Archive for June, 2011
*****UPDATE***** The Diamond District took our advice! A little over a month after we wrote this post, we saw an MSNBC article about plans to renovate the Diamond District. Links to the article and the official report by NYC authorities is at the end of the post.
Diamond District Today
New York City’s Diamond District is currently a hub for a $24 billion per year industry. It’s embarrassing to walk every morning and see this famous street that looks akin to a landlord dressed like a super.
A huge chunk of the country’s wealth is gathered here. Yet, no one would know this. Walking down 47th Street, one is encountered with massive trucks, hawkers, scattered flyers, and cracked pavements. The sidewalks are so slanted that one would have to wear hiking boots to stay upright. National upscale brand retailers do not dare to show their faces here.
Even though most stores and exchanges on 47th Street proclaim to be selling to the trade only they are in fact retailers. However shopping here has the allure of visiting a Motor Vehicle Bureau in Kazakhstan.
We have to change this.
The Glory Days
The “glory days” of 47th Street were in the 80’s. In those days celebrities, politicians, famous athletes, and socialites visited the Diamond District on a regular basis. On any given day one could see a dozen or so stretched limousines waiting for their owners. Along with Times Square and Wall Street, the Diamond District was considered to be among the most prestigious streets in New York City.
Unfortunately forces of economy and the flight of the manufacturing sector to Asia put a choke hold on many businesses on 47th Street. Many businesses were shut down. This has lead to less funds being available for street maintenance. The Diamond District fell into a permanent state of chaos and disrepair.
A simple plan was conceived by Leon Mege while observing a police officer guarding a dying mouse in the middle of the street. The plan will double the sales and rake in tax revenue that could be useful to maintain our congressmen’s fitness, so pictures they tweet will look good.
The best solution would be to close the street to motor traffic. This will be impossible to achieve given regulatory restrictions and politics involved.
Instead, I propose to convert the street from a three lane to two lane traffic. It could be achieved by alternating days the delivery trucks could park on either side.
This will allow us to extend the sidewalks and renovate the pavement. An increase in foot traffic and comfortable browsing will make more people stop, look at the store windows, enter and buy jewelry.
A new diamond tower is being built on 47th Street, which will revitalize the Diamond District. Therefore, we already have some of the groundwork laid out for us. With this additional improvement, New York City could transform this section of Midtown into a retail powerhouse. Nationally recognized jewelry retailers will find it necessary to open outlets on the street. This in turn will make traditional 47th street vendors eager to stay. This street will become one of the greatest tourist attractions not only in New York City, but in the United States. Tourism equals money.
- Room for information kiosks.
- Plants to make the street lively – diamonds will look better reflecting green foliage rather than yellowish-grey collars of unemployed setters.
- A few benches for those exhausted from deciding between SI1 and SI2 diamonds.
- A few kiosks for water so people will stay on the street and continue shopping.
- Public restrooms.
- Improved security – check points for cars will make any potential getaway impossible.
- Drivers will try to avoid the street, pedestrians will feel safer to cross the street, so both sides are accessible in one stroll
- The area of a several blocks radius from 47th Street will be revitalized, not just one street
- Jumbo screens could be installed at both ends of the street to visually separate the Diamond District from the hectic dynamics of Midtown and bring revenues from advertisement to the district management.
- Only trucks for pick-up and deliveries will be allowed from 9 am to 6 pm. This will ease traffic.
- Sidewalks can be inlaid with a New York City version of the “Hollywood walk of fame” – diamond symbols adorned with names of famous jewelers.
- With increased revenue, buildings will be forced to renovate the dilapidated store fronts into attractive glass and granite edifices.
People will travel to New York just to see the New Diamond District. Retail sales will soar. Increased tax revenues will create a surplus, the likes of which the city has never seen before. So much money will be generated that the city will run out of options to spend them all. Special crews will be dispatched to dig potholes just so another crew will have something to fill. Fruit vendors will wear cashmere uniforms and hot dog sellers will have their carts gold plated. Cops will be patrolling the streets in the cruisers with headlights set with round brilliant diamonds.
A new conference center will have to be constructed in one of the newer skyscrapers just so jewelry competitions and other jewelry-related programming could be broadcast. Of course new 24-hour TV and YouTube news channel, Diamond News, will need to inform everyone of the breaking diamond news (no pun intended). The city will have to extend the monorail from JFK directly to the futuristic Diamond Center transportation hub to be built right underneath the street. This multimode terminal will no doubt be able to receive cabs, trains, helicopters and even small cruise boats. Eventual direct arrivals of bullet trains from Europe and Japan cannot be ruled out. In the distant future spaceships filled with cut and sorted diamonds will travel to galaxies far-far away spreading the word about 4c’s and bestowing benefits of annual checkups and free cleaning on savage aliens.
The only thing we need to make it all come true is to get rid of one lane on one street. Get me the mayor who would implement this change! I’ll even endure seeing his or her underwear in my Twitter feed.
Go to these links (Thankfully they listened!)