Black Friday Madness Hits SoHo

Black Friday has definitely gotten out of control – or perhaps is always has been.  On Friday, the Hollister clothing chain’s New York flagship store in SoHo didn’t seem to open fast enough for those waiting outside.  As a result, the crowd chose to crash through the doors, looting the place.

Some of the crowd has been waiting outside since midnight, thinking it opened at that out.  By 1:15 they had apparently had enough and they broke into the store and snatched up whatever they could find. The store had not actually been slated to open until 10 a.m.

As bystander Akeem Bridgeman explained, “There were a couple employees there [stocking shelves], and they were shouting at people, `Stop! You’re breaking and entering and breaking the law!’ But the people looting just ignored them.”

Unfortunately, this was only one of a number of crazy incidents that occurred around Black Friday.  People will, apparently, do anything these days for a deal.

REI Coming to SoHo

Get ready SoHo – REI is coming to the neighborhood. With more than 70 years behind them in the business and 121 stores across the country, New York is finally getting its own REI store. The new store will be located in the Puck Building on Houston and Lafayette Streets with 35,000 square feet. It will be one of REI’s five largest stores and will have both REI-standard equipment and some special New York features, like a street level bike shop for New Yorkers to get their bikes fixed quickly.

REI plans to offer all sorts of hiking and other outdoor activities from the SoHo store. As J.J. Jameson, an instructor for REI’s outdoor school, said, “We’re also going to be appealing to a really broad segment of the market who’ve never been out of Manhattan, and we’re trying to make it really easy” to go out and explore.

REI certainly hopes to sell a lot of clothing and equipment, but they have a broader mission as well. REI’s chief executive, Sally Jewell, said that without more people who enjoy the outdoors and want to do outdoor training “as an industry we’re really in trouble in a generation.”

Zefrey Throwell’s Poker Message in TriBeCa

If you’re into racy, on-the-edge art and societal commentary, you may want to get over to Art in General, the gallery at 79 Walker Street. This week, from November 12th through 19th, the gallery is showcasing a rather unusual exhibit. Called “I’ll Raise You One…” the installation includes a series of poker games that will each run seven-and-a-half hours each day for the entire week. A new game starts as soon as the last one ends…and all games include strip poker.

That’s right. These seven card players at a time will be baring it all at the TriBeCa storefront gallery. Aside from the simple shock value there is, of course, a more significant message being conveyed here.

Zefrey Throwell created the installation to create a metaphor for the economy. The clothing symbolize the money. Using strip poker, he’s trying to show that no one can control the luck of the draw; even if some people show up in the beginning with more clothes (or money) than others, we all have to play by the rules and we are all subject to luck in our lives.

As Throwell explained,

“Wealth is unequally distributed — yet we’re all expected to play by the same rules. It’s a political and economic criticism.”

Photo courtesy of Zefrey Throwell.

Chipotle Replacing McDonalds on Sixth Avenue

If you’ve been dying for a burrito, you’ll soon have a new place to get one. A new Chipotle is opening at 405 Sixth Avenue, replacing the McDonald’s that closed in that location in August.

Chipotle founder, chairman and CEO Steve Ells said, in a statement about the new store, “There aren’t a lot of moving parts to our menu, so we can focus on grilling the perfect chicken, steaming the perfect rice, slow-cooking the best beans and finding the freshest avocados to mash into guacamole.”

Called a “quick-gourmet” restaurant, Chipotle will include an assembly line of tacos, burritos, blows and salads. In addition, they have a liquor license pending, according to the State Liquor Authority records.

Certainly sounds like a bit of a step-up from the health standards of McDonalds!

(Picture taken from by Andrea Swalec)