2010 Roundup: Top UWS Openings and Closings

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

trader-joes-line10-best-lincoln2010 is coming to a close, and the Upper West Side has seen a healthy amount of shakeups and happenings this year.  As we welcome 2011, we are taking a look back at some of the most news-worthy events in our neighborhood.  Today, we look at some of the top openings and closings on the Upper West Side that changed the neighborhood’s character.  Click through for the list.

5. Barnes and Noble bids adieu.  Despite the fact that Upper West Siders have made an art form out of complaining about the influx of chain stores in the neighborhood, neighbors were saddened to hear the news that the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble (Broadway at 66th) is shutting its doors.  The bookstore, which is often bustling with crowds, is clearing out their inventory to close on January 2nd, and word on the street is that the mega-discount clothing store Century 21 will take its place.

4. Lincoln Center adds some swank with Lincoln and some outdoor fun with a lawn.  Part of Lincoln Center’s billion-dollar-plus renovation was a highly anticipated, modern, glass-enclosed structure on the south side of 65th between Broadway and Amsterdam.  The building’s rooftop Illumination Lawn, a classy and grassy public space, opened in May, and attracted visitors during its spotty summer (the lawn periodically closed after maintenance couldn’t figure out how to keep the grass alive).  Even more anticipated was the high-end restaurant Lincoln, located under the lawn and headed up by Per Se prodigy Jonathan Benno.  The restaurant, which opened in September to less-than-positive reviews, has overcome the recently-opened hump and was recently named the best new restaurant in America by GQ.

3. 96th Street Subway Station gets a makeover. After years of work and millions of dollars, the 1/2/3 subway station at 96th Street debuted its renovations in April, welcoming New Yorkers with a glass-enclosed entrance on Broadway’s median, a garden blooming overhead, and new entrances and exits.  Renovations have continued throughout the year, including the opening of elevators in November, but the station already feels like an old, worn-in one, gum and all.

2. Tavern on the Green goes from hosting weddings to serving snacks. People from all over the city, country, and heck, the world, were saddened to see Tavern on the Green, the iconic restaurant in Central Park near 68th, close down at the end of 2009.  Even more disheartening, the restaurant remained closed for the bulk of this year as negotiations started up and fizzled out between the city and Boathouse operator Dean Poll.  Once the contract with Poll to operate the space officially fell through, the city decided to temporarily give life to the space with a cleanup and the opening of a visitor’s center and outdoor food trucks.  The snack area opened in September, serving up fancy bites like Turkish tacos, high-end soups from Ladle of Love, and red currant ice cream from Van Leeuwen.

1. Trader Joe’s brings Upper West Siders a Fairway alternative. The most anticipated opening in the neighborhood this year has to be the multi-level Trader Joe’s, which opened in the glitzy new building at Broadway and 72nd in September.  The store, only two blocks south of the UWS staple grocer Fairway, worked to create some real competition, offering low-priced and high-quality produce and prepared meals while giving shoppers a little breathing room with aisles wide enough to avoid shopping-cart-bumper-car games.  After the initial excitement of the TJ opening wore off, Upper West Siders began to enjoy a new debate that still rages on… are you in the Trader Joe’s camp or the Fairway camp?

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