Last night I popped into the Union Square Virgin Megastore, one of the last remnants of the once-mighty chain; it’s currently in the process of its final clearance sale, although truth be told, there were few real deals to be had. (CDs, records, and DVDs were marked down 20%; I scored a vinyl copy of Ida Maria’s “Fortress ‘Round My Heart” for $10.) The DJ hired with providing ambiance to the store sounded slightly dejected as he noted that everything around him would be closed by month’s end, and while the place was fairly full of bargain-hunters, there was a sense that the air was being slowly and torturously let out of a big room where people cared enough about music to venture out in public for the purposes of sampling it. More observations–including a gallery!–after the jump.
Unlike previous excursions to imminently closing record stores, there wasn’t really any one record that was in large supply–well, unless you count the Eagles box sets that were scattered around the store.
I do wonder just how much the albums and DVDs are going to be marked down–according to one employee at an indie label, every piece of stock on Virgin’s shelves is “fully returnable,” so perhaps the liquidators figure they can make more money by not selling their inventory out?
In the meantime, let’s all remember the old days, with this breathless description of the now-faded shop from the company’s official site:
You haven’t visited New York City until you’ve taken part in the downtown Union Square experience. The thriving Union Square area is a dense congregation of trendy shops, restaurants, lounges, cool bars and a unique community of people who live, work and play there. In true Virgin fashion, at the center of it all is the Virgin Megastore Union Square. Once you set foot inside its doors, you’ll feel the pulse and vibe of this highly original store as its resident DJs spin the latest in all kinds of new music. Want more selection? Preview releases on any one of our 500 listening stations, or view the latest DVD releases and have a latte in our Virgin Cafe overlooking Union Square Park. Why not spend the whole day, or night, whatever you like?
Having the imminently closing Virgin Megastore right next to a cleared-out Circuit City certainly calls that “dense congregation” idea into question. On the bright side, I did get confronted by about 10 people on my way from the subway to the store, so at least things aren’t as deserted down there as they once were.
Virgin Megastore Union Square [virginmega.com]