If sections of Bleecker and Christopher streets look a little post-apocalyptic, you can blame the retail real estate market.
Amid skyrocketing rents and competition from e-commerce giants like Amazon, a growing number of stores and restaurants in the West Village shut down in recent years. Photojournalist Ben Fractenberg walked through the neighborhood to map vacant storefronts, which seem to be everywhere.
“Everything is gone. I don’t know how a business could spend that much money,” one resident told Fractenberg. “This whole area used to be more little shops. It’s sad.”
The New York Times broke down Bleecker Street’s retail vacancies last year, but the epidemic is also spreading to nearby Sixth and Seventh avenues and other side streets.