Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ghosts of the Garment district

Everything must change. 

I assure you, that although it will seem so, this is not a sad post. Not sad at all.  This is progress. The death knell is tolling for many in the garment district for sure, but it is summoning the strongest businesses to resurrect and reinvent themselves.

New construction encroaches upon old buildings... luxury high-rises push others out...

And Lou Lou Buttons... the sign remains, and the storefront sits empty now, but the shuttered business is gone...  

10/14/15 - Update!  Not gone... but definitely at half-mast these days. Click here to see a recent update.  They were sidelined by a recent flood, and when I've walked past recently, I haven't seen them open, but I have been assured that they are...

And, it affects all types of businesses in the area, not just the garment-related.

And the rents push businesses out, victims of skyrocketing rents

And what will the Parsons building (below) become?  A luxury hotel, apparently... Read the NY Times article that chronicles the building's history, and you will be amazed.  See Tim Gunn's tour on Project Runway here.

Parsons School of Design building - soon to be torn down...

So, what are the resilient garment district businesses doing?  Stay tuned for the next series of posts, and I will share my perspective with you...


  1. I now work two blocks from Lou Lou Buttons old store and today just saw that they are no longer there. However when I worked on this exact same block 15 years ago (can't believe its been that long!) things looked totally different so I'm not surprised that Lou Lou's is gone. However I am saddened by it. And what's with all the bead stores?!

    1. Yeah!!!! What in the world is with all of these beads? What are people doing??? Bead stores make me feel nervous and overwhelmed in general, so the fact that they seem to be multiplying weirds me out...

  2. The bead stores aren't really multiplying. We actually lost a few in recent years, and others are moving around a bit. Beads World -- now on 38th; used to be Broadway/38th. Bead Center NY -- used to have a smaller store up the street, other side. Bead Empire -- gone from 6th. Fun2Bead & Bead Max, still there on 6th. (All 4 of those bead stores used to be beside each other in the 38th/39th block of 6th. Bead Max is under nice new ownership, and prices are still good.) City Beads a.k.a. Phoenix Beads for awhile -- gone from 37th. Suma Beads, Stone Int'l, and Exquisite Gems -- still on 37th, last I looked. Toho Shoji still there on 6th (thank goodness). So lost some, moved some, up-scaled one. The "Bead District" is hanging in there. I use their supplies ALL the time when sewing. They have every metal finding I need & can't get elsewhere. I made a bracelet over the weekend with metal from Fun2Bead & twill tape from Purl Soho. Have 2 more sewing-related jewelry projects sitting on the drawing board this morning, using Toho Shoji supplies. Mimi, next time I'm in the city, you & I need a date at a bead store, so I can get you over your fear of shopping! The stores are very organized, and you'll be amazed at what you can find that fits perfectly into sewing projects. Chain, anyone? -- Barbara

  3. It's on! :)



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