Commuter Consumerism: MTA Unveils Pop-Up Subway Shopping with UNIQLO at Union Square

Just in case you need a last minute winter jacket.

Just in case you need a last minute winter jacket.

Starting today, commuters passing through the Union Square subway station will have the opportunity to browse the sartorial selections on offer at a pop-up UNIQLO store. UNIQLO, a Japanese maker of affordable casual wear, is the second retailer to take part in a new MTA initiative designed to bring “hip, small stores…into subway stations for short-term stays,” according to a release. The first, an indy-centric media shop known as The Newsstand, piloted the program last summer with a location at the Lorimer/Metropolitan Avenue stop, in Williamsburg. The initiative will allow “small entrepreneurs, online businesses and established corporations,” in the phrasing of the release—read: anyone selling anything—to rent space underground, granting their merchandise increased visibility, and, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast hopes, “improving the image and desirability of retail space in the subway.”

Larry Meyer, COO of UNIQLO USA, said that in the coming months, the Union Square pop-up would “provide New Yorkers with the opportunity to shop for cold weather clothing… before they have to head out into the winter weather,” a suggestion which seemed to overlook the fact that by the time a vast majority of New Yorkers reach the subway, they have, in fact, already ventured outside their dwellings. (Still, even the best of us forget our mittens every now and again.)

MTA Real Estate Director Jeffrey Rosen, for his part, contributed his best Yogi Berra impression to the occasion: “The younger generations are gravitating to the subway system as never before,” he said. “They are savvy about shopping online. Retailers want to reach them where they are, which is our subway system. We are glad to be able to offer space in our stations to facilitate this new business niche.”