Herald Square


Photo: Thomas Rafael

"Give my regards to Broadway; remember me to Herald Square..." These lyrics by George Cohan memorialize the intersection of 6th Avenue and 34th Street as "Herald Square," named after the one-time newspaper offices of the New York Herald. Today, Herald Square is a retail hub. Just a few blocks from Penn Station, and easily accessible by an endless variety of transportation, Herald Square offers endless opportunities for shopping. The most obvious candidate is the famous Macy's Department store, said to be the largest department store in the country. You can buy everything from furniture to cookware to more clothes than you can wear in a lifetime there. At Christmas, the store transforms itself into a winter wonderland offering photos with Santa and his elves, and festively themed window decor; in Spring, the annual Flower Show turns the store into a greenhouse. And, of course, Macy's plays its best-known role at Thanksgiving, as sponsor of the annual parade.

Macy's is far from the only store in the area though - a few blocks south is the Manhattan Mall, one of the only attempts Manhattan makes at anything resembling a suburban mall. It has the usual suspect chain stores, a food court, and not much in the way of ambiance. It is, however, right above the 34th Street train station, making it easily accessible on the way to or from work. Along 34th Street, between 5th and 8th Avenues, you'll find every kind of store imaginable. At the corner of 34th and 6th Avenue, opposite Macy's you'll find a large-scale Gap and Victoria's Secret; you can also find an Old Navy, Banana Republic, Aldo Shoes, Payless Shoes, Le Chateau, American Eagle Outfitters, H&M, Baker's Shoes, Express, and an Ann Taylor Loft, just to name a few. In between the well-known names, you'll also find a few independent shops, but this stretch of street is mostly owned by chain stores who can afford the rent space. Towards 8th Avenue, you'll find one of the city's only two K-mart stores, and interspersed among the shops you'll find restaurants, too.

Herald Square is constantly buzzing with people. Many are tourists, come to shop and gaze at the block-long Macy's. Along 34th Street, you'll find an ever-changing series of vendors - offering everything from jewelry to cell phone cases, roasted nuts to hand-made artwork -- to the crowds who come to this shopping mecca. If you've come to give your regards to Herald Square, bear in mind that it's hard to make it a short trip -- leave yourself lots of time to hit all the shops, and you might want to be sure that you save enough money to take yourself and your many new purchases home.

Molly O'Neill