Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rizzoli to Reopen

From the Wall Street Journal:
The new store will be at 1133 Broadway—that's between 25th and 26th streets—on the ground floor of the St. James Building, an 1896 Beaux-Arts structure. Rizzoli executives looked at more than 150 locations, including Brooklyn, whittled the list down to six, and then to two before choosing the space in the Nomad neighborhood. They also used focus groups to identify the best location for a high-end destination bookstore in the city. Indeed, one executive—for some reason, apparently steeped in Italian corporate tradition, he declined to be quoted by name—went on for several minutes about the delights of the area. He provided a virtual walking tour to bolster the company's belief that this is a part of town as receptive to books as Fifth Avenue was when Angelo Rizzoli opened his original shop in 1964 at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street.

At that time, Rizzoli joined as many as a half-dozen other bookstores on the avenue. The shop moved to 57th Street in 1985. The executive mentioned the nearby Nomad and Ace boutique hotels, as well as Madison Square Park; and he seemed to attribute almost talismanic importance to the fact that Rizzoli will be only two blocks from an institution that has successfully managed to bottle the essence of Italy, or at least a supercharged, Americanized version of it—Eataly, the destination food store, espresso bar and multiple dining establishment. He also cited the trend of artists, galleries and bookstores moving into an area, making it desirable, boosting real-estate prices and eventually becoming victims of their own success. Apparently the hope is that Rizzoli will add a touch of class to this stretch of Broadway, which—despite its good bones—also has its share of tacky storefronts. 

Rizzoli's 57th Street store covered three slightly cramped floors. But that was part of its charm. It was as if you were entering Henry Higgins's private library. Simply by setting foot in the emporium you felt patted on the back for your erudition and good taste. The new store will be approximately the same size—5,000 square feet—but on a single level. (Read more.)

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