The former Barneys New York flagship won’t be just another white elephant, at least in April.
The Winter Show, one of the country’s leading exhibitions of art, antiques and design, will be held at the former Barneys site, at 660 Madison Avenue by 60th Street, from April 1 to 10, but is expected to move back in 2023 to the Park Avenue Armory by 66th Street on Park Avenue, where it’s been held for years. The Winter Show had been postponed from January due to surges in COVID-19 cases. Scheduling at the Park Avenue Armory made it impossible to stage The Winter Show there in April.
The 220,000-square-foot Barneys flagship closed for good in February 2020, along with the remaining handful of Barneys stores around the country. Barneys was a casualty of debt, bankruptcies, over-expansion and mismanagements for a couple of decades, but is still in the hearts and minds of consumers, who miss the retailer’s unique take on luxury. Barneys on Madison opened in 1993 when the company was still owned and run by the founding Pressman family.
Last year, WWD reported that the former Barneys flagship would be used as an event and art exhibition space with several levels of galleries.
In November 2019, the Authentic Brands Group bought Barneys New York out of bankruptcy through a $271 million deal. ABG is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company in New York with a large portfolio including Juicy Couture, Aéropostale, Forever 21, Hickey Freeman, and Marilyn Monroe as well as Barneys, among other brands. ABG is the leaseholder for the former Barneys flagship and has been working on bringing different events to activate the site, which would help New York City recover from the pandemic.
“We are thrilled to be working with The Winter Show to offer the historic Barneys New York location for their 2022 edition. We are committed to fostering the vibrant creative community of New York City. The Winter Show and its beneficiary East Side House Settlement are such storied institutions in NYC, and we are delighted to have 660 Madison host this exceptional display of art, antiques and design,” said Daniel Dienst, ABG’s executive vice chairman.
Barneys isn’t the sole white elephant in the city. The former Neiman Marcus in Hudson Yards remains vacant, and the former Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue and 38th Street was in 2020 bought by Amazon, which said it would use the site to expand its tech operations.
The 2022 edition of The Winter Show will feature 62 dealers that will have booths installed across four floors of the former Barneys flagship.
Helen Allen, the show’s executive director, said, “Although the upcoming Winter Show will look slightly different from the fair we have become so familiar with, this is a true comeback story that can only happen in New York. The success of our exhibitors is at the forefront of our decisions, and we are excited to offer such a dynamic platform at 660 Madison to showcase their works.”
The Winter Show benefits the East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization serving the Bronx and northern Manhattan. The organization responded to the pandemic by launching new initiatives and services such as education tools for students and food distribution programs.
“The Winter Show has long been a part of the East Side House tradition and it is vital in raising the funds necessary to continue to serve those New Yorkers most in need. We remain grateful to our partners, colleagues and exhibitors for their support and understanding as we navigated this necessary shift,” said Daniel Diaz, executive director of East Side House Settlement. The Winter Show was established in 1954 by East Side House Settlement.