Bounded, roughly, by 14th and 23rd streets and Broadway and 6th Avenue, Ladies’ Mile was New York’s downtown in the late 19th century. Its many celebrated department stores, which included the original Macy’s and B. Altman, revolutionized the retail industry. These grand emporiums catered to both the upper class “carriage trade” and New York’s burgeoning middle class and, above all, to women. The new phenomenon of females shopping in public gave Ladies’ Mile its special elegance. At present, there’s great uncertainty about the future of bricks-and-mortar retail which makes now the perfect time to explore Ladies’ Mile’s many contributions to the architecture, culture, and civic life of New York City.