Manhattan’s Districts – Today Featuring The Garment District

6 Nov

Manhattan is made up of little neighborhoods.

It always seems almost “small town” to me, in a funny way.

Your UPS driver passes you on the sidewalk, and waves. The bodega owner smiles out the window at you from his counter. The fish monger knows you, as does the wine store clerk.

Maybe it’s like that everywhere. But, I’ll bet people don’t often think of New York City in this way.

Here’s a great map of Manhattan’s neighborhoods, that I found on Wikipedia:

You may notice on the map, that some areas are called Districts.

Manhattan has neighborhoods, and it has districts.

You’ve heard of The Financial District. You’ve probably heard of The Diamond District. There’s The Meatpacking District, The Flower District, The Garment District.

The Flatiron neighborhood is also known as The Photo District. You need photo supplies? This area has the highest concentration of photo studios and photo supply stores in the city.

The Bowery, below Houston Street is known as The Restaurant Supply District. You need an industrial-sized blender? This should be your destination.

In the market for a guitar? Head to Music Row.

It’s pretty darned cool!

Sadly, many of these areas are being gentrified out of existence.

There used to be Radio Row.

From Wikipedia:

New York’s Radio Row (1921–1966) was a warehouse district on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, New York City. Harry Schneck opened City Radio on Cortlandt Street in 1921, creating Radio Row. Radio Row was torn down in 1966 to make room for the World Trade Center. It held several blocks of electronics stores, with Cortlandt Street as its central axis . The used radios, war surplus electronics, junk, and parts often piled so high they would spill out onto the street, attracting collectors and scroungers. According to a business writer, it also was the origin of the electronic component distribution business.”

And, here’s a photo from the great Bernice Abbott that Wikipedia has on its site. Radio Row in 1936:

So sadly, Book Row is gone – The Stand Bookstore is the only bookstore left in the area. From their website:

In 1927, Ben Bass opened Strand Book Store on Fourth Avenue, home of New York’s legendary Book Row. Named after the famous publishing street in London, the Strand was one of 48 bookstores on Book Row, which started in the 1890’s and ran from Union Square to Astor Place. Today, the Strand is the sole survivor.”

Hubby and I live very close to The Garment District. And it’s still thriving.

Wikipedia says:

The dense concentration of fashion-related uses give the neighborhood, which is generally considered to span between Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd Street, its moniker. The Garment District has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion manufacturing and fashion design in the United States, and even the world.

Less than one square mile in area, the neighborhood is home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and to numerous major fashion labels, and caters to all aspects of the fashion process–from design and production to wholesale selling. No other city has a comparable concentration of fashion businesses and talent in a single district.”

The other day, I wanted to find a patch for a hole in my jacket pocket. What to do?

I of course headed over to 39th Street and 7th Avenue.

There are a couple of nice tributes there to The Garment District.

I love this giant needle and button!

And, this statue of a garment worker is very moving.

The street itself looks at first glance like a very ordinary street.

But once you start walking down the sidewalk, you notice that just about every store is a fabric store, or a trimmings store.

In no particular order, here are the windows of a few of them:

There are probably 30 or more fabric stores on this one block alone!

How do you make up your mind which one to enter??

Well, I had previously found this one, by complete accident one day. I looked at the window, and simply HAD to go in to look around.

It’s Top Trimmings, and I think I’m in love.

And, I’m not even a sewer!

I think when a real sewer enters this place for the first time, she’ll think she’s died and gone to Heaven.

This store has absolutely everything you can dream of (2 floors!).



Beads and Buttons

Boas and Necklaces

This place must do a killing in the weeks before Halloween!

Did I find a cute patch for my jacket?

You betcha.

Now, I can’t WAIT to go to The Diamond District to photograph it for you!

Oh, how I love New York!





2 Responses to “Manhattan’s Districts – Today Featuring The Garment District”

  1. margiesmom November 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    *pleasant sigh* You did my favorite district first – thank you!! I worked for Oxford Industries, Inc., two different times. ’83-’89 the first round and ’93-’99 (ooohhhh…I just noticed that pattern…pardon the pun LOL) the second time. I love Oxford. They are an apparel manufacturer headquartered in downtown Atlanta (where I worked). One of their offices was (maybe still is?) at 1001 Avenue of the Americas, or, 6th Avenue. Right there in the Garment District. I LOVED visiting there, which I did, many times. They also had (still have?) an office in Rockefeller Center and a showroom there, where I spent many hours with a personal shopper wheeling out racks of clothes from whicn I could pick and choose to my heart’s desire. Oxford was so wonderful, you could buy anything they made at COST and have it put on a personal account – payments on account made from payroll deductions. It was AWESOME! The first time I visited all of the New York offices, I was 22 and knew I had found my place in the corporate world. Even though I left Oxford, twice now, it is always ‘home’ to me. Thank you for the tour of the shops – I would go NUTS in those fabric stores. Best to keep me away 😉

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