Thursday, November 4, 2010

Field Trip; "Limelight Marketplace"

I have this "friend" (oh, this should be good) who used to frequent the Limelight way back in the early 90's (I came to NYC in 2005, just saying) when it was a very different place. Apparently this 163 year old church was home to a rash of parties and extravagances that could only be parallelled by the antics at Studio 54 and immortalized in a feature film.

Were it not for the cast of colorful characters and it's notorious history, the Limelight Marketplace may have no cache to it's name at all and otherwise fade into obscurity among the dozens of other shopping centers around the island of Manhattan. But alas, too many vials of GHB have been spilt alongside the corner of 20th street at 6th avenue to ever be forgotten... or remembered? As I wandered into the corridors I could hear my friend's voice in my head,

"I used to do (insert illegal substance) there!"

Was that what the early 90's were all about? I was underage... but then again, so was he. But now people of all ages can gain access to the latest incarnation of Limelight as it's walls have purged graffiti and designer drugs and instead house countertops lined with trinkets and designer duds. Businesses specializing in goods from teacups and gourmet foods to belt buckles and cosmetics flourish in the intricately designed passageways and staircases I'd had a pretty hard time traversing. And I was sober.

The entire area spans over 20,000 square feet but like any other building in New York City, there's very little negative space. While taking a glance at fragrance at Soapology I simply backed up and found myself in Le Sports Sac with a foot grazing FACE Stockholm. Overcrowding aside, the complex is nicely decorated with clean lines and polished black and white checkerboard floors. The aesthetic is maintained by a modern twist on the gothic style of it's original design. Service isn't nearly as pushy as most shopping boutiques like Saks 5th Avenue but that may have to do with how popular the complex has yet to become.

More and more of the sales people at the counters are remarking how, after being open for a little over 6 months, most visitors are more intrigued in the building's history than it's current standing. The majority of visitors are simply there to make remarks about their personal experiences than to actually shop.

Although I don't regard the Limelight as the kind of destination shopping center I'd frequent to drop cash, it's at least good for an ephemeral flashback.

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