Architectural Connections: Feast for the Senses; Macy’s Herald Square

Located at one of Midtown Manhattan’s most visible corners between 34th and 35th Streets on Broadway, Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of Macy’s department store as well as corporate headquarters of Macy’s, Inc.  With a daunting retail space of 2,136,600 square feet spread over 10 floors, Macy’s Herald Square is the largest department store in America.  In 1895, the company, then known as R. H. Macy & Co., was acquired by Bavarian-born Jewish American businessman and  Woodlawn notable Isidor Straus, and and his brother Nathan, who once held a license to sell china and other products in the Macy’s store.

The original portion of Macy’s Herald Square was designed by architects DeLemos & Cordes.  Together they built some of the largest department stores and office buildings in the Empire City,  including  Siegel-Cooper Company on 6th Avenue, the first steel-framed department store in New York City and the biggest store in the world for a time.  Fashionable and flamboyant, the Broadway portion of Macy’s was completed in classic Beaux-Arts and Art Deco.

Macy’s Herald Square was and still is a total sensory experience.  Scents of countless perfumes whisper your name from the cosmetics counters on the first floor.  All eyes dazzle at the giddying gleam of glass by mirrors and colorful displays of merchandise.  The ear rings with the sea of voices, jangling of keys, and music in the air.  Tactile sensation is evoked by fine fabrics, just waiting to be fondled, skimmed, and patted.  The Cellar perks up the tongue with seemingly endless food choices, including imported chocolates.  Like all great department stores, Macy’s Herald Square is a festival of the senses.