DSW Expected to Vacate Large UWS Location, Report Says

The DSW on 79th Street and Broadway is expected to close early next year, according to a report in Crain’s. The shoe store chain replaced Filene’s Basement in 2012, filling the 32,000-square-foot space. Filene’s had been there since 1993.

But real estate marketing materials now show that the store is expected to vacate the space in February. West Side Rag reached out to DSW in September about the marketing materials and did not hear back. The space is owned by Zabar’s.

Chains, including Century 21 and Banana Republic, have been closing all over the neighborhood since the pandemic began. DSW’s corporate parent said earlier this year that it had identified 65 stores that it may close over the next four years, about 10% of its store base.

Thanks to tipster “Upper West Sider” for the original tip.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 81 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      Funny, there’s a “now hiring” sign in front of the store.

      • Gina W says:

        Hiring for holiday help probably. All the stores do it.

      • DJP says:

        It’s the holiday season, they are still getting business, just likely not enough in the off-season to justify the rent price’s impact on the bottom line. If anything there will be a huge push to liquidate as much inventory as possible during the holidays, before they have to sell at a much more discounted price in Feb.

    2. Sharon Schanzer says:

      That’s just nuts. I was there the other day and there was a big line. There’s always a line. It’s a great store and it will be really unfortunate if they leave. We should contact HQ!

      • Juan says:

        My wife always insists on me taking the kids to DSW to try on shoes then ordering them online to save a buck. I have tried to explain to her that if we keep this up, there will be no more DSW. And here we are.

        I assume the air rights over that space have not already been sold and/or carved up? Let’s enjoy the daylight in that intersection while we have it. Broadway is becoming darker by the day.

    3. Dr. Stuart Baer says:

      I am no utterly shock by the amount of empty storefront that there are on Broadway from west 57th Street. I can’t see it improving in the near or far future. It is largely do by the bad judgement of the politicians in New York City and State. I hope that some of my neighbors will remember this the next time they vote. I have learned you can no longer just vote strait up and down for one party. You now need to get involved and listen to what each candidate is specifically saying, research their background and then make your decision on who you want to trust and believe. You should never go by what any news paper or media outlet tells you. You are the one that has to live in this city and I think we all have felt the deprivations of the bad and misinformation that we’ve been told.

      • Bjk says:

        NYC and state legislators are responsible for big chains closing? Now that’s a new one…

        • Say-moi says:

          Haha! Well said! It seems to me the younger generation are less likely to want to buy stuff inside a store now when they can order on-line ! I image there’ll be a large apartment building going up in place of DSW next year.

      • Otis says:

        @ Stuart Baer

        Did you read the article? DSW’s corporate parent said they will close 10% of their stores in the coming years.

        How is this store closing the fault of NYC/NYS politicians?

        • Alicia says:

          I guess another question would be do you think that the NYC and NYS politicians’ actions are actually conducive to creating and keeping the businesses?
          Because frankly, I don’t see it. Taxes, mandates and crime are not only hurting businesses that have already been hurt by the pandemic, and the crime, well, you can lay that directly at the feet of the only mayor who has been able to bring Democrats and Republicans in this city together, in their loathing of the man.

      • JD says:

        @ Dr Stuart Baer

        You’re only now realizing that you should read what a candidate stands for before voting for them? Informed voting is more than picking your favorite color.

      • Paul says:

        One thing is obvious, this isn’t a local phenomenon. Visit almost any mall, you’ll see large numbers of vacancies, and it’s estimated that 25% of the country’s shopping malls will close entirely in the next few years.

        Meanwhile we order on Amazon and Fresh Direct, eat from food trucks, and wonder why the stores are closing.

    4. Rebecca says:

      I smell 20 story luxury housing

      • Isaac says:

        That would be ideal! It’s such a great location and there’s plenty of room to build up.

        • Julia says:

          hope you are being sarcastic.

          • Jeff says:

            There’s a shortage of housing in the city today, and this is the perfect spot for homes.

            • Kim says:

              No one will be able to afford them unless they are investment banker types or rich foreigners. We need affordable housing not condos that cost a couple of million dollars or rent for exorbitant amounts per month.

              We moved to the UWS 30 years ago. It’s lucky we did or we could not afford to get a place here.

            • Gerry vali says:

              Shortage of affordable housing. Not luxury that would be built here.

      • Kyle says:

        Let’s hope so! This is an ideal location, right on top of the 79th St station. Having a 2-story taxpayer there is nothing short of criminal.

    5. Joyce Weitz says:

      So sorry to see them go. Wish Century 21 would come back in this spot.

    6. L. BRAVERMAN says:

      And I just let the DSW discount I got in the mail expire too, damn.

      The people who work there, for the most part, are excellent, their prices are fair and they really do take good care of their customers, so this really does suck big time.

      Okay, so Filene’s won’t be coming back… but how about Woolworth’s who were in that spot for donkeys years? There’s still the Woolies chain in Australia, a direct offshoot- maybe they could try to conquer America again?

      And what about the pool hall/ping pong palace that was there as well, upstairs? That could work too!

      PS- Is there any space around here that Zabar’s DOESN’T own?

      • Lisa says:

        Am I going to have to move to the suburbs to be able to shop ?! Serious question. Suburban stores aren’t closing — why are ours?

    7. Dinah Day says:

      how very sad that so many of our beloved chain stores are having to close!! We need those shops for our casual-go-to-work clothes!!

      • Robert Goodman says:

        I’m old enough to remember when folks around the UWS moaned about big chain stores invading the neighborhood and destroying its character.

        People adapt.

        Frankly, its hard to see how most stores survive online merchants. Shoe stores in particular would seem to be up against killer models like Zappos. And with free shipping and returns other clothing merchants are rendering stores pointless.

        I suppose storefronts will become venues for the sale of personal services not merchandise.

        Seems a grim prospect as more and more of the tasks of quotidien life become achievable remotely.

    8. Ll says:

      Wow. I remember when that space was Woolworths. What is going to happen to those large spaces? I mean. The old Banana Republic space on 86th and Broadway has been empty for at least 5 years now. If that DSW closes, I cannot imagine what will be in its place. It is a shame because I really like it. I guess they havent gotten enough traffic since the pandemic?

      • Gretchen says:

        Hah! I remember the old Woolworths too. I have a feeling that Zabars is gonna sell that low-rise building to the highest bidder, and here comes another supertall or luxury housing development. Bear in mind that building was completed in 1906!

    9. Cato says:

      Aww, shoe-t!

    10. Kim says:

      Perfect place for a Target.

      I will miss DSW though. I bet Harry’s Shoe’s will be thrilled.

      • VIrginia says:

        Not unless it’s a real Target and not a grocery store. Burlington would be grate.

        • Virginia says:

          It would also be great!!

        • Elliot Stamler says:

          We desperately could in fact use a large supermarket in that venue although with Zabars as the owner they probably would not accept such an offer. In the 36 years since I moved back to the UWS (was born here) we have lost, using Broadway as the geographic spine, numerous supermarkets and now have only Trader Joe’s at 72 St. and ths small, cramped, pricy Key’s at Amsterdam/86 St. We had a Red Apple at 87 St., an Associated at 88 St., a huge Key’s at 91 St., a Food Emporium at 89 St., and two (admittedly grossly expensive) Gristede’s at 86 and 73 Sts. All gone!

    11. UWSERIC says:

      The building next to it has no windows on the side facing DSW. The DSW building is two stories high. Somebody knew what was coming.

      • Kenneth says:

        That is a lot line elevation. No windows is a normal configuration in such a location because the space on the other side of the wall belongs to someone else and they have the right to build right against the wall. It is senseless for a developer to design a building and pay for windows that someone else will always have the right to block.

        • B.B. says:

          IIRC developers wanted to buy DSW building at the time, but Zabar family wasn’t then nor as before having any of it. They just won’t sell that property nor many of the others they own in area.

          Thus common real estate practice prevailed. If you cannot secure adjacent property or at least get the air rights lot line windows often aren’t done.

          • joe_the_accountant says:

            The new building next door is also a Zabar’s property.
            The regulation is that if you build up to your lot line you cannot put windows there whether you own the next door property or not.

    12. Cityrachel says:

      I Am trying to think outside of the box- and imagine what could work in that space. And how we could make the recommendations to the city, BID, whatever. For example, could a “Mini-mall” with local pop ups profit? Like a flea or crafts fair, but all year round and indoors? Could they build something over it? And then get tax benefits for creating something community friendly below? Performing arts space? Some other kins of destination market? I don’t know if there’s cooking capability- but like a midnight food market- indoors? I’m Just thinking “aloud…” but can’t help but wonder.

      • JE says:

        Love these ideas. The neighborhood has a pretty rich and unique food culture – maybe this could be another opportunity to build on that. Something like Essex Crossing in LES. I don’t think it hurts Zabar’s to attract more foodies to the neighborhood.

    13. Native UWSer says:

      That’s so sad. DSW is an excellent shoe store. Tremendous selection and staff. I don’t know how any huge store can exist anymore. I wish they could subdivide it so several stores could share the space. A hate the sound of mall, but seems like several stores or restaurants could share it, including DSW, if done tastefully. Ie Look at Eataly – it’s a kind of market/mall for food including restaurants.
      Fox’s moved from there, which has unique tastes in clothing, which I followed to third Avenue, another loss to the neighborhood.
      I wish the best to DSW staff for after the holidays.

      • Paul on W 67 says:

        I was thinking the former Barnes & Noble / Century 21 on 66th & Broadway would be a good spot for Eataly. They could knock out the walls and occupy the old Eddie Bauer / Banana Republic space as well. After all, the tourists are already in Lincoln Center, might as well give them another place to eat.

    14. RWC says:

      Zabar’s owns that building!! Who knew?
      Smart real estate move on their part.
      Probably going to sell the building and build a high-rise.
      Because we are in desperate need of another luxury condo high-rise on Broadway. Said sarcastically!
      😏

      • Huh says:

        There a Bansky on the 79th side of the building covered with plexiglass. It very clearly says something like help Zabars preserve this artwork.
        It’s at a major intersection and it hasn’t made real estate sense to only have a two story building there. I’m assuming it will be apartments with retail at the ground level. In 5 years.

      • Iraldo Black says:

        Banksy must be appalled.

      • Kenneth says:

        Zabar family owns many buildings in the neighborhood – some for many years.

      • Eric says:

        Actually, most people knew the Zabars own the building. It is because Zabars owns that building that it didn’t become another high-rise apartment casualty before now.

        Thank you, Saul and Stanley Zabar, for your continuing commitment to the UWS! We love you for more than your food!

      • JE says:

        More condos is exactly what the city needs to address the severe housing shortage that the city is experiencing.

    15. dannyb says:

      Maybe bring back the Lionel train store?

      • Irak says:

        We dont have . Lionel. In the hood. Great idea

      • Georaven says:

        Dannyb: when was the Lionel train store in this location? My husband’s grandmother lived on West 83rd St and B’way and he spent a lot of time in the neighborhood (and still does) but doesn’t remember one. Maybe before his time?

        • dannyb says:

          Lionel had a _very short_ lived attempt at becoming a retail chain in, umm, 1985? Sometime around then… (I could easily be off by 5 or 10 years). If I remember correctly they had part of that corner location.
          (Warning: Very vague memory…)
          Maybe someone else here has a better
          recollection.
          ah…..
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Kiddie_City

      • Paul says:

        Joshua Lionel Cohen, invented the toy electric train and what became the flashlight. Married into the Marcus family whose bank financed the San Remo, the Berresford, and the El Dorado.

        Never had children, so he left control of the train company to his great nephew, who ran it into the ground. The nephew? Roy M Cohn.

    16. joe_the_accountant says:

      Nasty chain store leaving, upper west siders should rejoice.

      No doubt Zabars will be building another huge rental in its place. Good corner, I hope they build something nice.

    17. NotImpressed says:

      I hope it becomes a giant nail salon.

    18. Terry Harris says:

      I heard from a doorman at the Apthorp over two years ago, that a high rise was coming on that corner, so DSW would be displaced. No surprise.

    19. Carline says:

      I shop there a lot! They have tremendous stuff. Sorry to see them leave.

    20. Robert says:

      Will now be empty for years or forever.

    21. Jon says:

      Would make a perfect Woolworth’s

    22. Sb says:

      This is sad. I love DSW. Shop there often. So many stores are closing on the uws. Who wants to move here with no place to shop? Shame on zabars. They really aren’t thinking of their neighborhood they claim to love so much.

      • Peter says:

        You think the desirability of this neighborhood depends – in any way whatsoever – on a second-rate store selling last year’s washed-up shoe models at discount prices? Did you ever hear a home buyer utter “I can’t move here, the big shoe store closed recently”?

      • Brandon says:

        How is it Zabar’s fault that DSW has decided to close 10% of its stores including this one?

    23. B.B. says:

      This DSW is three levels, which is really two too many.

      Among many problems staff is often stretched thin, and relentless pressure from online means prices are constrained.

      Each year there is less and less retail that can justify all that space on a sales per square foot basis.

      What could work? Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s… But as they all directly compete with Zabar’s across the street on some level, that won’t happen.

    24. Carolyn says:

      I vote Woolworths!!! And especially their counter for snacks and ice cream. I so remember choosing a balloon and breaking it to find out what price you would pay for that ice-cream sundae you were eating. Also ran into Birgit Nilsson shopping there one day…..loved that store. Bring it back!!

    25. Jerry Omanoff says:

      Where was Charivari store

    26. Tom says:

      Which big store is next to close? My bet is The North Face on 73rd. No way they are covering the rent. 🤷‍♂️

    27. Steevie says:

      The only storefronts that last forever are libraries and post offices. And now I am not so sure about those two.

    28. Lisa says:

      I keep reading articles about how the NYC residential real estate market has recovered — how is that possible when Broadway now looks like a wasteland? Who wants to live in a city with no stores?

      • Huh says:

        Who? People who mostly shop online and only need storefronts filled with restaurants, bars, fitness classes and nail salons. If you read the real estate section of the Times, most people are looking for a place near a subway and coffee and bagels.

      • JE says:

        I don’t think anyone is fleeing the city because stores like DSW are closing. There’s a lot more to NYC.

    29. Maxim Gelman says:

      It will be great if the build another Robert A M Stern luxury hi-rise. What a great location for that!

    30. Gretchen says:

      In case anyone want more history on this iconic building, once known as the Spreter Dept. Store, check this website for a lot of interesting history:

      http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-1914-spreter-dept-store-nos-2220-26.html

      • Paul on W 67 says:

        Wow, what an incredible site! Thanks for linking to it. I bookmarked it, and, the next snowy day we have, I intend to make a pot of coffee and hunker down, learning more about my neighborhood.

    31. Brenda says:

      It was a convenient spot to donate shoes. Other than that…

    32. JE says:

      Zabar’s should work with a developer to add housing on top of this building (matching the heights along Broadway). It doesn’t make sense to have such a low-rise building with no housing on a main corridor in the midst of a housing crisis. It would also help sustain the retail below and attract a new tenant.

    33. PaulCons says:

      Damn, went to HS is the neighborhood and every now and then a bunch of us would head over to that building, go up the stairs to the second floor to… play some pool!

    34. B.B. says:

      Physical retail is dying a slow but steady death.

      Yes, there will still be a need for bricks and mortar retail, but it never will be what it was prior to internet age. Huge barns of places, much like malls just don’t make economic sense.

      Converting visits to purchases has always been a challenge for retailers. People today treat physical retail as places to research before they buy online.

      Largely only things that make sense now for physical retail are services and other things you cannot do easily or get online.

    35. AC says:

      Zabar’s also owns the building New York sports club exists. They sold the SE lot on 80th for the purpose of constructing the tall high-rise. It’s no secret that they’ve planned on building an additional tall condo.

      Bring back Woolworths!

    36. Nani says:

      what a shame DSW is closing too. I’m still missing Century 21. Yesterday I shopped at DSW, it’s so much better being able to put on shoes. Especially for shoes it sucks having to do it online, where everything is heading.