When I moved to New York in 2003, one of the first things I remember registering was a giant banner on the side of Macy’s on 34th street, the epicenter of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, branding it as “The World’s Largest Store.” I spent a lot of time there my first year in New York, partially because I was friendless when I moved here and have always found a combination of comfort/fascination in malls and giant department stores — sort of like Walter Benjamin, but with less hash — and partially because my dad gave me a Macy’s card when I was in college and it really came in handy when I was trying to support myself in New York on $10 an hour from Dean and Deluca.
Last night, I passed by Macy’s on my way home from the Pixies show at Hammerstein, and the street was blocked off in preparation for the parade. I noticed that the bragging banner was no longer there. According to this cheapy tourist site, Macy’s gave up the claim to largeness in June of this year, after 85 years. Macy’s own website is mum on the matter. The company seems to have quietly conceded that the Herald Square location is no longer the king of all department stores.
This makes me strangely sad.