From Rags to a Two-Bedroom in the Garment District

The Garment District, Manhattan’s historic center of haberdashery and hosiery, has seen threats from outsourcing, hotels and office developers, all undermining its manufacturing roots. Now, courtesy The Times “Living In” column, comes word of a stealth invasion from apartment dwellers, as well, whose numbers have risen to a still small 6,000 units, though this is also at a time that the fashion industry’s employment has fallen more than 60 percent over the past 50 years.

For the lucky few who found a place early, it meant the kind of deals that New Yorkers can only now dream about.

One of these is Myra Mann, a retired fashion buyer. In 1960 she moved to a building on 34th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, surrounded by high-rises; she says that cluster of buildings was then home to many in her field.

The rent on her first apartment there was $52 a month. She now owns a two-bedroom, from two combined units, at the same address. The apartment cost her a total of $248,000 – she bought the first unit in 1984 and the second in 2004 – though it might fetch $800,000 today, she guesses.

Mind you, The Observer has taken note of this trend, as well, but once an area gets its “Living In” column, you know the transformation is almost complete.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo

From Rags to a Two-Bedroom in the Garment District