long Island's malls.

    "It's more upscale than Roosevelt Field, but not as much as the Americana," she said, referring to the strip of expensive shops in Manhasset known also as the Miracle Mile. "It is amazing how spacious it is for Manhattan."

    Mr. Himmel bristles at the mention of the word mall or comparisons to suburbia.

    He calls the center "an urban retail center," and insists that the m-word is "an antiseptic reference to suburbia that doesn't do justice to what this is, architecturally or otherwise."

    Alan J. Segan, a public relations executive representing the center, agreed.

    "I didn't hear the word 'mall,'" he said. "I don't want to hear that word."

    But the m-word and the s- word were sprinkled liberally among the comments of many weekend shoppers.

    A school counselor from Stamford, Conn., Mariane Bauer, stood outside the Bose store yesterday and said she felt right at home.

    "This is like a piece of Stamford in Midtown," she said. "It's really nice that they brought the suburbs into the city." Ms. Bauer, who also has an apartment on the Upper West Side, patted her pocketbook and said she came ready to shop. "I've got my credit cards," she said.

    Miok Joo, 32, in Armani, a financial analyst from Brooklyn, bought a $16 martini glass from Williams-Sonoma.

    "I hate to say it but it is a mall; it's not Fifth Avenue," she said. "Not that that's necessarily an insult."

    Mall or not, much of the clientele was unmistakably Manhattan. One woman carried her Pomeranian across her chest in a baby holder. Two women in long fur coats and carrying Yorkies stopped to introduce the dogs to each other.

    Mr. Himmel said the center was not designed to compete with Manhattan's most upscale retail corridors on Fifth and Madison Avenues. But there are plenty of expensive items.

    Williams-Sonoma sells French stoves upward of $24,000. Tourneau sells a Jaeger-Le Coultre diamond watch for $258,000. On Saturday, customers selected expensive cigars from the Davidoff store's plush humidor and sampled them in the private smoking room, furnished with plush sofas, rugs and original oil paintings. The store has diamond lighters for $40,000. A bottle of Budweiser at the Stone Rose (run by Cindy Crawford's husband, Rande Gerber) costs $8 and a glass of Rémy Martin Louis XIII cognac costs $190. The average dinner check is $250. The adjoining Mandarin Oriental hotel has rooms for $595 a night.

    It was too much for Sabrina Berryhill's pocketbook.

    Ms. Berryhill, 34, a city employee from Queens, said she had heard that a new mall was opening, so she came with her daughter, Kiana, 3, to visit the toy stores. There are none.

    "Not everyone is going to want to shop here," she said. "Budget-wise, there's no stores that I would really come back to."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #18

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    Low-cost luxury

    A cheapskate's guide to the Time Warner Center

    BY JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ


    When the much-ballyhooed Time Warner Center celebrated its grand opening Wednesday night, fine-dining fanatics were thrilled to sneak a peek at the world's most fabulous food court.

    They knew, of course, that five of the world's top chefs - Thomas Keller, Gray Kunz, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Trotter and Masa Takayama - are opening restaurants in the coming weeks and months.

    Foodies desperately wanted to see what the Culinary Fab Five had cooking in the $1.7 billion Columbus Circle complex.

    Case in point: At 9:30, nearly 100 people crowded outside Keller's much-anticipated Per Se, an East Coast outpost of his world-famous French Laundry in California. The fourth-floor restaurant doesn't even open until next month and guards were stationed at the doors. Still, undaunted guests gawked and cooed as they peered into the doors, looking like aunts and uncles adoringly gazing at newborns in a maternity ward.

    Keller's baby, like other upscale restaurants in the atrium, comes with full-grown prices. Tasting menus will cost $125 to $150 - if (a big if) you can get a reservation. At the new Japanese joint, Masa, which chef Takayama hand-rolls out later this month, tasting menus are even more. As for other haute spots, it's unlikely you can eat dinner for less than $75. Breakfast and lunch, where served, will cost less.

    Bottom line: Big chefs + big hype = big menu tabs.

    But you can still get a taste of Time Warner without going broke. Dining at the bar and prix-fixe menus tend to save you a few bucks - even at fancy places. You could always have an appetizer and call it a meal. But why be hungry? There are other dining options beyond the poshest places. Inclusion in the Time Warner towers was competitive, so these establishments are no slouches.

    Whether or not you buy the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it's affordable. At Asiate, breakfast will give you a lift. Literally. The restaurant is on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Eggs with bacon runs $15, while oatmeal with raisins is $10. That's probably pricier than your usual order of poached eggs or porridge, but the view makes up for it.

    Prix-fixe dining is another good way to save dough at any restaurant. Asiate's two-course lunch prix fixe is a bargain at $25. For a special-occasion afternoon meal, check out what world-class chef Nori Sugie has to offer.

    TO MARKET WE GO

    Closer to earth, on the mezzanine level, a gigantic Whole Foods Market has opened a 248-seat cafe. Nearly a dozen food stations are available, with an array of prepared chow - from salad and sushi to enchiladas and vindaloo. Everything's made in the market's kitchens.

    But don't expect fine service. It's self-serve here, but once you grab a slice of prosciutto, fig and arugula pizza ($8.99 a pound) or sample the salad bar ($6.99 a pound, half a buck higher than the Chelsea Whole Foods rate) you can sit down in a cozy banquette or at a communal table.

    "I think we're going to appeal to workers and people who live upstairs," says Richard D'Addario, prepared-food coordinator. "They can come down for a quickie breakfast, lunch or dinner." Or even a freebie. Gratis wine and cheese tastings are held Sundays.

    Even if you're not rich, Keller's cooking isn't off-limits. "You can get the Keller feel and a fantastic little light meal at Bouchon," says a spokeswoman. That's the name of the superstar chef's bakery, on the third level, which seats 24. It opens next month for breakfast and light meals - soups, sandwiches and sweet treats. Depending on your appetite, expect to part with $10 to $30.

    You'll find similar fare at Dean & Deluca, located in the Borders Books on the second floor of the atrium. Besides offering lunch for around $10, you also get a free side dish of WiFi. "Bring your laptop," says a spokesman. "Surf and soup."

    Elixir, at Equinox Fitness Club, on the street level, serves up chow that's healthy and affordable to members and nonmembers. Popular picks include smoothies ($5.95 and under), low-fat wraps ($3.50) and salads such as the Omega-3, a mix of spinach, tuna, avocado, carrots, peas and walnuts ($6.95).

    "Some people are intimidated by gyms," says Chris Peluso, Equinox chief operating officer. "Eating here, you can get comfortable with the surroundings and maybe even think about checking out the gym."

    It's easy to get comfy at Stone Rose, a swank 300-seat lounge from Rande Gerber, whose nightlife empire includes the Whiskey, Cherry and other cool places. Cocktails here will run about $10-$15. Vongerichten will make Stone Rose's food, which an insider says calls "more refined" than typical bar grub. Translation: no beer pretzels or wings.

    Gerber spent $10 million on Stone Rose, but he vows to keep food prices as skimpy as the waitresses' dresses he helped design. Figure about $12 for a typical small plate.

    "We're going to get a lot of people from the building," says Gerber. "I don't want them to get the bill and be shocked."

    Originally published on February 7, 2004 All contents © 2004 Daily News

  4. #19

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    If anybody take any pics, be sure to share them

    It's no Madison Avenue, but I'm still pretty impressed.

  5. #20
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    I have a bunch of pics from Sunday, I'll post them tomorrow.

  6. #21

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    How many, dare I say it, malls are in Manhattan? I'd hate to see places like these hurt the City's shopping streets.

  7. #22
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    Lessee...

    1) Harlem USA

    2) Columbus Circle

    3) Manhattan Mall at Herald Square: gag!

    4) Elizabeth Center in Chinatown: more like a shopping center with a lot of electronics and Asian imports stores, but it's underground and is blah architecture. No food court, though, but does have a nail salon with massages available.

    5) Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport: the most mallish of the malls in Manhattan. Multi-levelled, lots of chain stores (Abercrombie & Fitch, barf), and complete with skylights and a big-ass food court.

    6) The former WTC mall.

    Feel free to add to this list.

  8. #23

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    Rockefeller Center, old and prestigious, but definitely an prototype.

  9. #24
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    Shops at Citigroup Center?

  10. #25

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    So do you guys think that The Shops at Columbus Circle will hurt street shopping? (ex. 5th Avenue, Soho, Madison)

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pottebaum
    So do you guys think that The Shops at Columbus Circle will hurt street shopping? (ex. 5th Avenue, Soho, Madison)
    Nah.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pottebaum
    So do you guys think that The Shops at Columbus Circle will hurt street shopping? (ex. 5th Avenue, Soho, Madison)
    I don't think so. I work right across the street on 60th and I think its great, finally someplace good to eat close by (Whole Foods). To the immediate north is nothing much as far as competition, retail-wise. South and East of TWC is where it would draw away any business. I think it will make its own business in the area.

    The word mall has negative connotations but this is not your typical mall. Its very vertical with multiple levels that look over Central Park and 59th. How many malls have a view like that?

    Chicago has a similar indoor mall. I think its fine. There needs to be a variety. So long as NYC keeps the majority of its life on the streets where it belongs this is just a nice diversion.

  13. #28
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    Think of it more along the terms of the Winter Garden, or perhaps the Galleria in Milan.

  14. #29

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    I guess if places like this would harm the streetlife on NYC, we would have already seen in a while back.

  15. #30

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    Anyway, I'd be surprised to see if the Shops at Columbus Circle have much staying power. Sure, the turnout was big for the first few weeks, but most of the people there were just checking it out.

    Oh, and what sort of shopping is there right now to the south and east of TWC right now?

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