Uncle Sam’s Pretty in Pink | West 8th Street For Rent

Uncle Sam’s on West 8th Street at No. 37 used to the site of a great store named PosterMat. There is surprisingly little information about it online, no pictures come up, at least in a cursory search. (They must exist tho’ …) Uncle Sam’s Army-Navy Outfitters has been in that location for awhile now and right now everything is 50% off. You can’t miss it — the whole shop inside and out is blanketed with hot pink flyers. (Photos taken during Friday’s snow storm.)

A reader named Lou wrote to me recently asking why so much is closed on 8th Street; he writes:

I found your article about B&N closing from a few months back.  It looks like all of 8th Street has store after store being closed and renovated.  Do you know what’s the story behind this?  Thanks.

It’s hard not to wonder this especially as you walk the strip between 5th and 6th Avenues. I have written about West 8th Street before, here and here. And, of course, designer Patricia Field, whose famous store once inhabited 8th Street, blames NYU for the street’s demise.

This store, bottom picture above, a shoe store, is still open while sporting a “store for rent” sign. It has long been acknowledged that the Village Alliance — formerly known as the 8th Street BID (Business Improvement District), particularly when under the leadership of former director Honi Klein — would like the many (not as many as there were) shoe stores gone. 

I have a feeling that those believed to be pulling the strings for the revitalization of the strip (who also factor into much of the real estate) have a very different vision in mind for it than what most of us (people reading this blog) would think is ideal. (To note, they have been trying for awhile.)

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bit something different — the strip has a wonderful history (others have covered that quite well, will add a link) but has been struggling for decades — but sometimes it feels like ‘all or nothing’ as these things go. Does it have to be all high end? Can it be a mix? Can we foster artists and bookstores and a clock store? Or as they say “More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs.”

More on 8th Street to come.

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3 thoughts on “Uncle Sam’s Pretty in Pink | West 8th Street For Rent”

  1. An extra note: 37 West 8th Street was the second location for Postermat; its original spot was at 16 West 8th Street, across the street and closer to Fifth Ave. I remember going in there as an 11 year old and loving the psychedelic posters, and not really understanding what the bongs and hash pipes were for. (I thought they were for imported tobacco or something. My dad smoked cigarettes but didn’t have fancy equipment like that!) Also I was puzzled by the big rack of underground comics, looking so temptingly like comic books but full of nudity and crime. (Or so I assumed. I was scared to look.) To this day when I walk past the earlier address I still unconsciously expect the Postermat to be there!

  2. Hi Richard, Thanks for the info. 16 W. 8th came up in something I looked at and I was confused but now it makes sense. Thanks for that. I don’t remember anything other than posters and a very vibrant atmosphere. Great memories you have of it! Thanks for sharing!



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