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With only a few days left in 2008, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, of one major economic collapse and many minor shopping frenzies. Folks, it's the annual (two years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments, from the Top Five Pop-Up Shops to the Worst Windows. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.
5) Ports 1961: The execs at luxury brand Ports 1961 announced their intention to open a Meatpacking District outpost way back in spring of 2007. Early on in the store's development, we sensed trouble. The site, at 3 Ninth Avenue between Little West 12th and Gansevoort Streets, was a rubble-strewn hole. It was no surprise then that construction issues delayed the opening from "February 2008" to "end of 2008". As the year is almost over, and the store has yet to open, we're assuming they need another month or eleven to work things out completely.
4) Vera Wang Soho: Vera Wang first let slip her plans for a Soho boutique for her RTW and purple labels in January of 2007. Then the bridal gown maven got cold feet: She covered the windows of the site at 158 Mercer with images of models all decked out in her wintery—then summery—attire and let the space lay fallow for months and months. Finally, in September we spotted workers going in and out of the storefront, and in early December, the place opened for business. Vera said the nearly two year process was due to her inability to pick an architect.
3) Trader Joe's Brooklyn: After teasing Brooklyn dwellers with a festive steel drum parade and grand announcement in July of 2007, tropical-themed grocery chain Trader Joe's took their sweet time in opening a store on Court and Atlantic in Cobble Hill. They gutted the interior of the historic old Independence Bank building, and then left it empty and unfinished for about nine months. When the place finally opened in late September, we joined excited shoppers who had lined up in the rain to run the aisles. Upon entering, we were (for some reason) surprised that the place was just another boring grocery store.
2) Armani/5th Avenue: The news that big-name designer Giorgio Armani had signed a lease for a huge store on Fifth Avenue broke in May of 2007. At that time, all we knew was that the place would be a 'total experience' that would include a restaurant and a club. It took a year for us to get a look inside the place, and when we did, it was still very unfinished. Then just last week, we got word that Mr. Armani had set a date. Patrons can immerse themselves in the full Armani world come this February.
1) Topshop: Rumors of Topshop's plans for a stateside store have been flying about for years, but nothing was set in stone until we broke the news that Sir Philip Green had decided upon a three-level space in a landmark building at 478 Broadway in Soho. An opening date was set for September 2008. In March, we got a look inside and were semi-shocked at how unfinished the place looked. Sir Philip pushed the opening to October 10th. It meant missing Fashion Week, but then they'd still hit the lucrative holiday shopping season, so no biggie. Then, we got word from a reliable source that the October opening was a longshot; that the interior was 'just a big hole,' and that one architecture firm had already ditched the project. The opening was pushed again, 'til November. In a recent interview with WWD, Sir Philip once again crushed our hopes and delayed the opening of the store until March 2009. He called the project a 'logistical nightmare'. Welcome to New York.