Macy’s Department Store – Herald Square // 1902

Thanksgiving in the days of Covid-19 will be different in more ways than one. A notable loss will be the absence of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, which has been a national pastime broadcast on televisions for millions of Americans every year. The six-mile route through the city, giant balloons and all, would end at Macy’s Herald Square, the flagship store of the department store chain. The building (one of the largest stores in the world) was completed in 1902 and its 2.5 million square feet of space, occupy an entire city block. The building was designed by Interestingly, in 1900, a small five-story building on the corner of 35th and Seventh was purchased by Robert H. Smith in 1900 for $375,000 ($11.5 million today). The idea had been to obstruct Macy’s from becoming the largest store in the world. It is largely supposed that Smith, was acting on behalf of Siegel-Cooper, which had built what they thought was the world’s largest store nearby in 1896. Macy’s ignored the tactic and built around the building, which now carries Macy’s “shopping bag” sign by lease arrangement! Oh, and Macy’s even hired the same architect for their department store that Siegel-Cooper used for their building, Theodore de Lemos, adding insult to injury. A great example of a spite building!

1908 image of Macy’s Herald Square courtesy of LOC.

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