I recently hopped onto a train and went to New York City for some errands. One ‘errand’ was to check out the garment district, which I hadn’t been to since my youth. My mother and I took a few excursions to NYC when I was growing up. We were walkers. Inevitably, we would stumble into the garment district. How could we not? It is so close to Penn Station. However, as there were fabric stores with good quality fabric seemingly everywhere at the time and without the street crowds, we never went into the district and shopped. In those days, yes…the 60’s and 70’s, one glance down the street and there was clearly no room for non-garment related people. The sidewalks and streets, yes streets, were filled with people and garment racks moving between buildings. This area was an active, alive, working garment district. And while there surely are some designers and perhaps mock up businesses here now, I doubt there is any manufacturing happening. Today, those garment racks are long gone. Just given the fact I was able to stroll through the streets, as best one can stroll on NYC sidewalks, clearly there is not a lot going on related to garment making. There are still some fabric stores, which from what I can tell, cater to costume designers for Broadway. I did find one store with some high quality wool, which is something I haven’t found at home. Nonetheless, I was just perusing. I really wish at least some manufacturing was still in city…or in country…but I understand. What I can’t understand is why a sewer has such a difficult time finding high quality garment fabrics anymore?
I’m kind of surprised at this sculpture, but it is likely my ignorance. I always thought the machine workers were women. Think Triangle Factory fire. Why a man? Would someone who knows please enlighten me? There was also a large needle and button next to and hovering over this sewer. Unfortunately, I can’t get the photograph to upload. I’ll try again later.
We also went to B & H to peruse this wonderfully huge camera, etc. store. Ironically, I did not take any photographs.
This trip was our Christmas present to each other: roundtrip first class on the Acela, camera shop, and fabric stores. We also checked out the public library. It was a lovely and relaxing day. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy Quilting!
Enjoyed this post. I remember those racks of garments flying all around – it was a sight to see. And, my mother worked many years in factories making shirts, dresses, and then high end children’s clothes. One dozen collars attached = $.20. I never saw any men file out of the building after a long day. 🙂
Thanks Judy. Wow, only 20 cents.
I, too, think of garment workers as women, although a lot of tailors around here are immigrant men.
I haven’t gone shopping in Chinatown in Boston, where there used to be a ton of fabric stores. When I learned to sew at age 12, that was the only place I knew to shop for fabric, and it was all discounted. I do know Windsor Button Shop closed down a year or so ago.
Last I knew Winmil was still in Chinatown and one more, I think. But now, even they seem to be hit or miss. Winmil can have some nice woolens.