Once, glittering palaces of commerce lit up these 19th-century streets. Then the shops moved up to Union Square and the hookers took over, beckoning johns through the portals of the former department stores. Light manufacturing replaced the whores, turning the area into a ghost town after dark. Robert Moses wanted to plow through Washington Square and build a four-lane expressway down West Broadway; it was not to be. Artists colonized the old buildings instead, ushering in a few small shops and food co-ops. What began as a trickle of boutiques became a deluge. It seemed like mass-market mall stores were all the future held, until, in a stunning reversal, international capital decided these cast-iron temples should be returned to their original purpose, selling luxury goods to the pilgrims who flock here from... More >>>