Offering cash subsidies and a dedicated manufacturing center, the plan is designed to support the garment industry and keep jobs in New York, while removing regulations--put in place in 1987, geared toward protecting manufacturing in Midtown--and transforming the district into a more tech and tourism friendly area by reallocating buildings toward hotel development and toward building a concentrated hub for the TAMI (technology, media, advertising, and information) industry.
The Garment District is broadly defined as being between 5th and 9th Avenues and 34th and 42nd Streets, but is actually a smaller, intricate network of specialized shops, manufacturers, suppliers, artisans, and fabric stores that rely heavily not only on their proximity and convenience to the theater and fashion/fashion education industries, but also to each other. While moving to Sunset Park may be viable for some businesses, moving the entire district will disrupt an ecosystem that has survived and thrived through this geographical interconnectedness.
Whether sellers of fabric or notions (buttons, pins, interfacing, thread, and so forth) or manufacturers of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and samples, some businesses have already encountered difficulty either staying afloat or staying in place without protection from the city, as the costs of rent and/or manufacturing have risen, landlords have refused to renew rents, and the amount of manufacturing jobs have decreased.
In the coming weeks, Payal Parikh will document the neighborhood--owners, employees, and customers of businesses located within the district--through street photography and portraiture, in an effort to bring together the thoughts, feelings, and energy of people who have worked in the district for decades, are part of the transition underway, and are new to the area. Parikh's images will be displayed as the project progresses throughout the month at the 266 storefront, located in the heart of the Garment District.
Click here to donate to The Garment District GoFundMe Campaign