Guest Post: Alas Poor DSW, I Knew Him Well

  Last modified on January 16th, 2023

(Google Maps)

Here’s an important memory about the DSW on 79th Street. (Important only to me). One time, I went there and asked if they were carrying some specific style of boots in a women’s 12, and the person working the register was very kind and normal to me. The end.

For context as to why this is an important memory (to me, only), I have a mustache and goatee, and this was my first time buying a new pair of heels in person – as opposed to shopping online for used boots and booties. They didn’t have the pair I wanted, but a few weeks later, I bought a pair of maroon DKNY boots with a sensible block heel and a gold accent. Cute!


Between 79th and 84th streets, there used to be the perfect little triangle of shoe stores. Aldo, for something trendy that would fall apart after a few wears; Harry’s, for overly-intent and deeply personalized customer service; and DSW, where, when you’re lucky, you can find size 12 women’s shoes in the “11 and up” sales rack next to the employee bathroom.

Of course, the Aldo has closed – though the storefront remains empty – and now I’ve learned they’ll be closing the DSW as well. Alas! I must now remain in mourning for the three-story shoe store I’ve stopped in countless times to peruse, and sometimes even make a purchase.


Because to me, the 79th Street DSW was, even more than a shoe store, a place to walk around and look at stuff. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the suburbs and spent weekends at the mall, but I believe that neighborhoods need such stores. Where else can one watch a friend try on some sandals, look through endless racks with discounts of up to and over 50%, sit on a little bench, and even buy hats, purses, socks, and board games, before heading back out and on their way? In prior years, they even had a bathroom open to the public – making it an ideal midway point for those walking along Broadway.


And so I bid the Upper West Side DSW a fond farewell – knowing I will be stopping by regularly in the coming weeks in the hopes of increased discounts and maybe even the chance to buy my very own shoe rack – a sweet memento of my years looking for that perfect size 12 boot.

As for a place to walk around and zone out uptown, we’ll always have the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble. At least, for now.

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