The condemned home of the J. Press clothing store on York Street was closed. Still, someone was home.
That someone was store manager Jim Fitzgerald.
On Tuesday, city Building Official Andy Rizzo had condemned the property because he said it might collapse from the weight of Winter Storm Nemo’s snow and subsequent rainwater on the room.
A “DANGER” notice signed by Rizzo went up in the window prohibiting anyone from entering “except for the purpose of making the required repairs or demolishing” the structure.
So the door was locked. J. Press was closed for business.
Fitzgerald and coworkers were inside the store Wednesday and Thursday, however, clearing out the stock. The store is moving to a new location in a few weeks, next to Shake Shack on Chapel Street.
Click on the play arrow to the video at the top of the story to visit with Fitzgerald at the condemned store. (Check out the neat ID tag at the end designed and contributed by Ian Applegate.)
“We’re cleaning it up, as you can see,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday. “Our intent before we even had the snow was to remodel the whole store. The snow just hastened” the process. J. Press has been at the location since 1907.
The manager said he didn’t worry the roof and walls would suddenly collapse upon him: “I’ve worked in the story 26 years. I know this building pretty well.”
Fitzgerald said the store’s intention was to return to the current York Street location after renovations. It remained unclear Thursday whether that will still be the plan, or whether the building will be demolished, a question on the minds of some Independent readers after the Independent first reported on the building’s condemnation.
Click here to read Carole Bass’s YAM story about the company’s plans, including opening a “York Street” outpost in Greenwich Village.