2010 UWS Preview: Fashion, Controversy, and Trader Joe’s

by - January 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm -

The Upper West Side will get a lot more trendy and stylish in 2010, as Fashion Week moves from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center in September. So beware walking down Broadway in the 60’s without your trendiest harem pants on. Also on the calendar this year: what promises to be a bruising battle between one of New York’s biggest developers and some local residents, the arrival of Trader Joe’s and a push to ease overcrowding at local schools. Let’s start with the fun stuff.

grocery_thumbTrader Joe’s is Coming: For a while there, it sounded like Trader Joe’s might bypass the Upper West Side entirely, but all appears to be right with the world again as the specialty supermarket prepares to open at 200 West 72nd Street on Broadway this year. The question now is whether the developer can rent the apartments above the store, and whether the new store will eat into Fairway’s profits.

Fashion Week Moves to Lincoln Center: Traditionally, the Upper West Side has been known for a frumpier, more literary look, but that’s about to change. Yes fashionistas, Marc Jacobs and his ilk will be coming to the neighborhood this fall, sipping wine at Bar Boulud (while dutifully avoiding the fattening foie gras), and sneering at the rest of us fatties. Lincoln Center has 25% more space than Bryant Park, allowing the show to grow. Lincoln Center expect about 10,000 people to come to Fashion Week every day. Expect the event to make local restaurateurs incredibly happily, and to hurt your self-esteem.

extell2Extell and Carlyle Face Off Against Peeved Residents: Mega-builder Extell Development Company and its partner The Carlyle Group have proposed a mixed use development on the site of a parking lot between 59th and 61st streets overlooking the West Side Highway. Their proposal could bring 2,500 residential units, a hotel, a movie theater, and a new school to the neighborhood, and a new Metro-North train station might even be in the works. But local residents worry that the new development will strain services, clog up traffic, and cast long shadows over the neighborhood, as well as be a general eyesore. The proposal is still being reviewed by city planners, but soon local officials will get to vote on it. Expect the acrimony to come to a head this year.

class sizeCrowded Schools: A baby boom and a renewed willingness by many parents to send their children to public schools in the neighborhood has made it harder to get into kindergarten on the Upper West Side than it is to get into Harvard Medical School. Classrooms are packed and schools are improvising to accommodate parents. The Community Board wants to build or otherwise procure a new school, but the Department of Education hasn’t been much help. With tight city and state budgets, will Upper West Side parents get any relief?

Stay tuned, and let us know what you think are the biggest issues facing he neighborhood in the coming months. (top photo by Art Comment via flickr)

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