7. The Garment District

The Garment District occupies one square mile between 35th & 40th Street west of 5th Avenue. New York is known as one of the world’s fashion capitals so it makes sense that it has a vibrant Garment Center. In the 1950’s, factories in this district made 95% of the clothing sold in the U.S. and employed over 200,000 people, now it makes 3% and employs about 21,000 people.

The Garment Center still houses many garment businesses, showrooms and retail stores, but the area saw a steep decline in garment manufacturing due to outsourcing of manufacturing overseas, leading to the City designating the area as a Special Zoning District. However, the encroachment of luxury hotels and spillover businesses from Times Square are pushing out many of the garment businesses.

Rising real estate costs, the influx of national chains and changing shopping habits and demographics have all had a devastating impact on these unique districts. Most of them are gone leaving behind a blank slate for the developers to come in and put up condos, bank branches and national chain stores. In their wake the city is less diverse, less exciting and a less special place. The scale and variety of these districts added to the character of the city, regardless if you’ve ever bought an instrument on Music Row, or a Plant in the Plant district, you knew they were there.

New York is defined by its neighborhoods and districts; it is what helped make New York into a place that has drawn the best and brightest from around the world to visit, live, work and play here. If we continue on our current path to a corporate, banal and generic future, New York will be indistinguishable from other places.

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5 thoughts on “8 Disappearing Districts And Neighborhoods of NYC

  1. I agree with seven of your eight examples, but Shoe Row? You’re comparing that pestilence to the Fulton Fish Market and the Garment District? Eighth Street was a perfectly nice thoroughfare with a variety of retail stores and cafes until Shoe Row, as you call it, turned the street into a mini version of West 34 Street. It wasn’t a district so much as a blight. I haven’t walked along that street in years but I’m glad to hear “Most of the shoe businesses have left due to rising rents and lack of customers.” The loss of the Printing District in Soho would have been a better choice, as it was a genuine, albeit inevitable, loss.

  2. South Street Seaport has been destroyed by the greed of the real estate industry and the Bill Deblasio. From the tearing down of the Pathmark and allowing a building that does not fit into the neighborhood is deplorable. From the lifting the deed restrictions on a healthcare building to allow a greedy developer to take it and build unaffordable housing is ridiculous. The causes of these issues stems from REBNY who has bought off every single politician. But, the other issue is the novices in city hall like James Patchett, Dominik Williams and Emma Wolf who’s previous experience is lacky’s for Deblasio, who have never experienced a real estate deal in their lives.

    1. Bill DeBlasio had nothing to do with the loss of the South Street Seaport. This was accomplished over 10 years ago when EDC took control of the area. It was aided and abetted by many local interests including CB1 who did not fight for a historical presence instead of the replacement monstrosity on Pier 15.
      There is no point whatsoever in fudging facts for the purpose of political points.

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