Vacant retail space is always a bit of a bummer, and now more than any time in the recent past, spots are closing their doors and clearing out as business diminishes and prospects dim. Seeking to make the most of the recession’s real estate pummeling, non-profit art group No Longer Empty is reclaiming empty storefront space and converting it into temporary art installations. The group describes their mission as one to alleviate bear market anxiety during the moribund New Gilded Age—to place beauty in the spatial vacuum of the crash. The project’s first two sites are in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, with two others coming soon: one under the Highline, and another in Times Square—the latter being perhaps the most fitting area for an artistic counter to the bursting economy.

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