Openings & Closings: Arthur Murray, Madewell, Barachou, West End Health, Tea 2

An Arthur Murray Dance Studio just opened and it’s attracting gawkers.

The Arthur Murray Dance Studio just opened at the northeast corner of 82nd and Columbus, formerly the Robert Stuart Salon. The studio, which has a large glass window at front, has been attracting crowds who watch the dancers. Thanks to Lynette, Howard and Lisa for the tips and photos.

Women’s clothing chain Madewell is planning to open this fall in the former home of Maje on Columbus and 70th Street. They also appear to be taking part of the Club Monaco space. Thanks to David and Laura for the tips.

Cream puff store Barachou is opening on Wednesday at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets. The store is run by a French entrepreneur who raised $20,000 on Kickstarter. We last wrote about it here. Thanks to Michelle for the tip.

West End Health & Fitness at 752 west End Avenue at 97th Street announced it is closing on September 1, another twist in what has been a tumultuous couple of years for members. In 2015, members rallied after the gym changed ownership and it suddenly closed its pool. “It has been our sincere pleasure serving the community for over 35 years,” the club said in an email to members. “They are doing this after a summer of repairs and part-day closings,” one member wrote to us.

Tea 2 on Columbus between 68th and 69th Streets closed on Sunday with a chalkboard message out front saying that “the rent is too damn high.” Thanks to Kara for the photo.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Catherine says:

      All these commercial retail rents are too high! You have to sell a lot of tea, clothing, shoes, gym memberships, whatever it is just to pay the rent. That’s part of the reason there are so many empty stores and businesses can’t last. Also, Amazon has changed the way people shop and gives free shipping in many cases and when you’re a prime member. It’s a changing world!

      • LKLA says:

        Lets be honest, does anyone think that selling tea – only and exclusively expensive tea – is a healthy and prosperous business?!

        Citarella, Trader Joe’s, Fairway, Starbucks, Alice’s Tea Cup,… all sell a wide variety of teas and are within a five minute walk.

        I am not sure there are too many places a business like this would do well.

      • MQue says:

        You can’t blame it on rent. It’s due to property taxes as well. Ours just shot up tremendously this year.

    2. is says:

      The news about Madewell is THE BEST!

    3. Dana Desjardins says:

      I used to buy at Itoen at 69th & Madison when they were open. NO tea place in the world will be able to make ends meet anything north of probably 14th Street—too bad! And this wasn’t just a tea place. They had an adjoining sushi restaurant and had to call it quits as well.

    4. Catherine says:

      If it’s not greedy landlords it’s absurd retail tax hikes. Is Staten Island getting comparable tax hikes? It’s remarkable that we have any independent retail left in a City that was once known for shop owners who knew everything on their shelves.

      • Sherman says:

        You’re correct. It’s all the fault of greedy landlords.

        Maybe you should become a landlord and lease your space to a store selling a product nobody wants (or can buy for a fraction the price at Fairway or online) and charge this business a rock bottom rent so they can survive.

    5. CG says:

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I love the T2! They are an asset to the neighborhood. They donate lovely gifts to charity events to auction off.

      They also hosted free tea Fridays and would fill up any T2 cups owned for free.

      Sad 🙁

    6. Mark Moore says:

      How many cream puffs does one have to sell per day just to cover the rent?

    7. Ed says:

      Tea Too should have written on their chalkboard “We tried to open and operate a store dedicated to tea in a city and country dedicated to coffee. Boy were we dumb”

      • NYC10023 says:

        Too bad the nearby mustard store closed… perhaps they could have thrown in together and the neighborhood would not be deprived of two essential boutique items. We’re all now sadly relegated to Pioneer for buying our Lipton and Guldens.

    8. LKLA says:

      “The rent is to damn high.”

      Any chance the business was just not doing well?

      Any chance that the business should be located in a lower rent area – versus in one of the most expensive real estate areas in the world?

      Any chance you knew this to begin with and should have either not opened the business or planned accordingly?

      It is insulting that business like Tea 2 or Books Culture think people are stupid and naive enough to think that landlords are the root of their problems.

      Business right next door to Tea 2 with similar rents seem to be doing fine – Joe’s Coffee, Wine 67, Ugg, Magnolia, El Mitote,…Perhaps the rent is not the issue?

      • Upper West Sider says:

        Was odd that T2 opened on the same block as another failed tea shop. Why would they think they’d succeed with virtually identical offerings? (BTW Uggs closed ages ago, despite what seemed to be thriving foot—pardon the pun—traffic.)

        I do hope the neighborhood will get a retailer it needs, rather than another eyeglass shop (I think we have 5 in a 4 block radius) or Blue Mercury type store.

    9. Suepooh says:

      Gee I recall when The Paris Health Club was a neighborhood presence and where singles such as I were hopeful of meeting a decent straight man . Things are always changing…

    10. LL says:

      Wow. I remember when it was Paris Fitness or something like that. And the only other gym was NYSC on 81st. I can’t believe they are closing.

    11. Leon says:

      Apparently T2 didn’t read the tea leaves that a store selling only tea would have trouble paying the rent. It is a real grind to run a profitable business in NY. That’s why I’m not an entrepreneur – not my cup of tea…

    12. T says:

      It’s not greedy landlords. It’s business models combined with insane nyc property and other taxes. Landlords do not win when a client’s business folds

    13. Fred DuBose says:

      T2 was started by a woman in Melbourne, Australia, and her shop did so well it opened in other Aussie cities as well. Now it’s owned by Unilever, and I thought said giant’s deep pockets were only thing keeping the store on Columbus going. I’d checked T2 out when it first opened and it sold only loose tea — a sure sign, to my mind, it wouldn’t last. ‘Another one bites the dust…’

      • UWSguy says:

        Unilever also owns Mallie, the mustard store that opened across the street, then closed. No wonder they both failed.

        • UWS_lifer says:

          Maybe they didn’t fail and were just essentially big corporate “Pop Up” shops meant simply to increase brand awareness in NYC and the USA.

          I mean, we are talking about them….

    14. B.B. says:

      T2 has two other Manhattan locations; Dey Street and Prince Street. They also have a store in Cobble Hill. Maybe those locations are a better fit given area demographics of local residents, tourists, and so forth.

      Tea really isn’t something many Americans, and certainly New Yorkers have rated highly. Coffee is another matter.

    15. Bill Williams says:

      Madewell in the old Food City space!

    16. EGF says:

      Who the hell drinks that much tea???

    17. B.B. says:

      Posted link to city’s own recent studies proving retail vacancy is < 10%. Even where rates are high, city planning commission admits there may be perfectly valid and legitimate reasons, none of which automatically translate into rent being "too high".

      Businesses who claim rent is "too high" are rather like those in rent regulated apartments making same claims. However in both instances what they truly mean is they themselves cannot afford to pay asking rent, that does not someone else would have same difficulty.

      This is one reason why the pipe dream of commercial rent control continues to go nowhere. Such laws would simply turn the last (and only) normally functioning real estate market in NYC into a farce.

      Rent regulations are first come, longest benefited statues. Meaning a business who otherwise of it's own natural causes/issues would (and should) close would be empowered to remain longer than it should otherwise.

      Even city's own data admit technology and other changes have created vast new forces shaping brick retail/commercial space. There is no point keeping a brick retail business open if it cannot generate income/profits.

      Some say "lower the rent"; but there again you are asking a LL (and the rest of us for that matter) to subsidize a business. This is already done for housing with various results but most dramatic is distortion created in residential rental market.

    18. Iris Agar says:

      Arthur Murray???????