When he first took the job of president of the Times Square Alliance in 2002, Tim Tompkins had heard a persistent complaint from those who worked and lived in the neighborhood: The retail options stunk, composed mainly of the remnants of tourist-only shops that sold New York-branded T-shirts and similarly hokey knick-knacks. In short, the retail scene in the The Crossroads of the World was slow to catch up with the rapidly shifting residential and office demographics of the Times Square and Hells Kitchen neighborhoods.
“If you think about it, 15 years ago you didn’t have Ernst & Young, didn’t have Reuters, didn’t have Condé Nast; the Viacom building was filled with government agencies, and you didn’t have the 11 Times Square building across from the Port Authority,” Mr. Tompkins said. Then those businesses arrived, and suddenly the need for an “I (heart) New York” T-shirt was quickly being replaced with a need for everyday goods, like cosmetics and regular apparel.
“Part of what we did is we realized there was this enormous untapped spending potential for all the people who are working in these buildings,” Mr. Tompkins said.