Wow, New York is getting even crappier.
News had been floating around for a bit, but a trip to their website confirmed that Giant Robot NY is closing next week. An offshoot of Giant Robot stores in LA and San Francisco, the East Village shop served as a gallery space for artists and cartoonists, as well as a place to snag books, toys, and wondrous gizmos. It was also the herald of the wave of Asian cultural influence that swept over the US in the last decade.
On the Flog blog, Janice Headley remembers some comics-centric events at the space:
We here at Fantagraphics are sad to see this wonderful shop and gallery go. Over the years, GRNY has hosted some great events featuring our artists, most recently, Paul Hornschemeier, during his tour with Jay Ryan. We’ve also been excited to have our artists featured in their exhibits, like the “Free Ice Cream Day” show back in 2007, which included original artwork from MOME artists like Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown, and R. Kikuo Johnson.
Manager Mark has a message on the site reading in part:
So the cat’s out of the bag, the official announcement has been made, and GRNY will be closing at the end of the month. I’ve only been here for the final third of GRNY’s 6 year run, but I’m sad to see it go. It sounds corny and cliched to say, but NYC is a tough town. In recent years I’ve seen absolute institutions that I thought would be here forever shut their doors (CBGB comes to mind). The city changes more and more, and sometimes the only choice is to move on. GRNY leaves a legacy of nothing but good memories. Fresh out of college, I’d scour magazine stores like Tower Books (also gone from NYC) for cool magazines, which is where I first discovered Giant Robot. I studied Japanese in college largely due to a fascination with their pop culture, but that extended to Asian pop culture in general. GR was a super cool insight into West Coast culture through a sort of indy/Asian lens. It was a way to share common interests that transcended any sort of ethnicity, and I always dug it. I was excited to see GR open a store in NY (SF and LA seemed to have a real lock on great Asian pop culture outlets), and was there on the first day. Now I’ll be here on the last day, too. Feels kind of strange.
For our own part, we have many fond memories of GRNY openings and parties, one in particular where we met a young man with a waxed mustache playing an accordion outside, and it turned out to be Nick Gazin. That kind of crazy shit never happens any more.
Actually it does, just not when we’re around.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.