Thursday, May 23, 2024

Haunting photos show major US city shopping district looking like a ‘wasteland’

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AN iconic stretch of New York City storefronts has been left vacant by mass store closures that are forcing locals to shop online.

New York residents complained that the retail destination’s shattered windows and shuttered doors turned a busy street into a ‘wasteland’.

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A stretch of stores in New York City’s Manhattan borough have shuttered, and locals say it looks like a wastelandCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
New Yorkers and tourists still flock to 14th Street near Union Square, but the shopping options aren't what they used to be

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New Yorkers and tourists still flock to 14th Street near Union Square, but the shopping options aren’t what they used to beCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
An entire corner on the street has been demolished, leaving retailers to find storefronts elsewhere

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An entire corner on the street has been demolished, leaving retailers to find storefronts elsewhereCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun

Nestled between Lower Manhattan and the bustling streets of Midtown, 14th Street is most known for bordering the historic intersection of Union Square.

The square is noteworthy for being a gathering place for generations of social activist groups, stemming back to the early 1800s.

In the early stages of New York City’s planning, 14th Street was expected to be a classy neighborhood that would house some of the city’s richest families.

However, most of the wealthy population stayed north, leaving the area open for shopping and more accessible housing.

Tourists visiting New York City may recognize the strip for housing go-to shops like The Strand bookstore or various seasonal markets.

But despite the strong foot traffic, retailers like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Sephora are pulling out of the neighborhood.

Brazen thieves have targeted stores on 14th Street as the retail apocalypse rages on.

In February, three armed robbers held workers at a Gucci store at gunpoint and ran away with $50,000 worth of items, WPIX reported.

And in March, six shoplifters ransacked a 14th Street Sephora and attacked a worker who tried to stop them from running away with $900 in perfume.

Eerie photos captured exclusively by The U.S. Sun show the excessive closures between 4th and 7th Avenue with multiple storefronts withering behind vacancy signs.

One street corner has been completely demolished, forcing retailers to house their businesses elsewhere.

According to Jill, a longtime resident of New York City, the closures have left 14th Street looking like a “wasteland.”

Major city mall worth $1BN with 70 stores planning to shut down blaming theft epidemic – but could face huge lawsuit

“It’s very strange,” she said in an exclusive conversation with The U.S. Sun.

“There’s nothing.”

Jill and her friend Laura, who both live in the Upper West Side, said they were shocked to see the lack of shopping options when they caught up in Union Square.

“There’s weird stores open like Target, and they have like three items,” Jill said.

“It’s horrible.”

For political reasons, Jill said she tries to support local businesses by stopping in brick-and-mortar storefronts.

However, she said this is increasingly difficult due to the excessive closures and unclaimed retail space.

“I hate shopping online. It’s a generational thing,” she said.

“I don’t buy from Amazon. I love going out, but I’m reduced to shopping in thrift shops for clothes.”

Jill, seen right, told The U.S. Sun that shopping in person is difficult on 14th Street

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Jill, seen right, told The U.S. Sun that shopping in person is difficult on 14th StreetCredit: Wise Owl for The U.S. Sun
Crowds of people are seen walking every day on 14 Street between 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue, but there aren't many shopping options

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Crowds of people are seen walking every day on 14 Street between 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue, but there aren’t many shopping optionsCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
Huge businesses have cardboard taped behind the glass

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Huge businesses have cardboard taped behind the glassCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
A Taco Bell and a Pizza Hut have both shuttered on the street

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A Taco Bell and a Pizza Hut have both shuttered on the streetCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun

LESS MONEY FLOWING

Carlos, who has worked as the manager of Namaste Bookstore on 14th Street for over a year, said he noticed a decline in business once government aid stopped flowing.

He believes New York City residents haven’t gotten back to work since the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning they don’t have the spending money to support local businesses.

“People have reconsidered their needs,” he told The U.S. Sun.

“We’re talking about food, kids, school. So these businesses have been affected a lot.”

“New York City’s retailers are the heart and soul of our city, and retail theft hurts everyone

Eric AdamsMayor of New York City

For Carlos, it’s important to make sure unemployment goes down so locals can have more spending money.

“We need to make sure that people work,” he said.

“The money is still the same, but the flow is different now.”

Meanwhile, Steve, who is the manager of the used book store Alabaster’s, said they’ve luckily found a core group of customers who keep them afloat.

He said he’s noticed closures, but business hasn’t slowed down for them.

“We have great customers,” he said before knocking on wood.

In November, New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a task force to combat crime and revitalize the city’s retail business.

He told residents to expect a severe crackdown so that everyone can once again enjoy a day of shopping.

“New York City’s retailers are the heart and soul of our city, and retail theft hurts everyone,” he said in a November press release.

“Together, we recognize the importance of safeguarding our businesses, protecting jobs, and ensuring a safer and more vibrant city for all who live in, work in, and visit our great city.”

Both chains and local businesses have shuttered in the area

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Both chains and local businesses have shuttered in the areaCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
Some people are seen sitting outside the empty storefronts

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Some people are seen sitting outside the empty storefrontsCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has launched a task force to protect retailers against crime

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams has launched a task force to protect retailers against crimeCredit: Wise Owl for The US Sun

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