After facing lawsuits, resales, and a withering Vanity Fair exposé, the Plaza has now been forced to deal with criticism of its luxury retail collection in the form of a NY Times piece that slams the underground mall for being hard to get to and maybe slightly ill-timed.
Fortunately, the collection’s manager is prepared for the latter criticism: “The project was well on its way before the economy started to turn,” said Anthony Nicola, general manager of the Retail Collection. “There’s no turning back.”
Newly opened but still unfinished, the mall is mostly below ground, its entrance, tucked away at 1 West 58th Street, set back from the prime retail spaces along Fifth Avenue. A sign at the foot of the escalator leading to the mall begs forgiveness for its appearance. The Anna Hu jewelry boutique is still under construction; the fish in the koi pond are rather small.
But with predictions that the holiday season will be one of the grimmest in recent years, particularly when it comes to the sale of luxury items, questions about the inopportune timing of the mall’s opening are probably inevitable, especially since the stores can’t be seen from the street…
Since the Plaza is a landmark, its elaborate facade is protected by law, and exterior advertising must be kept to a minimum.
There was also the question of which tenants would best suit the hotel.
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