You know you’ve been coming to New York a long time when your find yet more evidence that you’re on your second cycle of change (maybe 2.5). This first struck me a while back when it was Toys-R-Us announced it could no longer afford to keep its flagship store in Times Square. When I first arrived in NYC in 1998 the Criterion multiplex still existed in the spot that would soon become the World’s Largest Toy-R-Us, a very visible component of the Disneyfication of Times Square. But over time it became a part of Times Square. The big Ferris wheel and dinosaur and Lego Skyscrapers became part of the iconography of Times Square. It was not only a place for tourists to go, but it was a place that real New Yorkers came to as well, to shop and just to hang out. And then it was gone. And now its been broken up into a Gap and an Old Navy stores. Perhaps in 15 year when they vacate I’ll feel the same way about them, but probably not (sorry, but both brands left my set of haberdashery options in the 1990’s).
But what got me thinking about this again was I just found out that another “new” Times Square joint has closed as well, after 15 years too: Ruby Foo’s on 49th and Broadway.
This is a well-known corner to ASINY since I chose it to start the blog itself, and have referenced it again fairly recently. So I wanted to get an updated picture this trip, which I did on my way in to work (at 6:00AM on a freakin’ Saturday no less!). That’s when I found out RF was gone. It turns out it has been closed since October 2015, I guess I missed it when i was up here in 2016 (so sue me already!). I think its strange, and somewhat telling, that over a year later its still closed and nothing has moved in there. Maybe the rent bubble is on the bring of bursting wide open after all…
As a side, yet related, note, after I had my epiphany that just because something is new now doesn’t mean it won’t be iconic one day, I had a change of hear about trying that fake NY restuarant on 42nd Street, URBO (which of course stands for Urban-Bohemian of all things!). But guess what, its gone too. I’ll get a few pics of it later this weekend before it too is a fading memory of the new old Times Square.