Muji to launch in NYC, finally (and I wish I could get excited about it)

Via Jean Snow comes word that longtime fave retailer Muji plans on establishing a real NYC presence (and a flagship store, at that) in the new New York Times building, sometime before the end of this year.

Time was when this news would have sent me over the moon. The trouble is that I’m not sure how well Muji works as an import proposition – certainly, it flat out does not if their outpost in the MoMA stores can be adduced as evidence. Muji is everyday, or it is not at all.

There’s also the eternal NYC question of location (location, location). The New York Times building is directly opposite the Port Authority bus terminal at Eighth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets – a great neighborhood for favorite dive bars, surely, but not, frankly, top of mind as a propitious locale for high-end retail. (Yeah, I know: we’re talking about Muji, not Moss. Still, in the NYC mix I’d stake my bottom dollar that it will read, and will count, as high-end.)

Something tells me they may have missed their moment with this, and (especially) that the clear ambition to rebrand the neighborhood I perceive as being embedded in this announcement is foredoomed. Port Authority? That is big, big mojo, it throws a long shadow, and I wouldn’t expect to be able to overwrite it so soon, if ever; my reading of Luc Sante reminds me that once inscribed, conditions in this city exert considerable inertial pull over everything laid down on top of them. Then again, I’ve been known to be wrong before.

7 responses to “Muji to launch in NYC, finally (and I wish I could get excited about it)”

  1. mh says :

    I’m not sure how stores that offer simple things at affordable prices translate to the world at large when they’re not easily accessible. I’m in an area (Des Moines, Iowa) that has all the necessities close at hand but we’re missing chains that fill particular voids — like Ikea. Although it’s still cheap, the idea of making a three hour (Minneapolis) or at least five hour (Chicago) trek to a store makes it a fringe product with some appeal that might not otherwise exist.

  2. speedbird says :

    Huh, I would have thought that would make it *less* appealing.

  3. Vidiot says :

    Siberia was a dive? I thought it was a hipster/starfucker bar.

  4. speedbird says :

    Do I seem like either of those things to you?

  5. Vidiot says :

    Nah, not too much. (I realize in retrospect that I sound way too much like a certain someone we both know from the blue. Apologies.)

    But real dive bars don’t make it to Page Six, or have Winona Ryder pulling a surprise bartending shift, or lay down ridiculous “house rules” when you walk in the door.

    (I was surprised at the Muji location, too — I figured they’d find some place around Madison Square Park/Union Square/farther downtown.)

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