Most people are not too fussed that retail giant Macy’s will be returning to the Big Apple’s lower west side for the first time in 25 years.
“Macy’s will make a big difference in the community,” said Nikki Taylor, the manager of Dupont Espresso, a two-store coffee shop in West Village.
The absence of the department store, however, has had a real effect on the neighbourhood.
“As far as tourists go, we have been without a retail presence in the neighborhood since 1992,” Taylor told BBC World Service’s Emma Kisses.
When it left New York nearly two decades ago, Macy’s moved across the river into New Jersey. Most of its west side employees either moved across the river or settled in Sunnyside, a borough next to Queens.
“One hundred fifty employees ended up leaving Sunnyside and Westchester where they used to work to go back to Queens,” said Lidya Kassis, a community liaison for New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The problem of what to do with the empty spaces is an ongoing issue for communities across the city.
At the very least, many businesses have ended up on the overground elevated tracks, which run in the path of the city’s rapid mass transit expansion, so as to keep some of the malls in place.
Macy’s experience proves that when the business moves, it can leave lasting if positive impacts on the neighbourhood go unnoticed.