New Yorkers afraid of the sun won't need to go above ground at Columbus Circle starting next year. Plans are in place for a subterranean food court and retail area called TurnStyle, to be run by Susan Fine, who overhauled the food court at Grand Central. Vendors like Ignazio's Pizza, Gelato Te Amo, Magnolia Bakery, Joe Coffee, and Dylan's Candy Store, are already on board, and the Times promises that "fancy tacos" will be available too.
The move apparently makes sense for these vendors. Magnolia owner Steve Abrams explains: "Subways are a part of our lives....Part of the reason we don't like them is the crowds, but that's exactly what a retailer likes to see, and at Columbus Circle, you can't argue with those numbers." Plus, the fact that storefronts are going for $275 to $425 a foot, approximately a third of the cost of space where the sun actually shines, doesn't hurt.
Subway restaurants and food courts are incredibly popular around Asia and in parts of Europe, but it's unclear whether the idea will take off in New York. If they do, expect more projects like this one down the line. But, as a Times reporter puts it: "Whether it is rats or those prehistoric-looking stalactites, the challenge of getting New Yorkers to linger underground is about as difficult as completing the Second Avenue subway."