Group 2 Created with Sketch.


Group 2 Created with Sketch.
2024-03-19 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine Welcome to the Leica-verse

Welcome to the Leica-verse

Inside Leica's new flagship store in the Meatpacking District
Photo courtesy of Leica

“Shooting with a Leica is like a long tender kiss, like firing an automatic pistol, like an hour on the analysist’s couch,” photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once declared. Now aspiring Cartier-Bressons have a physical place where they can immerse themselves in all those emotions and more: the legendary German-made camera brand has finally opened its first New York flagship.

Leica has spent over two years (and a lot of money) re-imagining a historic warehouse on West 13th street (a short walk from the Whitney Museum) into an emporium for its enviable cameras, TVs, and watches, but also a gathering place for the creative class. Andy Warhol would have felt right at home.

Photo courtesy of Leica

When searching for Leica’s new digs, Mike Giannattasio, the brand’s North American President, was adamant that it be a large space with lots of natural light. They decided the Meatpacking District was the perfect location. The company worked closely with German architectural firm Roush, designing different areas where they played with light, shadows, and tone — all elements that resonate with photographers. Like Warhol’s Factory, Leica’s goal was to have a clubhouse where creatives and anyone interested in photography, art, and culture could form a sense of community. “Whether you’re buying a Leica or shooting with another camera, it doesn’t matter. We just want people to feel at home and explore,” Giannattasio told Avenue.

In the sweeping space, the brand showcases not only its latest and greatest, but also has an entire section of vintage (and often rare) pieces, which is important to the company’s philosophy. Their cameras, like Rolex watches, are highly collectible and sought-after, and rarely lose their value. For people who can’t afford a new Leica, says Giannattasio, getting into the brand through a pre-owned camera is a great way to join the Leica-verse. There are also the special edition products designed with creative partners like Hermes and celebrities, like the musician Seal. “Seal is an avid photographer and lover of the brand,” Giannattasio adds. “This brand is all about our customers. If we could only do in politics what Leica does with our customers, we’d be in such a better place.”

The store’s first photo exhibit, “Love & Laughter,” celebrating the work of Elliot Irwin
Photo courtesy of Leica

Spread out over multiple levels are an in-store service center with a technician who will fix your camera or work alongside you in a state-of-the-art, forced-air, dustless room. There are private spaces for VIPs, and open spaces to socialize, participate in workshops, and explore Leica’s extensive library. There is also a permanent in-house gallery run by the esteemed art expert Michael Foley, who is curating shows throughout the year. Running through the end of May is the gallery’s first show of Elliot Irwin titled “Love & Laughter.” Foley says he’s looking forward to showcasing more of the world’s best photographers including Ralph Gibson, Bruce Davidson, and Bruce Gilden.  

For a complete listing of all gallery shows, guest speakers, and workshops through the Leica Akademie,  visit their website.

Recommended for You
Sign up to AVENUE Weekly
© 2024 Cohen Media Publications LLC. All rights reserved.