The Macy – Webster Connection

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Macy’s, the world’s largest department store, is located at 34th Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway.  Webster is at 34th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. But our connection exceeds geography.

In 1858, Mr. R.H. Macy opened his first store on the corner of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue.  After a quiet first day when his sales totaled $11.06, the store went on to succeed quite well and over the years, expanded to the 11 adjacent buildings.  In 1902, needing even more room, Macy’s moved to its current location.  It now has over a million square feet of retail space.  It can be a little overwhelming!

Macy’s plays a big role in New York’s Holidays.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a “must see” with its giant balloons floating down Central Park West to Herald Square.  The store is transformed with over 30,000 fragrant blossoms during the Spring Flower Show and is the place to go for a picture on Santa’s lap in December.   And when night falls on Independence Day, July 4th, Macy’s sponsors New York’s spectacular fireworks display.

But what does this have to do with Webster?  As it turns out, a lot!

Charles and Josiah Webster, our benefactors, were sons of Josiah L. Webster, a dry goods merchant.  The brothers came to New York City in 1876 and became associated with R. H. Macy.  Charles was a Senior Partner in Macy’s from 1876 to 1889 and maintained an office at the Department Store until his death on March 16, 1916.   It was at Macy’s that the Charles made the fortune that enabled him to bequeath a generous sum to build a residence for working women.  In fact, Charles’ will states “I request the directors…to purchase…a plot of ground in the vicinity of the large retail stores in the Borough of Manhattan.”

In 1923 when the Webster Apartments opened, there were between 30 and 40 sales clerks from Macy’s alone living here.  In 1935 there were 84 sales clerks from all stores.

We are proud of this connection and love our 34th Street location!  It’s so easy to walk our Macy’s shopping bags home!