Well, okay, so it may not be sooooo grand, but today was the 'grand' opening of the brand new Bloomingdale's Soho, 504 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, 212 729-5900. It was the perfect spring day to check out the 90,000 square foot 6 story shop that had once been home to Canal Jeans. While there was a blockade set up to accomodate an imposing looking waiting line (with the requisite black clad security guys standing in front) which lent an air of excitement and created a buzz, I think it was more for the effect than actual need. In actually, it took less than a few minutes to wind one's way into the very appealing, terribly inviting retail outpost. And hey, let's face it, if it were not inviting today- on it's very first day open, you could say they'd have a big problem.
I rarely shop in Bloomingdales on Lexington Avenue (or rather, I try to stay away as much as I can)...I just find it too big, usually too claustrophic, dark, etc.) And I just happen to prefer smaller shops with charm to large, mall-like department stores. But, having said that, I must admit- the new space, while true to Bloomie's 'vibe' (you basically KNOW you're in Bloomingdales), has retained the downtown, Soho edge thanks to art gallery-like high ceilings, exposed brick on walls, tall architectural columns, bleached wood floors, and lots of light thanks to big windows and a beautiful skylight.
To get things going, a limited edition green and black 'graffiti' print umbrella (the same print is used on their new shopping bags) was being offered for free to those opening a Bloomingdale's charge account today, in addition to a 15% off 'chose your own sale date savings certificate'.
So, what is the main difference between this store and the one on Lexington Avenue? Well, aside from the much smaller size and downtown location, the merchandise is edited differently. For example, Soho carries no petite sizes, only a limited number of 'bridge' designers, and no Chanel, Armani, Louis Vuitton, or Marc Jacobs (since his shop is right around the corner). Also missing are many newer, edgies names- though they had a nice selection of up and coming Derek Lam's spring items.
I made my way up the escalators to the pounding tune of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' (how 80's!!!) with the energetic 'Billie Jean' blaring in the background- and interestingly (or perhaps not), the only designer I spotted was Patricia Underwood, checking out her selection of hats on the main floor. The store is definitely going after a younger, hip, crowd, but it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.