Author Topic: Retail strip mystery  (Read 1488 times)

Offline ljr

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Retail strip mystery
« on: February 23, 2020, 10:36:25 AM »
What is with that medical clinic that replaced the former women's clothing store on the south side of 37th Avenue between 79th and 80th Sts? I think the name is Centro Medico? They advertise opening hours every day of the week and all medical specialties available. There is a waiting room and reception desk. There is even a coffeemaker, I believe with a container of Coffee Mate next to it, a thoughtful touch. I have never seen a soul inside, and it's been there quite a long time.

It occurs to me that an interesting idea for a podcast series would be "37th Avenue." Each episode would center on one business along 37th Ave, recounting the stories of the owners, the history of the business—whatever interesting story emerges from interviewing the owners, and I am sure there are many interesting stories—and in the case of mystery storefronts: what gives?

Episode 1: Swim Two Birds! (Any podcast producers out there? I actually think this is a viable idea, as it relates to the big box/corporate vs disappearing mom-and-pop stores controversy, inspiring immigrant success stories, rapacious landlords pillaging the NYC retail landscape, etc.)

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2020, 12:09:42 PM »
i see people in Centro Medico quite often, and get the sense that it's a walk-in clinic aimed at Spanish-speaking clients -- yes, most of the bigger ones do offer something similar, but it's kind of a crap-shoot at most when it comes to which second or third language your multi-lingual doctor/nurse will speak.

P.S., I think your 37th avenue idea is a good one. WNYE public television does something similar on their series "Neighborhood Slice." Watched one yesterday on Sunset Park, which focused on the Chinese and Latin immigrants as well as an old-school retailer who seemed welcoming. 

Offline ljr

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 07:47:21 AM »
I guess I am never walking past there at the right time, then, because I have never seen anyone in there, even a receptionist, and thought it was just a newly renovated but empty place. I guess I usually walk by on weekends, and they do post weekend hours but I've never seen anyone there.

Offline KGDHP

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2020, 10:14:42 AM »
I guess I am never walking past there at the right time, then, because I have never seen anyone in there, even a receptionist, and thought it was just a newly renovated but empty place. I guess I usually walk by on weekends, and they do post weekend hours but I've never seen anyone there.

I second this. Every time I walk by it is either closed or empty. I actually thought at some point this was a fake storefront business (the old 37th Avenue money laundering scheme strikes again...LOL). Actually, to add to the saga, at some point there was a piece of paper saying that the office had moved up to the 90s, but it appears to still be "open."

Love this idea...there's so much material here between Swim Two Birds, the perennially empty Ingrid's, the phantom doctors' office Centro Medico...and I am sure so much more. ;)

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2020, 11:03:31 AM »
Swim Two Birds is the biggest mystery. it's been three years since the first announced opening, two years since the last one and a year or so since the "soft opening" announcement. nothing has changed inside in two years, but there's no "for rent" sign, so it seems as if the rent is still being paid by the investors. it's definitely a unique situation.

Offline hum@njukebox1

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2020, 12:17:38 PM »
I had been thinking of starting a thread about the furniture store next to Food Dynasty and the liquor store.  In ten years I had never seen anyone in there and I wondered how they could possibly stay in business. Then, just the other day...........a customer!

Offline JH3525

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2020, 01:41:18 PM »
I can comment for the Orchid Liquor Store but not the furniture store.  The reason for the lack of customers is very high prices.  Example:  Cavit Pinot Grigio is $8.99+ tax in every liquor store except Orchid which is $11.99 + tax.  A pint of Smirnoff Vodka is $8.00 including tax everywhere except Orchid which is $12.00.   I'm not certain how they survive.   I do occasionally shop at Orchid if the weather in very bad and I don't care to walk to Broadway Liquors at Broadway & 74th St. 

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2020, 03:46:27 PM »
I can comment for the Orchid Liquor Store but not the furniture store.  The reason for the lack of customers is very high prices.  Example:  Cavit Pinot Grigio is $8.99+ tax in every liquor store except Orchid which is $11.99 + tax.  A pint of Smirnoff Vodka is $8.00 including tax everywhere except Orchid which is $12.00.   I'm not certain how they survive.   I do occasionally shop at Orchid if the weather in very bad and I don't care to walk to Broadway Liquors at Broadway & 74th St.

i agree completely. they're very nice people, and the closest place to me, but they charge $18.99 for a 750 ML bottle of the vodka i tend to favor, and Broadway charges the same price for the 1.5 liter -- or twice the amount. Table Wine is my usual wine place, but Broadway has a better selection of that, too.

Offline ljr

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2020, 07:15:42 PM »
A friend told me she avoided that liquor store because of the way they stored their wine--not the right way. And I can proudly say I patronized that furniture store when I moved here 8 years ago--bought a couple of coat racks there, since we had to choose whether to devote our one hall closet to coats or linens.

Swim Two Birds has the makings of a very interesting podcast all by itself. You just know there are stories behind all that happened there, but who knows what they are? Such a mystery how that whole thing unfolded. It has been years--but I believe it also took the Queensboro years between signing a lease and actually opening their doors. I recall hearing about it at least 2-3 years before it opened. They also had long delays. Yet other restaurants seem to sprout up quickly in some storefronts--one place closes and another opens.

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 07:47:14 PM »
The Queensboro folks started their admittedly long journey after Stew and his investors first started talking up Swim Two Birds here. they shared photos of forks, chairs and linens that they planned to use (all of which looked quite nice) but that's as far as the story went.  curious indeed.

Offline abcdefghijk

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2020, 08:35:13 AM »
Legal litigation issues?

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2020, 01:39:48 PM »
Legal litigation issues?

perhaps so. but at [ballpark guess] $8,000-$10,000 per month, we're talking half a million bucks in losses so far. how long can that go on?

Offline abcdefghijk

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2020, 02:01:40 PM »
No way rent is being paid.

I believe the litigation issues are to do with the building itself. Between the city and the landlord.

Offline dssjh

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 04:35:31 PM »
No way rent is being paid.

I believe the litigation issues are to do with the building itself. Between the city and the landlord.

again, that could be. but if a lessee has a lease, the rent has to be put into an escrow account regardless of other issues.

Offline abcdefghijk

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Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 06:41:01 PM »
The Gofundme campaign (run by the sister)  for that restaurant was way over two years ago.

My guess is that there ain't no money anywhere for years of rent of an unopened storefront...

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Retail strip mystery
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 06:41:01 PM »