Ghost of Morris Brothers haunts Upper West Side

(Credit: Urbanite)

This is the only remaining visible sign for the old Morris Brothers department store. (Photo by Rolando Pujol)

Morris Brothers, the Upper West Side department store that clad neighborhood kids in summer-camp gear for decades, is still empty 13 months after it was shut down. All that's left of the shop is this one sign, visible on West 84th Street. The others have been covered up, and signs promote the retail space (between 1,300 and 5,600 square feet available). The spot did briefly serve as a Halloween accessories store last year.

This reminds us of a New York retail development that has driven neighborhood residents batty in recent years. Longtime shops that are vital to the neighborhood are forced out by higher rents. The landlord then waits to find the perfect tenant, or simply one that is willing to pay the new, astronomical lease. If no takers come along, the space sits empty, sometimes for years. In the meantime, the old business could have hung on a little -- or a lot -- longer, and the landlord could have kept making some money on the space.

We could fill a blog post every day on this dispiriting and incredibly frustrating phenomenon.

-- Rolando Pujol

Tags: upper west side , retail , morris brothers , real estate , old school , neighborhoods , endangered nyc , economy , development , architecture

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