Times Square To Lose Its Virginity This April

Jan 13th, 2009 // 13 Comments

Well, the day that we’ve all been expecting has been penciled into the calendar: The Times Square Virgin Megastore, the multi-floored music retail outpost/tourist attraction which this writer has spent a lot of time/money in and which has in recent weeks hosted appearances by the likes of Fall Out Boy and Constantine Maroulis, is closing its doors come April.

The closure has been in the works for a while, what with the cheap rents the store was paying (only $54 per square foot; market rent in Times Square is about $700/sq.ft), the slow, painful death of the recorded music industry, and the near-complete jettisoning of music-related programming by the store’s across-the-street neighbor MTV. (One wonders just how much business the store lost when the TRL crowds went away back in November.) But I’m still sad! What’s going to give Times Square its red glow at night? (Well, the discount clothier Century 21, which is taking over the space,does have a red logo. Actually, never mind; it’s going to be a Forever 21.) Where am I going to kill time before shows at the Nokia Theatre? (Please don’t say the Hard Rock Cafe.)

So far, the Union Square outpost is still going to stay open, thus ensuring that Manhattanites will have somewhere to pay $18.98 for a new release when the decks-clearing clearance sales are all said and done. But given that the chain’s owners are saying that “no decision” has been made as far as its long-term future, as well as that of the other remaining four stores in the chain, one has to wonder just how long it is before Other Music becomes the retail powerhouse of New York City by default.

Times Square Virgin Megastore To Close [Billboard]

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  1. Chris Molanphy

    Ha! Other Music as powerhouse. Just deserts.

    For me, the loss of the Union Square Virgin will hit harder, because I’ve been working/shopping here for almost five years. But honestly, WTF do I care? The Virgin magazines person just informed me that they no longer carry Billboard, which was the entire reason I timed my record-shopping for Fridays. Now I’ve got no excuse left to make a weekly pilgrimage there.

    (Of course, I used to do the weekly Friday thing at Tower, before they went belly-up. I’ve cried all the tears I can cry for chain music retail, honestly.)

  2. Christian John

    I live in Hell’s Kitchen; once Tower closed (I LOVED that store) in Lincoln Center, I made do with walking through throngs of tourists to get to Virgin…now I have to make do with shuttling down to Union Square…J&R might be the only hold out left for anything approaching deep catalog.

  3. Anonymous

    My first purchase at that location was an overpriced copy of Superdrag’s Head Trip in Every Key during a 1997 choir trip, and my final (pre-liquidation) purchase was an overpriced copy of Organized Konfusion’s Stress: The Extinction Agenda about two years ago. The Union Square Virgin will be more sorely missed because I’ll have to start telling friends: “I’ll be at Forever 21 if I get there first.”

  4. dyfl

    @Chris Molanphy: “The Virgin magazines person just informed me that they no longer carry Billboard”

    Wait, seriously? For real? Wow.

    I’ll agree that losing the Union Square location would be a more crippling blow, but the Times Square one always was good for killing time, it’s true — and since I work in Midtown it was generally where I went on my lunch break when I needed something now now now. But I guess switching over to Amazon MP3 makes me complicit in this, huh? (The way to turn it around on them: if they still stocked imports the way they used to, I’d have thrown them a LOT more cash.)

  5. Dickdogfood

    I want everybody to agree on this one thing: if they close Union Square, we’re all going to have a big fat semi-impromptu wake/party there. Like with whiskey and cake and everything.

  6. Anonymous

    Other Music the new Retail Powerhouse? HA.

    Even the Barnes & Noble music department in Union across the park from Virgin carries more music than Other. Same goes for the Discorama….AND Academy on 18th and 5th….

  7. Anonymous

    I remember when it first opened. I had recently moved to NYC from CA and the Foo Fighters were doing a free in-store concert. We had to get a wristband in the morning and then come back later that night or maybe the next day to see the concert. I was so excited about living in NY and thought where else do these things happen but in NYC. The most memorable moment of the concert happened when some people from the audience slammed into the glass on the escalator and shattered it. Admittedly, I don’t go to the Virgin Megastore often but when I do, I always look at the escalator and think back to that concert and being new to the city. I’ll be a little sad that it’s gone but New York is still the best city in the world and I live here. Woo hoo!

  8. moomintroll

    @Poubelle: I haven’t been inside it. I’m boycotting. What’s in the section where they used to have the singles and vinyl? Dressing rooms? Leggings?

  9. Poubelle

    @moomintroll: I was about to say the same thing. It is odd to have the same cheap-clothes place take over both spots.

    In the Chicago store, the part where I bought several of much-loved albums is now an accessories rack. It would be slightly less depressing if Forever 21′s accessories weren’t so cheap and tacky.

  10. Anonymous

    They closed two stores in Orange County, CA, too – even the rich kids in The OC don’t wanna buy $20 CDs…

  11. Anonymous

    The last time I was in Other Music, sometime before the holidays, they seemed to have less stock than they used to and more empty floor space. Usually a sign of trouble.

  12. moomintroll

    Weird, they put a Forever 21 in where the Virgin Megastore was on Michigan Avenue too. Why is that? What kind of person goes to touristy shopping meccas for Forever 21 clothes?
    Oh by the way Maura, your post’s title made me laugh…probably more than it should’ve.

  13. Poubelle

    @moomintroll: Last time I was there, I think it was mostly skirts (a couple which were actually cute, but so cheaply made) and some cheesy tops.

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