Toy story: the recession edition

Today 50-70% off, tomorrow the fixtures

Businesses continue to fail in Jackson Heights. It’s sad to watch. Every walk down Roosevelt or 37th Ave. reveals a recently vacated store. Some I’m happy to see go – like all the cell phone places or the shop at my corner selling cheap umbrellas, NYC t-shirts and an assortment of useless junk. My wife and I get way more enjoyment out of speculating what businesses could fill the voids in a perfect world (New York Sports Club, Barnes & Noble, are you out there?) than we ever did out of the now-closed stores. But there are no new stores coming in, just padlocked security gates and “For Rent” signs. I’d rather have the crappy stores back.

The KB Toys on 82nd St. is in the process of closing. There’s something extra sad about a toy store going out of business. It’s downright depressing when that toy store goes out of business right after Christmas, the biggest shopping season of the year. And it’s almost suicide-inducing when you have to watch its demise – from Christmas through New Years – from your bedroom window while looking for a job yourself.

Were sales so bad that even the holidays couldn’t keep the store afloat? In a neighborhood swarming with kids, did that few parents buy presents? Did the owners just delay the inevitable long enough to make what money they could? As it turns out, the company is bankrupt and shuttering all 460 of its stores. I’ve been watching the sale signs get more and more desperate day by day. Now they’re up to “everything must go.” Before too long they’ll start selling the furniture and fixtures.

One day soon it will just be a KB Toys sign and an empty store. And that’s how it will stay, for a very long time, or at least until a mega hair/nail/eyebrow salon takes over. The toy store’s employees will venture into unemployment or, if they’re lucky, other employment. I’ll be in my apartment searching the internet for a job. And when I look out the window, I’ll see that depressing reminder of my neighborhood’s struggling economy. I’m not looking for work near where I live (yet), but it doesn’t make me excited about my prospects.

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One Comment

  1. Jayshree wrote:

    Well written!You could also visit,a website that brings together recession victims and also discusses issues related to it.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 5:09 am | Permalink

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