off bway7
Photo by Sasha Charnin Morrison.

Off Broadway, the fun and colorful clothing and accessories store on 72nd street between Columbus and Amsterdam, is closing its doors after the death earlier this year of owner Lynn Dell Cohen. The shop had tried to stay in business for a few months after she died, but the owners said “our landmark store is just no longer quite the same without her presence.”

Off Broadway had been around for 50 years. Cohen became a style icon for older women, and was even featured in a documentary called Advanced Style. “On behalf of The Cohen Family as well as the staff & management of Off Broadway Boutique we would like to thank each and every one of our wonderful customers from the A Listers of Hollywood to the working girl on the Z train wanting to look great on a budget , your support has kept us going for 5 decades.”

The merchandise was completely unique because of Cohen’s adventurous eye.

“Calling the Off Broadway Boutique a women’s clothing store is like calling Liberace a pianist: technically accurate, but a deeply insufficient way to describe a shop that traffics in silk caftans, floor-length gowns and leopard-print turbans for women who, Ms. Cohen said, “dress for the theater of their lives,'” a Times profile explained. “The shop, which Ms. Cohen opened 50 years ago on a commercial stretch of West 72nd Street, is itself something of a stage, its shelves and racks home to everything from metallic shoulder bags and hats shaped like Frank Gehry buildings to raw silk jackets and gold chain necklaces so heavy they could anchor a ship. Many of the wares look less like clothes and more like birds of paradise come home to roost.”

They’re now having a clearance sale, with much of the merchandise going for 75% off; they’re selling the fixtures and mannequins too.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 13 comments | permalink
    1. M. Goldstein says:

      This store was a treasure! I got my funky wedding dress there in 1984! Lynn was unique and that kind of uniqueness is rare these days. Eclair Bakery was right there along with lots of old favorites like the restaurant Palsons, a great bistro. Or was it Paulsons?

      I am sorry to see the store close. Those were better times.

    2. John says:

      Guess: TMobile, Verizon, Sprint, Chase, Banc of America, Santander, …..who is coming in?

    3. jezbel says:

      I will also miss that store. Though I haven’t shopped there in years, I bought some beautiful and outrageous outfits in the 80’s… and a jacket or two in the 90’s. I had just stopped by to see about their resale policy a week before she passed. It’s a loss, both to the business and the neighborhood. I even still have one of their old branded lipstick mirrors with OFF-BROADWAY written on the back. More UWS memorabilia

    4. Peter says:

      Such a unique store and amazing it was open for 50 years. I used to see Lynn around the block for years and always thought she would be around. She would frequently dine at Seven’s Turkish Grill which is in the old Palsoon’s restaurant space.

    5. CJ Berk says:

      Wow-I’m sad. It’s a neighborhood institution and treasure. I don’t want it to go. I didn’t know she passed-she looked like she could go on forever. What will happen to the wonderful re-sale place in the back? Does anyone know?

    6. carol mills says:

      This is a great loss. Losing my friend Lynn and the store. It sure was a wonderful exciting store and Lynn made it happen. I will miss seeing her their everyday in a new exciting HAT

    7. I’m so sad. What a colorful institution. The neighborhood just got a little less special. Even though it wasn’t my taste I shopped there for presents and whatever I could.

    8. Carolyn in Hawaii says:

      So sad to read this. Lynn was simply Mavelous…Everyone LOVED her. And she was also REAL PEOPLE. She even advertised in The West Side TV Shopper and was a great supporter, who had a smile and chatted with everyone she met. Also, very upfront.
      Her accessory concession operator was also a gem, as was the Off Broadway Boutique. The store must have been just about the last remnant on W 72nd St. Of the old UWS I remember so fondly.

    9. Leslie Rupert says:

      Off-Broadway and Lynn brought style, personality snd flavor to the neighborhood. It was one of the places that helped to make the West Side truly unique. This is such loss. Just walking past the store always made me smile

    10. Lynn Navarra says:

      I will miss this store and the fabulous Pat who always had time for a kind & wise word!