Did you think there were gifts in that giant shopping bag off the side of the Macy's in Herald Square? Well, there are not oversized gifts, not for you, not for anybody. There is, however, a nice five-story building, and Ephemeral NY has the details.
The site notes that "old photos reveal a five-story building sticking out like a sore thumb in front of the world’s most iconic department store." If you knew there was a building under Macy's changing adornments there, the interesting part of the story is that Macy's doesn't own it, and it's "one of the most famous 'holdouts' in New York real estate history."
The site goes on to explain that around 1900 Macy's began acquiring land in the Herald Square area, and had a verbal agreement to buy a plot on the corner of 34th and Broadway, but an agent acting on behalf of a rival department store, Siegel-Cooper, got the plot instead. They offered it to Macy's in exchange for their 14th Street store, but that offer was declined. Siegel-Cooper built their 5-story building in 1903, and Macy's built up their massive store around it!
Not long after this real estate war, Isidor Straus—co-owner with brother Nathan of R.H. Macy & Co.—lost her life during the Titanic tragedy.