Is it just me or has there been a quiet invasion in my NY neighborhood? Cosmetics. Expensive cosmetics. High-end, women’s cosmetics stores have taken over my Lincoln Square neighborhood. Within a 5 minute walk from my apartment, there is now a: Fresh, Mac, Kiehl’s, Therapie, Lancome, L’Occitane, Space NK, Clarin’s, Lush, Get Glow, Sabon, The Body Shop, and of course the mother ship itself… Sephora.
I’m not even counting the places that do the “permanent makeup” – where they apparently pull out your entire eyebrows and then give you makeup “tattoos” in their place and around your lips. These places remind me of a line from Jerry Seinfeld that seems as appropriate as ever, “I don’t understand how a woman can take boiling hot wax, pour it on their upper thighs, rip the hair out by the roots!… and still be afraid of a spider.” – but I digress.
Yes, I do miss the dive bars, bodegas, diners, electronics stores, news/candy/cigars, and hardware stores that used to be all around my place but what has replaced them all is what makes me scratch my head and makes me a bit angry.
Were we “under-cosmetized” or “cosmetics deficient” before? I don’t think so – we already had 6 drug stores, a “Love’s” and a “Ricky’s” and other places that sold a range of cosmetics before so I don’t think women were having to ration their Urban Decay lipstick due to supply shortages. And our Columbus Ave. Duane Reade drug store was already reinventing itself as a chic, cosmetics-focused shop as it was, so what gives???
As I take the long, angry walk to buy things that used be so close by I ponder, “Why, why has this happened here?” Brainwashing of our women perhaps? No, the ladies shoe companies already did that and “own their hearts and minds.” So I try to “follow the money” but the numbers don’t add up. Even that rich local neighborhood woman who has been surgically altered to look like a cat can’t support all these new places so I have to wonder how are they all staying afloat? Money laundering is the only thing I can think of at this point. Perhaps this is just the replacement for the clusters of wig stores that were surely fronts for money laundering back in the day.
So I try to be glass half full on the subject and think about the women for a moment. Convenience of beauty is good for all, right? Are the women pretty in my neighborhood? Yes, they look great. But… (here comes the glass half empty part),… they looked pretty great before the extra 15 high-end cosmetics stores opened up too. And who’s ultimately paying for all these ridiculously priced creams, lotions and serums? Men like me, that’s who! We’re not happy about it and we may need to organize and occupy to take back our streets! [We’ll run the idea past the beautiful ladies in our lives first of course].
BTW – Two other long-time local storefronts have the construction permits up and I’m betting one of them ends up as a Molten Brown. Average Angry Shopper is getting upset!