Street Buzz: Then and Now

BY and


Photo: Flint Construction


Photo: Anna Irrera








In the last decade, as overseas outsourcing of garment production increased, orders shrank and landlords raised rents, many garment manufacturing companies ran out of business or moved out of the District.

“When I moved to this building in 2000, garment manufacturers occupied 18 floors of the building, and belt manufacturers occupied two,” said Terry Schwartz, owner of Sherry accessories, a belt manufacturing company.

What used to be Venus Belts on the 11th floor is now Flintlock Construction Services, an open-shop general contractor, constructing hotels, multifamily residential and commercial buildings, with a current annual volume of $65,000,000-$75,000,000.

Photo: AP

Photo: Anna Irrera

Photo: Anna Irrera









The building at 255 West 36th St. hosts around 60 companies. It was once entirely occupied by garment businesses.

“There are about three garment companies left in the building and the 8th floor is split up in very small offices”, said Michael Beyder, security guard.

“In 2000 my rent was increased from $5800 to $18,500 per month”, recalled Terry Schwartz who moved his factory from 255 West 36th Street to 580 8th Avenue. In the past decade rent throughout the Garment District has nearly doubled. “On 36th street in 2000, I paid $5800 per month for 7800 sq. ft. On 8th avenue, I now pay $5209 for 3300 gross ft, which are really 2200 sq. ft,” Schwartz said.

“All the manufacturers were forced out as their lease expired.” he concluded.

Photo: New York Public Library


Photo: Anna Irrera







Factories in the Garment District still use Singer sewing machines from the 1940s. Some also employ computerized machines. “I haven’t replaced old Singer sewing machines from the 40s and 50s, because they still work and are more resistant than the new computerized ones”, said Terry Schwartz owner of Sherry