Since the late 1980s, 600 Broadway housed a notable DKNY mural featuring the company’s logo functioning as a window to the NYC skyline. Now, almost 20 years later, Hollister has painted over the iconic image with a drab replacement. This marks the end of an era in Manhattan and seems to predict a bleak future for the city.
Hollister’s mural is a murky brown background with the retailer’s logo branded across the top. There is no color, no life, and acts as a dreary reminder of the city’s current economic condition. It turns its back and bears down on the intersection of Houston and Broadway with its austere presence.
The DKNY billboard, on the other hand, may have been an advertisement selling a high-end retail brand, which some argue negatively fed into the gentrification of the neighborhood, but it also celebrated the city. It featured the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the World Trade Center. It played into the sentiments of native New Yorkers as well as visitors, and it gave back to the city by drawing the viewer’s eye up and away from the once empty lot (now a fruit stand) below. The artistry was unique and no other billboard was like it.
It is obvious that Hollister, a brand by Abercrombie & Fitch Co., is not a New York brand. However, with a Southern California-inspired image, one would think the company would try to at least enliven the intersection with Southern California-inspired colors if they were going to cover up one of the community’s most recognized landmarks on one of the city’s most visible intersections. Store employees may dress like surfers, but the sun is not shining on Broadway and Houston.