Alexander Turney Stewart's Marble Dry Goods Palace initiated a retail revolution in mid-19th century Manhattan. A second Stewart store, the Iron Palace, opened (at Broadway and 10th Streets) in 1862.

This store was located in an area that became known as the "Ladies' Mile". It extended along Broadway and Sixth Avenue, between 9th and 23rd Streets, and comprised the commercial epicenter of the city. Stores had been built here by Lord & Taylor (1870), B. Altman (1877) and the R.H. Macy Company (1879).

Rowland Hussey Macy's first commercial emporium in New York had opened October 28, 1858. Macy's would eventually surpass all other Big Apple-based retailers and, by the 21st century, stand as the preeminent coast-to-coast department store chain.