Downtown Brooklyn

Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn Stages Grand Reopening With Pomp and Circumstance

November 13, 2018 Andy Katz
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Venerable Fulton Street retailer adds light and space and style after three-year renovation

The moment Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette, Macy’s Downtown Store Manager Kizzie Tunson and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce COO Rick Russo cut the red ribbon, a flood of eager shoppers filled the venerable Fulton Mall retailer’s renovated main floor.

Led by the Soul Tigers Marching Band, the first 100 customers were presented with $10 gift cards by store staff, while Macy’s executives stood nearby, beaming like proud parents showing off their newborn.

“The renovation of Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn illustrates our firm commitment to the Fulton Street retail community and our loyal customers,” said Tunson. “We are proud to present our customers with an updated store environment, enhanced merchandise offerings, and an elevated level of customer service.”

The Fri., Nov. 9 ribbon-cutting capped a three year, top-to-bottom renovation aimed at opening up spaces that had previously seemed dark and slightly claustrophobic when compared to Macy’s flagship Herald Square store.

Elevations in some of the floors have been removed, creating a unified level surface throughout. The sense one might have had in the past of Macy’s Fulton being comprised of separate retail outlets under one roof is gone.

In fact, viewing the main sales floor from the Fulton Street entrance, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the Downtown Brooklyn and Herald Square locations, at least at first blush.

“We want our customers to be able to focus on the shopping experience,” said Emily Hawkins, Macy’s media relations director.

In 2015, Tishman Speyer purchased the building at 422 Fulton Street with plans to transform the upper five floors into offices for tech and creative businesses. Macy’s retains the lower four stories, affording some 278,000 square feet for retail operations.

A Fulton Street fixture since 1865, Macy’s Downtown began as Abraham and Straus, the latter representing the Straus brothers, Isidor and Nathan, who had also acquired ownership of R.H. Macy.

In 1928, A&S underwent a massive expansion of 422 Fulton, including excavating a new basement. Its grand reopening took place just 10 days before Black Thursday, when Wall Street crashed. Economizing by putting employees on commission, A&S weathered the Great Depression without laying off a single worker.

The current Art-Deco façade along Fulton Street was completed in 1929.

Photo by Kent Miller

According to published reports, Macy’s strategic vision for the Downtown Brooklyn store includes establishing a fashion hub that will serve neighborhoods from Manhattan Beach to DUMBO.

Brands such as DKNY, Patricia Nash, Brahmin and Radley fill the main floor. The cosmetics department has been expanded to 18,000 square feet, featuring Dior, Bobby Brown, Kiehl’s, Urban Decay, NYX, IT and Juicy Couture.

The lower level is dedicated to furniture and home goods; menswear occupies the second floor—with a big and tall department for good measure, women’s ready-to-wear fills the third, and the fourth floor rounds out with children’s clothing, intimate apparel and outerwear.

In addition to Starbucks, a LensCrafters has been added to the main floor, near the Livingston Street entrance.

Now that the Downtown Brooklyn Macy’s is every bit as bright and spacious as the Herald Square flagship, only time will tell if it draws the crowds for which 34th Street is renowned.

For the moment, it seems as though the chance to browse unimpeded by mobs of tourists will be one few Brooklyn residents will willingly pass up.

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