New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Garment District

New York City's population size and Manhattan's density has given rise to something unique - business districts. I've put together a list - diamond, flower, lighting, restaurant supply, photo, meatpacking, financial, fur and the garment districts. I am distinguishing these from residential neighborhoods as they are primarily business to business vendors. Most smaller cities have, perhaps, a downtown business district, but here we have concentrations of suppliers to specific industries occupying substantial geographical areas. The now defunct sewing machine district, e.g., used to occupy the city blocks between 24th and 27th streets between 6th and 7th Avenues - on some blocks, virtually every retail space was occupied by a sewing machine dealer. Today's photo was taken in the Garment District - an area located roughly between 34th and 42nd Streets from 6th and 9th Avenues. The dominance of NYC in this industry goes back to production of clothing for slave owners of Southern plantations. With the invention of the sewing machine in the 1850s, production of clothing became industrialized, with NYC as center. Although garment manufacturing in Manhattan has declined, there are still many small sewing manufacturers in this district (and Chinatown). The area is now dominated by fabric and notions wholesalers, clothing designers and showrooms. New York City is the center of fashion in the United States with names like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, Betsy Johnson located here. We are home to trade shows and Fashion Week - a major annual industry event. The area is sometimes referred to as the Fashion District (there is a Fashion District information kiosk at 39th and 7th with a huge sculpture of a needle threading a button). Interesting note - many are puzzled by the fact that competitors will cluster together, as dramatically demonstrated by NYC districts. This counter intuitive phenomenon is explained by Nash Equilibrium and Hotelling' s Law ...

6 comments:

Neva said...

You really capture the essence of what I think of New York...busy, busy , busy, and unique.

Lucy said...

very surprising and interesting information that the garment industry in NYC started to service the slave owners of the south, I had no idea...

Brian said...

I had no idea either that the garment industry started this way.
Brian

Jeremy said...

YES Brian .. many are puzzled by the fact that competitors will cluster together .. but for anyone who has travelled thru such places as Viet Nam ... especially Hanoi .. you will find businesses grouped in categories ... makes it much easier shopping if your just after, say, shoes or pots for eample .. rgds

Abraham Lincoln said...

Nice photo and great reading, Brian.

My wife, Patty, and I have been married for 52 years today. Imagine that.
52 married years

monika n. said...

Thanks for the info about the connection of the garment district/slave owners. I, too, am one who had no idea. I'm quite fond of the area there. We stayed on 8th/28th during our one month stay last year. I guess that would be the flower district. Or something like that.

Here in Tokyo, we do have the *Textile Town* in downtown Nippori where one can find all kind of nice old kimonos. Cheaply! Another district that pops to mind is Kappabashi, a haven for restaurant/kitchen ware. A little paradise and quite interesting. Both were originally *wholesale places*.