City Living: Garment District
Once the textile and fashion hub of New York City, the Garment District is now changing rapidly as more businesses from industries outside of fashion are moving in.
From advertising agencies and architecture firms to creative workspaces, tech, graphic design and lighting companies, the Garment District is now saturated with a new kind of creative buzz.
It is one which Garment District Alliance President, Barbara Randall says makes the area a “very exciting place to be right now.”
“It’s changed dramatically over the last five years,” she said. “It used to be a neighborhood that closed at 6 p.m. and everybody went home. Now with the mix of businesses in the buildings, it goes much later into the evening.”
Randall notes that 146 architectural firms and more than 100 tech companies in addition to advertising agencies like Razorfish and R/GA are attracting an influx of young professionals, new restaurants and bars.
“Over 50% of the tenancy here is non-fashion now,” she said, noting that many of the new tenants are small businesses with anywhere between five and 35 employees.
“It hasn’t been replaced with H&M or The Gap,” Randall said. “As you walk through the streets you’ll see interesting new uses of buildings by more independent companies. And a fair number of folks from the fashion industry are still here.”
Places like M&J Trimming, which has been in the neighborhood since the 1960s and specializes in the sale of ribbons, buttons, crystals and other DIY products still remain along with other bead shops on Sixth Avenue and fashion showrooms and wholesale outlets down the side streets.
Michael J. Cohen, owner of M&J Trimming at 1008 Ave. of the Americas says he likes the transformation.
“It’s still authentic even with the new businesses,” he said. “It’s good for people looking for something offbeat and grounded.”
-- LISA FRASER
Need to Know
The Garment District is located within Midtown South with a little overlap in Midtown West. It extends from 34th/35th to 41st/42nd streets, depending on who you talk to. From east to west it sits between Fifth/Sixth and Ninth Avenues. More »
1, 2, 3 to 34th Street-Penn Station and Times Square-42nd Street; A, C, E to 34th Street-Penn Station and 42nd Street-Port Authority; B, D, F, M to 34th Street-Herald Square and 42nd Street-Bryant Park; N, Q, R to 34th Street- Herald Square and Times Square-42nd Street; LIRR to 34th Street-Penn Station More »
M2, M3, M4, M5, M7, M11, M20, M34A, M42, M104 More »
The closest library to the Garment District is the historic New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and the Mid-Manhattan Library at 455 Fifth Ave. More »
USPS, 223 W. 38th St., 212-819-9604 More »
The Garment District is covered by the Midtown South Precinct at 357 W. 35th St. According to the NYPD’s CompStat report, historically burglary, robbery and grand larceny auto complaints decreased significantly from 1990 to 2012. In 1990 there were 4,227 robbery, 3,513 burglary and 612 grand larceny auto reports to the precinct, compared to 183, 315 and 18 in 2012, respectively. For the week of Nov. 25, 2013 through Dec. 1, 2013, there were 12 misdemeanor assaults reported, compared to six in the same week last year. More »
The Hudson Bond
Part of one of the destination dining spots of the Garment District, The Hudson Bond offers dishes like Crème Brulee French Toast and grilled salmon nicoise for Sunday brunch. Or opt for tacos and Jamaican Jerk chicken anytime during the day.
Andrew’s Coffee Shop
This family-owned restaurant has been in business since 1964. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days of the week.
Mmm … Enfes
Traditional Turkish street food is served up at this small Garment District hotspot. Dishes range from beef and chicken gozlemes to sigara boreks and simits.
The Skylark Rooftop Bar
The only access being through a building’s freight elevator entrance, one wouldn’t expect this chic 30th-floor space to offer panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and a close-up view of the Empire State Building and the New Years Eve ball. But it does. Specialty cocktails include the New York State of Mind and the Black Walnut Manhattan.
Refinery Hotel Rooftop Bar and Lounge
This newly opened rooftop bar at the Refinery Hotel is a mix of industrial and elegant as it retains some of the features of the building’s old purpose as a millinery factory while blending modern design. Majestic skyline views also await the happy hour crowd.
Houndstooth Pub is a 6,800 square-foot space offering three levels to party, drink and indulge in some grub.
The experienced or novice DIY design types could indulge in a vast selection of ribbons, Swarovski crystals, rhinestones, buttons and ribbons. The bridal salon also offers veils and headpieces.
Robbie & Company Men’s Shop
At this boutique, tailored suits, dress shirts, sports coats await the stylish man or a trendy groomsmen party.
This family-owned fabric store has been in the Garment District for over 40 years. Their variety of fabrics such as silk, linens and woolens are appropriate for purposes ranging form clothing to home décor and theatrical set designs.
The two-hour tour is led by self-proclaimed “garmento,” Michael Kaback. He leads visitors down memory lane of the Garment District’s heyday filled with anecdotes of his more than 35-years experience in the garment industry. More »
This members-only workspace opened a new branch in the Garment District in July. For $35 a day or $500 a month, creative types in the fashion, tech or advertising industries can utilize the space to work on projects. The space also hosts a free monthly speaker series named Rethink, held every second Tuesday.
Chashama’s Garment District location hosts multiple exhibits and performances of local artists year-round.