thumbnail of New York Voices; 401; Store Wars
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The book I use both to translate nearly peaceful without heat around decency they decided to do something new and something very like. So you decide to work thinking like deep into the station. The department stores have been screaming for the last 13 years by the discount chains on one hand and the small specialized team sought me out in New York One. Boy Scout in New York places New York
Voices is made possible by the members of 13 additional funding provided by Michael t Martin and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Welcome to YOUR VOICES I'm Rafael hero. You know as a transportation hub Grand Central Station has done an admirable job for nearly a century but as an icon of what New York is really all about. Well it's been spectacular. Now the Port Authority has unveiled a design for a new transportation hub at the World Trade Center that most critics have already hailed as a civic masterpiece comparable to this beautiful building. Later in the program a look at the possibility that we may be losing when New York is really all about as national retail stores take over more and more of our streets. We begin with a newsmaker interview with the man who designed the dazzling new station downtown Santiago Calatrava. At the heart of Santiago Calatrava is design a slight air of glass dome roof allows light to reach 60 feet down to the PATH
train platform in addition the dome roof will be open to create an open air comma not in the middle of downtown. The design calls for the roof to be open each year on September 11. There's a car driver at the unveiling of your design. Here you drew a picture of a boy releasing a bird. To what degree was that the image from which an around which you created your design. Well the idea of the boy releasing a bird to see is more a symbolic matter. It means they're a symbol I said the idea of a gift for example for no for you or like an offering figure but it classical that there this idea it means folds or you see a spontaneity and it means all talk and let a deep Not you of these project which you do. First of all archived for all the CDM for everybody something you know who are easy embodied in the School of the project which is an
intention of the outfall. Comforting the spirit of the moment and see what I want to do translate there it is all what I he got around the U.S. did it inside of do something new. Do something very light for bringing light to deep into the station. They decide also building with light which you do as you see a very beautiful subject. But I read a New York Times critic say the people would be mistaken if they interpreted you as an architect of sweetness and light. Are there elements of risk in mortality and maybe even tragedy in your design of the transportation. But he said drily you see the extremities touch each other. Do you see so when you are speaking about light you are also in a way you are now speaking about darkness. And so we are bringing light into darkness. We are getting up out of the ground.
Working with light as a symbol. Working with the light. The opening you see for example cutting a piece of the sky of Manhattan as he saw through the opening. The people will be able to see. You see a piece of this guy of Manhattan so bird gets release you see into a decent opening of the sky of Manhattan. Remember you see the 11th of September was our wonderful day. One of those beautiful Manhattan days you know and with this wonderful light in the morning. The fact of those birds you know getting through the opening beds was the sky of Manhattan has something also metaphysical. The dome of the structure opens up and I think the plan is to open it up every September 11th between the hours of the first attack and the collapse of the second tower. Why is it the whole signification of this opening. You see cutting a piece of the sky of Manhattan. You see all
signification of. You see the structure who has been protecting us and sheltering or suddenly is no more did you know the sense of the fragility of the moment than of the infrastructure in which we are living. You see so the building itself embodies you know a message who can be transmitted. Of course you know for generations even for the generation of kids at the unveiling you gave a presentation after which you got a standing ovation. That's something that happened when the Freedom Tower the master plan or the memorial were unveiled. Are you concerned at all that that my create a little bit of hard feelings with your fellow architects at the World Trade Center site. No nor do you see one of the beautiful things it does that things conveys together and the more we go forward to see the intention of many people you know giving their best. You see for this particular place all melting together in a positive and positive and I hope pretty much you know Betty beautiful. Achievements or
east battle for this to be final feat Eusebio Finally you could look at us on a boat you need to do something beautiful but always more than that. You see because it is. It was this is I need to remain I said then boy when I said the moment of your life in order to get involved in such an event every building on beyond you know the vertical for the construction and an added creation again you know of of of lower Manhattan Hosp. also something deeply cool to evolve you need to purely because we money faced or believe that you see and to continue of these what the CDI 3 percent that on the 11th of September he has to go beyond he has to survive has to go ahead and we have putting or Haha I don't know legend. We now ask the question How much is too much. The proliferation of national chain stores around the city has left many intersections in Manhattan looking pretty much like one another
and pretty much like intersections all over the country. Here now is a look at one corner of the city at Astor Place where three Starbucks and one entrepreneurial couple are inviting New Yorkers still wake up and smell the coffee. Today it's the small ones are fine. It's so hot. I mean it's kind of a running joke. Do you sit in that Starbucks and look at the other Starbucks across the street. When we actually started the idea of the truck Starbucks become
the easiest choice for us parking there was kind of a pivotal move here. You saw my battles it was like we put this here and now we're not only closer. While these people are coming from well in all fairness to you like that I've been a supporter of small places like all my life so it became political because basically we actually go with people that are like this big thing or like screw you to starve because we're parked right in between two Starbucks you know why I would totally take the Metro over Starbucks any day. It's great coffee they play great music and I think I need to support the kids who work in the south especially were so-called out of Morey's I took 10 mins ago in a class using the logic in that I'm going to Starbucks to use the bathroom and I feel like a real rebel.
Probably the most popular drink is still the cafe latte. It's an old classic. You can get it especially single moco white mocha peppermint mocha. There's hot chocolate there's frappuccino which is a blended coffee beverage. Carmel Mocha coconut Mocha coconut and then the regular coffee. How do we make it right. I think when you put the right blend together beams light and dark and that and that of all dark or all light and we use the right amount of water. We don't hold water. And we we we were you know we put it's hot and the beans with that's what it's done under extracts the flavor it's been on extract it means you want to be right at the temperature
there are about 160 Starbucks. I think people spend so much time at Starbucks for a lot of different reasons. One New York apartments are small and not comfortable and Starbucks is it's very welcoming. People come here to me and a lot of people work from home these days and with everything being a computer you can see different times and days it a whole different clientele. It's expensive to buy coffee and walk in and out. But for me you know it's it's cheaper than rent you know and I can come here and sit sit in work and see people with kids here. People have to speak to you. It's sort of private public space. Every time I'm here I have to sort of hide past my local family run a coffee shop which makes me feel good. But. This in time I think of Starbucks and it has better coffee and I know exactly what I'm getting.
I worked at Starbucks on Astor Place actually for over a year and when I first came in it was a really awesome cultural site we had bands play with deejays artwork on the walls. But eventually once you know they had really taken over and some you got four Starbucks within two blocks of each other. There's no need for them to work very hard to get you to come because you have no alternative. You have to go there there's nothing else really closed everything down. It's an aggressive business. We're not going to go into a place just to pay a higher rent to try to run someone out of business we move into locations where we see a lot of need in the neighborhood when we came to New York the first location they moved into was the location we had the most mail orders from. We get a lot of ideas from customer comments. People ask us to have a Starbucks in their neighborhood and even one of the other managers was saying he was looking for an apartment and he saw advertise close to grocery store laundromat and Starbucks.
People will go to Starbucks eventually and I mean here we're not going anywhere. I don't care what Starbucks says they can like pop up all over the place my dad will always be here. It's not gonna be. The department stores have been schooling for the last 13 years by the discount chains on one hand and a small specialized antiques on the other. How far will the Mall of America spread on the streets of New York City. Discuss this and other issues I'm a savvy shopper a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and the author of point of Birchers shopping changed American culture.
We spoke at the Kmart on Astor Place. You know surely once upon a time it seemed like every city in this country had its own stores reflecting its unique identity. Most of these stores have been replaced by national chain stores like Starbucks doing re Wal-Mart and Kmart. We're standing in a Kmart in Manhattan. So has this trend overtaken New York City as well. Fortunately not yet. We still have in place zoning laws that were passed in the 1970s that prevent most big box stores from opening in the heart of the city. So that when you do get a Costco or a Wal-Mart or Kmart even thinking about locating in New York City they have to prove that they don't sell the same kinds of goods groceries carpets and some other things that the zoning laws prohibit.
No but you know we're in Astor Place. This is a Kmart Arthur. How did that happen. Ah this does not go against those zoning laws. In fact this block was zoned years ago for a big store and 100 years ago this was the site of a Wannamaker a John want to maker department store. The politicians the city council have not changed the zoning laws. Even though I believe Mayor Giuliani wanted to change him once upon a time. Right so that this these stories could come to the city. Now are they reflecting the wishes of New Yorkers or are they forwarding it because I know New Yorkers they go to Elizabeth in places in New Jersey to go to stores like these. Well it does seem as though every New York family with a car shops in New Jersey and that does represent a big loss of sales tax as well as a draining of business for New York based stores. That's a serious problem but you know Rafael this is the shoppers paradox. On the one hand as consumers we want to pay low prices. On the other hand as people
who live in a city we want the liveliness of small neighborhood shops. But who wants to live in this in a small neighborhood shops rather than the big discount stores do all New Yorkers or do the well-off New Yorkers want these out of the city at the expense of the less well-off New Yorkers. This is this is a big problem but you know a lot of New Yorkers have access to cars or chartered buses that their organizations might grant to go to the outlet malls or to go to the suburban big box stores so that New York shoppers are more mobile than we think. Even if they're not the most affluent. But you do raise an interesting question. I don't think it's only the rich people who like the beauty of the small neighborhood shops. I think everybody benefits from the eyes on the street of the shop keepers the intimate relations that you can establish in a small neighborhood
store and we get some of that actually at the farmers markets the green markets. But Sharon isn't it a bit ironic that there is kind of hostility towards these big discount stores in New York according to your book if I remember correctly New York at one time was like the discount capital of the world. Absolutely. I Can Get It For You Wholesale refers to New York City. I think over the years that old generation of bargain mongering merchants and customers has died away replaced somewhat again by new immigrant shopkeepers who are willing to set great prices for their their customers. But the department stores have really suffered from the extraordinarily low prices set by the discount chains. But what about some of the other. Smaller scale but equally as ubiquitous national chains like Starbucks say Starbucks is a different kind of creature. It's true that Starbucks sells something but Starbucks
sells a service and they sell an atmosphere. People in New York have more and Starbucks maybe as a reaction against those beloved Greek diners. They warmed to Starbucks as a sign of middle class ness. And as a as a new version of the old Italian or Latino cafe where people could go and hang out. What about another train that seems to be everywhere city that's doing really. I think the presence of Wayne Reed in multiple rooms in every neighborhood reflects very business strategy. They're like Wal-Mart but they're selling drugs and bargain health and huge supplies. Their strategy is to go into every area of the city
buy out the pharmacies where the owners are old and drive alternatives out of business and then perhaps they will shut down their non performing stores and just concentrate on a few between regions. What's the shopping landscape of New York City going to look like 10 or 20 years from now who's going to win the store wars here. This is an important question we can never tell what's going to come around the retail corner and what will be the next new thing to attract consumers. I think we will see more one story stores that you can enter from the street. I think we're going to see a continued entry of new immigrants opening up different kinds of stores selling goods from their countries to a wider group of shoppers. We're also going to see many more neighborhoods
reclaimed by small shops opening up and revitalizing their commercial strips. I sure hope we don't see more big box stores and no parking lots in the heart of the city. 15 years ago there was one big Barnes and Noble in Manhattan on the corner of 18th and 5th. Now the Barnes and Noble super stores are ubiquitous but long before Barnes and Noble the center of book buying in New York City was a row of secondhand book shops that line Fourth Avenue. We decided to take a look at the history of that strip. It had one of the last remaining stores from book row that Against All Odds continues to thrive. Recently I met some of the folks at the Strand Bookstore and took a tour of the place with New York notable Fran Leibowitz into four thousand you buy Ely Siegel all the books waiting for you in the crowded book shops before you. My name is Marvin Mondal and I am the estate
book buyer for Strand. The first job in fact that I had in book selling was when it was the Strad was a small shop on Fourth Avenue one of about 25 or 30 shops that lined the view that that was back in 1051. Wiser's which is where it often started if you will be out walking down 14th Street there stands were outside they were wonderful. Still DS was a bit of everything. They had a few floors they were a very big store the venue or further on down and the LNA Lowenstein the want to book shop. It was not a on the corner. There was a friendly bookstore which was not run by a person not so friendly. This brand is the last of the original Fourth Avenue bookstores. I remember one of those stores right on Fourth Avenue
in the late 70s it was one of the last ones maybe that made him even meaner because they were mean. It was a family and they hated each other more and they hated the customers and you know that's insane. And they had this big cousin who used to you know just throw people off whenever he felt like it. He wouldn't give an explanation you know anything so nice he would just say no. He would say how much is this No. They seem to me to be very annoyed. You know if you interrupted their wedding they were always waiting they were hunched over. They basically hated you they didn't want you there. They acted more like you broke into their house you know it wasn't just that they are on the books it was their bookstore it was more as if you would come in through the window and rocket right into their house and were stealing their boxes. What happened to Fourth Avenue was on three was that it was run by a lot of very interesting strong self-centered individuals including my dad and very few of them imparted knowledge to the younger generation.
The Strand has been seen as lots of narrow passage ways you have to squeeze through and you look up and down and you're trying to find out what's what. Strat has a map that describes where books are located and some people don't like it. Many people find it very attractive because they never know what's around it. You know what you can do just about anything with a book. I hate to think about what people actually do for those books and for those I assume that the reason Brazil allows this kind of behavior that's really close to vandalism and you know is theirs because they believe there's no other way to get Americans into a bookstore. You know you have to lose often the opportunity to be felonious and turns out that their people have made their regular weekly bridge game. They have to market to the people in the
papers every week. How many books do they do there by anybody you know if you go to like the one here on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street and you know it seems like to be swarming with like 22 year olds desperately making time to fall in love by the magazines. Now is this the business that the sort of thing that goes on now at Barnes and Noble where they give you service with a smile and have coffee and they have a place where you could buy sandwiches and sit down and read all of that old book row. People would have just scorned the whole thing they would say what treat people to a meal they give them. We're not in that business with selling books here that people don't want all books we don't want to hear. As far as opening up a coffee shop you are having a big dispute about it but I think eventually along the line there will be a coffee kiosk or
something serving coffee. My concept was to give the coffee away free but charge for donuts in the sandwiches and the other side whatever is laughing at me say that's not going to be feasible but we might try it. We compete with Barnes and Noble's and borders real wrestling with deep discount places. We gave it bigger discounts with bigger discounts. The strand at the moment is undergoing some big changes because an elevator that is being put into the building from the basement to the third floor. We hope to make it a little more customer friendly. Bertha roll up floors are coming apart. The ceiling is coming down the doors the front entrance doesn't work in the freezer bookselling begins with a care with things. There's great emotions that had to be found in books and in bookstores you can find things that can have a tremendous effect on your life.
Come then and see what's in for that. Ah all the wealth of the old at all that's new. What if a book could do you. And that's it for this edition of New York Voices. As always for more information about the segments on our show or to let us know your ideas for future programs log onto our website at 13 dot org. I'm Rafael Romo thanks for joining us. We'll see you next week. From New York Voices this is made possible by the members of 13 additional funding
provided by Michael t Markey and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
New York Voices
Episode Number
Store Wars
Producing Organization
Thirteen WNET
Contributing Organization
Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/75-58pc8dvg).
Series Description
New York Voices is a news magazine made up of segments featuring profiles and interviews with New Yorkers talking about the issues affecting New York.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Local Communities
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: Thirteen WNET
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_12225 (WNET Archive)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “New York Voices; 401; Store Wars,” 2004-01-30, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 8, 2023,
MLA: “New York Voices; 401; Store Wars.” 2004-01-30. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 8, 2023. <>.
APA: New York Voices; 401; Store Wars. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from