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Freakoutonomics

NY Mag surveyed more than 100 retailers in the city and came up with a terrific, very now look at how retailers are coping with changing consumer habits.  Reporter Michael Idov calls it "a retail shakeout of historic proportions."  "Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and Soho are suddenly pocked with empty storefronts looking out on empty sidewalks," he writes, while some neighborhood commercial districts are experiencing vacancies of 20%. 

And yet, New Yorkers have not stopped shopping or eating out or getting their nails done.  They are just choosing to do it differently.

You have to cheer the gutsy retailers who are taking advantage of declining real estate values to sign 10-year leases and even open new stores.  And the young restaurateurs who are selling more vegetable dishes, but will flip burgers if that's what it takes to keep going.

We should all go out and do the same kind of exploration in our own cities to figure out what we can do to help the people who give our cities so much of their vibrancy.  But in the meantime, read Mr. Idov's article.

Note:  In contrast to the spunky retailers interviewed by Idov, I was in NYC last…

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