The department store may be old hat today but when John Wanamaker opened the first multipurpose clothing and specialties store in 1876, it was revolutionary. The intent was to create a central market, like London's Royal Exchange or Paris' Les Halles, where upscale goods could be purchased at reasonable prices. In 1907 Wanamaker’s opened at Astor Place in the now historic Wanamaker Building designed by the famed architect Daniel Burnham. Through his department stores, Wanamaker also ushered in price tags, the money-back-guarantee and the “White sale.”
While Wanamaker’s has long since closed, the Wanamaker Building remains a monument to commerce in the Village. Today the major retail anchors are Ann Taylor LOFT, Bank of America and K-Mart, but the upper floors have been converted into over 1 million square feet of office space housing fashion retailer J Crew as well as powerhouse media tenants AOL, the Huffington Post and, soon, Facebook.