the demise of Lord & Taylor

More from Roger about the subject I talked about a few months ago: the demise of the department store. The loss is particularly hard at this time of year.

Roger's Gleanings

Lord & Taylor's Lord & Taylor, New York City; photo by Roger W. Smith

The following is an exchange of emails from today between me and the poet and essayist/writer Luanne Castle, host of the popular website (of which I am a fan)


hi, Luanne

I am in the Lord and Taylor’s department store (great store) shopping for a pair of gloves, and I suddenly thought of your great post about the closing of stores.

Apropos this, see link to NY Times article from October below

“Lord & Taylor Building, Icon of New York Retail, to Become WeWork Headquarters”

by Michael J. De La Merced and Michael Corkery

The New York Times

October 24, 2017

best wishes,



from Luanne Castle to Roger Smith

Ugh, I really hate to hear that (the article’s story). So sad. And what a beautiful old ceiling in the photo you shared. Thanks, Roger.


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21 responses to “the demise of Lord & Taylor

  1. That’s sad, Luanne. After shopping at Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s, formerly Hudson’s) in Portage, MI, today, I said to myself, “Macy’s will be announcing a lot of stores closing after Christmas.” On the bright side, I got a really good deal on a great winter coat that fits.

    Regarding the provenance of our store, I recall a former Chicagoan crowing about Hudson’s selling out to M.F. some years ago. Now we would have an M.F. right here in Portage!

    It makes me sad that Gilmore’s is gone and a lot of other great department stores. Jacobsons, Knapp’s, Steketee’s, Lamson’s, LaSalle’s, Lazarus, O’Neil’s, Polsky’s, etc.

    • It’s all so sad. I am guilty of using Amazon Prime, and I could kick myself, but we’re already in a position where it’s become too difficult to shop for everything in person. Imagine how bad it will be in ten years! The small specialty shops, as well as the beautiful department stores.

  2. It’s so sad to see these big stores closing. Many of the Macy’s in our area a shutting their doors.

  3. I feel the same way. Hate to see the traditional stores closing.

  4. As long as they don’t close the 99 cents store.

  5. I had no idea! The times they are a’changing.

  6. This sent me on a bit of a journey reading older posts from both of you, but great reads all around. the demise of retail has been one of the more shocking changes I’ve witnessed in our culture over the last 20 years, shops and stores were the landscape of my childhood and adolescence, so it’s like watching my own history die a bit.

    • Well put: “like watching my own history die a bit.” That is so true. I am having a hard time dealing with this. Even more so when I think of what will happen when there is very little competition for Amazon, etc. We have been so blessed with the overabundance on our store shelves. But I still remember seeing photos of the shelves in Poland when I was younger. EMPTY. Is that the kind of availability we want? I’m very concerned that nobody is even ringing the warning bell for this stuff!

  7. I keep thinking of the Woolworth’s in the town square where I grew up, their food counter where I worked for a time during high school, serving popcorn, hotdogs, and lemonade. Also the Grant’s store in the same square. As the brick-and-mortars fade, it will be interesting to see what does appear in addition to Amazon. I suppose it helps the carbon footprint? Or does it? Love the photo of Lord & Taylor.

    • I’m sure it doesn’t help anything. And it’s a loss of community and beauty. I also think of Woolworth’s and Grant’s, both on the Kalamazoo downtown mall. In fact, a scene in my memoir takes place at Woolworth’s. I loved Grant’s even more though. What a cool store! The toys in the basement! And the wide stairs near the front of the store. Every so often I see stairs like that in an antique store. I love that you worked at Woolworth’s!

  8. I wrote about the evd of a basic USA staple: Sears and Roebuck, Co. It was one of my most visited post in 2017. Everyone’s Christmas dream list was made after studying their big December catalogue! I’m so glad you and Roger had a similar conversation. It is sad when the long lasting memories of dream stores are out to rest, Luanne.
    May you have had a very happy holiday season and wishing you the best of health, happiness and let’s throw in prosperity since we all face the future with some elements of trepidation, I think. Hugs xo 💖

  9. out = “put” (to rest) xo ❤

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