Last year, when news emerged that Urban Outfitters would be opening up on North 6th Street in Williamsburg — a stone’s throw from a planned Whole Foods and Anthropologie (both on Bedford), and next door to a new American Apparel — an informal poll yielded consensus: neighbors were unenthusiastic. Some even swore they would never shop there.
But everyone bemoans gentrification; resisting it, when you’re passing that $39 crop top every day on your way home from work, is another matter entirely. Just ask Spike Lee.
Will those negative Neds and Nancys be able to withstand the siren song of a macramé watermelon holder? Find out on Friday, when the multi-level Urban Outfitters, “Space Ninety 8,” opens in Williamsburg.
As I write this, little elves are stocking the store’s racks with floral print dresses and its sneaker pop-up shop with aerosol spray cans; filling the nooks and crannies with items engineered to surprise and delight the brand’s “upscale homeless” demographic. (Luckily, these guys are on hand to ensure everything is done the Williamsburg way.)
Like a zesty, industrial-size bean dip, Space Ninety 8 is comprised of five layers. The basement is reserved for a rotating lineup of pop-ups. First up: Adidas Blue, featuring artwork by Williamsburg’s own Jason Woodside. Floors two and three, respectively, will house Urban Outfitter’s women’s and men’s collections. Onetime Top Chef winner Ilan Hall (you know, the Saffron guy) has installed an East Coast outpost of his L.A. eatery the Gorbals — complete with hard-won liquor license — also on the third floor. On the fourth, shoppers will find an outdoor dining area (an extension of the Gorbals) and, if all goes to plan, a flower market.
The ground floor will be devoted to showcasing the kind of local, independent designers that Urban Outfitters has always… appreciated. Via its Instagram account, Space Ninety 8 has already announced partnerships with Greenpoint-based natural skincare line S.W. Basics, Group Partner (purveyor of provocative pottery), jewelry designer and metalsmith Lila Rice, the furniture line Hym Salvage, Cold Picnic (designers of the aforementioned watermelon holder), and New York-based surfboard shapers Salt Surf, to name a few. The ground floor will also be home to a vintage store called Urban Renewal, because if there is one thing Urban Outfitters loves, it’s recycling!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 2, 2014