Retail & Hospitality

Around the turn of the century, R. H. Macy & Co. built an Art Deco style flagship store on the corner of 34th Street and Broadway. With the further additions of Saks 34th Street (which later opened a branch on Fifth Avenue), and the department store Gimbels, 34th Street became a prime retail destination. Hotels soon followed with the construction of the Martinique (in three phases from 1897-1911), The McAlpin (1912), the Pennsylvania (1919), the New Yorker (1929), and the original Waldorf-Astoria on Fifth Avenue at 34th Street (1930).

Built on top of the 34th Waldorf-Astoria hotel in 1931, the Empire State Building was the world's tallest skyscraper for forty years, until the twin towers of the World Trade Center were built in 1971. Through the 1960s, 34th Street continued to draw crowds of shoppers and tourists. However, an increase in criminal activity in the 1970s and 1980s led to the closure of many department stores and hotels. Regardless, the district remained a transportation hub and tourist destination.