Centering on 7th Avenue in the mid-30s is the Garment District, now sporting the more tony “Fashion Center” label (www.fashioncenter.com ). Once stretching roughly between 5th and 9th Avenues, 25th and 42nd Streets, the district—like the American garment industry itself—has shrunk considerably in recent years.
Now it reaches only between 34th and 42nd Streets, and is currently being threatened by real estate developers and rising rents. Nonetheless, for now, this is still the country’s largest clothing-manufacturing district and constitutes an important part of New York’s economy. About $10 billion a year in clothing is designed, cut, and sewn here.
Visiting the Garment District on a weekday morning you’ll see long lines of double-parked trucks, workers wheeling clothing racks, and young fashion assistants hustling to and fro with large boxes and bags. The industry’s showrooms are closed to the public, but you can get a good sense of the place just by wandering the streets.
Especially interesting are the many millinery, trimming, and fabric outlets—most catering to the trade only—along 37th and 38th Streets.