Warner Bros. announced today that the world’s first official Harry Potter flagship store will be coming to the Flatiron District this summer. Located next to the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway near E. 22nd Street, the Wizarding World store will house "the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world under one roof with everything from personalized robes and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to a brand-new range of house wands..." There will also be design exclusives for the NYC outpost.
But there could be one wee problem: the local community board subcommittee rejected the initial design of the store (which accompanied today's announcement). Read on for more about Harry's adventures with the local landmarks committee in Harry Potter & The Cursed Flagship Store.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Warner Bros. Entertainment presented its designs for the store on Tuesday evening to Community Board 5's landmarks committee, and were promptly told to go back to the drawing board, or whatever the YA fantasy version of a drawing board is (I'm going to assume it is a wizarding board). Members of the committee called the signage "inappropriate," referring to the fiberglass dragon with clock (see photo above) and six “wand-style” flagpoles made out of antique brass which would be added to the building’s facade.
“Flagpoles are a big no-no,” Layla Law-Gisiko, chair of the committee, reportedly said. “If Harry Potter can put a dragon, then Nike can put a shoe, then the bakery down the block could put a croissant, and then where do you stop?”
The 20,000-square-foot building, which was built in the 1860s, formerly housed a Restoration Hardware store. The building has made the landmark list because, according to the Post, it is "one of the first places in the Flatiron District that was built only for commercial use."
The proposal also included adding a service window on Broadway for concessions and a future sidewalk cafe, as the store plans on offering Potter-themed food and drinks.
The committee voted unanimously to deny the request; the proposal will next go before the full community board on January 16th, before being sent to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has the final approval.
We've reached out to Warner Bros. for comment about the status of the store.
But it seems likely that there will be some changes to the plans before it reaches the LPC. In the very bold press announcement about the new store—which, again, came out AFTER the proposal was rejected—there is a note reading, "store imagery is not final and subject to change." Only a foolish muggle would stand in the way of a place where "Harry Potter enthusiasts can engage with interactive experiences and numerous photo opportunities as they step into the magic."