The Garment District is a neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, located between Fifth and Ninth Avenues from 34th to 42nd Street. It has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion design and manufacturing in the United States.
The Garment District is the fashion center of New York City. Approximately one square mile in area, the district is bordered by the Javits Convention Center at the extreme west, the New York General Post Office, Penn Station, and Madison Square Garden in the center, and the Empire State Building in the east. The neighborhood is home to the warehouses and workshops of the fashion industry.
Decline of the Industry
Manufacturing in the state of New York - and in New York City in particular - has been fading in recent years. This has been exemplified by the decline of the Garment District. The district has been losing well over a thousand jobs per year. Factories and showrooms are increasingly becoming condos and Starbucks. A number of factors have contributed to the decline, from excessive rents to low overseas wages.
Some organizations have been working to protect the industry, such as "The Fashion Center Business Improvement District" , a not-for-profit corporation established in 1993 to promote the city's apparel industry and to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the Garment District. The Center is funded by the district's property owners and businesses.
Some politicians have also taken up the cause. Candidate for Manhattan Borough President Brian Ellner wrote the following in his blog in August 2004:
We should support a limited development of the Garment District, protecting companies and the jobs struggling to survive - from button makers to fabric cutters to designers - creating new affordable residential and commercial space and pursuing preservation for the area's rich history. And we need to find new industries for the thousands of workers who have already lost their jobs. Fashion manufacturing is one of the main pathways to the middle class for immigrant workers, and we must ensure that other pathways exist.
The history and culture of the Garment District have been remembered with a Fashion Walk of Fame on 7th Avenue, and a sculpture of a sewing worker on the corner of 39th Street and 7th Avenue.
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