The stretch of Eighth Street between 5th and 6th avenues has long been populated by cheesy shoe stores and other seedy establishments, and local media outlets have long looked to the "what the hell is up with Eighth Street?" story as a reliable chestnut during a slow news week. The Times takes the bait today, reporting that the street's landlords would like to bring more restaurants to the block to replace the now-empty storefronts. As much as we'd like see a nice boite or two to complement Gray's Papaya on the corner, we fear that the strategy may be a bit misguided:

Although landlords may be hoping that West Eighth Street's fortunes turn around quickly, Mr. Lagnese is taking a more long-run view. The transformation of the meatpacking district, a once-gritty Manhattan industrial neighborhood that is now flush with hip restaurants, did not happen overnight, he said.

"Nothing was there," Mr. Lagnese said. "Now you go there at night, and it's a wonderland."

We suppose that's one way of looking at it.

The Street of Shoes Waits for the Right Kind of Restaurants [NYT]