Upper West Side Retailers Get Creative for Phase One Reopening; New Ways to Buy Shoes, Books and Quilts

By Mariel Priven

As Phase 1 of New York City’s reopening began on Monday, retail stores across the Upper West Side are finding new socially distant ways to serve their customers. For now stores are only allowed to serve customers outside (curbside pickup) or allow them to pick up items in the store that they previously ordered. Delivery, of course, is still an option at many businesses.

Small business owners shared their excitement as they reopened their doors for the first time since mid-March, expressing hope that neighbors will quickly step in and support them after the long drought.

“People are so glad to see us open,” remarked Tracy Morse, co-owner of Down and Quilt Shop on Amsterdam Avenue and 85th Street. “We are here. We are happy to be here. Because we’ve been a neighborhood store, people have been very kind.”

Down and Quilt Shop, like other West Side retail stores, is offering a range of services to aid in the process of purchasing. In addition to the option of placing orders for pickup or delivery by phone, Tracy has stationed herself outside of the Amsterdam store with a table covered in samples. As she speaks with customers, she can communicate with her co-worker Beth, who remains inside the shop, and can bring out items until the customer’s needs are met.

Similarly, at Westsider Rare and Used Books, located on Broadway between 80th and 81st, the familiar stacks of used books placed on the sidewalk outside of the store are back. Dorian Thornley, co-owner of the bookstore, explained that most books outside cost just one dollar, so customers can select books from the outdoor assortment, and place a dollar in the money box located at the table, thereby eliminating any unnecessary interactions. Specific orders by phone are still available for shipping, delivery, and pickup.

In an effort to ease the process of purchasing shoes, Harry’s Shoes has placed chairs outside its store at a comfortable distance apart, where clients can try on shoes they have ordered for pick-up before leaving with their items. Though being measured and fitted for shoes is not yet an option, owner Robert Goldberg hopes that this try-on option will make the prospect of committing to footwear easier.


Storeowners who rely on phone- and email-based orders conveyed hope that local West Siders will show support. “We hope the community will help us survive,” shared Shlomo, owner of West Side Judaica on Broadway. “We rely on locals to help us. And at the end of the day, even with all of the government’s help, we still have our rent to pay.”

Sylvia Parker from Magpie agreed that this time has been especially difficult for small business owners, but shared that her store’s primary concern is maintaining the safety of employees and customers.

Avi, co-owner of Flowers on the Park, was less optimistic about reopening. He explained that the spring is a critical time for florists, what with weddings and graduations, and that business gets more difficult in the summer as many West Siders escape to their second homes. “If you asked me for three months when I would want to be closed, I would not choose March through June, which is exactly what happened,” he lamented.

One hundred days after New York’s first case of COVID-19, small retail stores are excited to resume business. Here are several that are open (feel free to highlight more in the comments).

Barnes and Noble
Blooming Couture Flowers
Blossom Jewelry
Books of Wonder
Canine Styles West
Down and Quilt Shop
Flowers on the Park
Gold Leaf Stationers
Harry’s Shoes
Jimmy’s Custom Framing
John Koch Antiques
Shakespeare and Co
Tip Top Shoes
West Side Judaica
Westsider Rare and Used Books

NEWS | 40 comments | permalink
    1. C says:

      Yes! We have to support the local businesses in our neighborhood. Now more than ever.

    2. Bonnie says:

      This is an amazing assessment of local.bubsinesses. Helpful too. Bravo

    3. Brenda Rezak says:

      I bought a small ceramic piece today at La Terrine on Columbus Ave (73-74 Street). I pointed to the piece in the window and one of the workers brought it out to me. We conducted business at curbside.

    4. Phyllis Roth says:

      Please add to the list- OPEN FOR BUSINESS-


    5. Lee says:

      Glad to hear about all the stores reopening We need to support them West Side Judaica has been here since the 1930s It will only remain if our neighborhood supports it It has tremendous offerings and the owners are very friendly and welcoming As summer arrives pick up some interesting books.Across the street City Diner reopened. They were very lax about precautions as the virus began. Today the chef still doesn’t wear gloves
      as he prepares the food! Didn’t someone tell the basic health procedures for a food preparer? It’s a danger especially for their mostly older clientele!

    6. Amy says:

      The Big Bag Store on 79th has a website, bigbagny.com, and they are offering curbside pickup!

    7. Judith Pearlman says:

      As of this afternoon, Bloomingdale’s was not only not poen, but still boarded up.

    8. NPK says:

      3 more open stores not listed above
      Knitty City on W 79th Street
      Goldenlight Visions on Bway at 95th street
      Sprint Sports on Bway between 93rd and 94th

    9. Amy Cook says:

      JackRabbit on 72nd is open

    10. THOMAS NEWTON says:

      I was out yesterday morning and saw that the book shop on Broadway between 80th and 81st had a selection of books for sale outside – something I have missed! A perfect beginning to reopening! Much appreciated!

    11. Ann Truman Pennington says:

      Atempo is open

    12. Bonnie says:

      This is a helpful article that will certainly inject some Much needed financial resources and stability to these store owners. Hurrah!

    13. West Side Kids will be open tomorrow! 12-4. Looking forward to seeing you!!

    14. Amy says:

      La Terrine is open for pick up as well!

    15. Vincent says:

      I’m so glad to see Jimmy’s Custom Framing is back open. He’s such a nice guy and his service is impeccable.

    16. BH says:

      Janoff’s (Bet. 111th and 112th)

      It’s north of 110th, but I’m going to count it anyway as it’s the best art supply store in the area.

    17. Savor says:

      Savor Beauty is open for retail (no services) 12-5pm daily. Made in the Hudson Valley and owned by an UWS resident.

    18. wendy says:

      will sephora on broadway re-open?

    19. wendy says:

      I hope you will keep updating your list.
      Thank you

    20. Madd Donna says:

      But doesn’t all the goods out on the streets make the UPW look like a third world country?? Let alone leaving hardly any room to walk. Sorry, not interested in buying any products in this fashion. It’s like all the streets have turned into a flea market.

      • Ari says:

        Enjoy being an elitist trapped in your apartment then.

      • Ellen says:

        Not at all. It looks to me like a neighborhood and city that is doing the best it can and adapting to a new normal… at least for the next few months. If we want to keep the virus at a decline, then this is how it should be. The real mistake would be to pine for things to return as they were. It’s not likely to happen in the near future so I say embrace the shop owners and the revitalization of of the UWS.

      • Jonathan says:

        What a narrow minded thing to say.

      • UWS-er says:

        You’d rather these stores all went out of business? What’s wrong with you?

      • JV says:

        Third World Country? Are you kidding? This is a fantastic idea. And what do you have against flea markets in the first place? They provide a marvelous sense of community, which is part of what living in the city is all about for those of us who actually like to leave our apartments more than to go outside to complain.

    21. DK says:

      Town Shop is excited to re-open Friday at Noon.
      You can place orders on Townshop.com
      and choose “In Store Pickup” or call 212-595-6600
      to place orders for curbside or in store pickup.
      Staff will be conveniently stationed to assist.

    22. Jen says:

      Add Outlette to this list! It’s open and the owners are awesome!!

    23. Diana Basso says:

      My general law practice across the street at 76 West 85th St. #1E, is seeing clients remotely as well as in person in my fully disinfected office. We handle Wills/Trusts, Business Transactions, Contract, Trademark/Copyright and Employment matters as well as Litigate in State and Federal Court.
      Please add me to the list at your convenience.
      Sincerely, Diana Basso, Esq.
      Law Offices of Diana J. Basso

    24. Joanne Silverman says:

      We are all survivors, doing our best to keep our heads above water, The small businesses that have been with us for so long, providing us with what we needed, now need our help. Let’s do all we can. That should be the “new normal”.

      • geoff says:

        i agree with what you write yet we are the same people who, in ‘tryng to keep our heads above water’ order much online, where prices are much lower, in order ‘to keep our heads above water’.

    25. Tania Isenstein says:

      Camp Canine is now open too! (46 West 73rd Street)

    26. Lara says:

      Icon Style antique jewelry and vintage fashion and accessories at 104 W 70th St will be reopening starting Saturday June 13th and will be open 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday

    27. Amy says:

      Can anyone confirm that TipTop is in fact open. Even if only for curbside pick-up?