The famous Macy's flagship in Herald Square is getting a $400 million makeover, but even though they say it will maintain the store’s “architectural integrity,” preservationist Theodore Grunewald is criticizing the facelift. Macy's says the project, which began in the spring, is the most extensive renovation they've ever undertaken. While changes will take place, so will restorations, including to the memorial entrance and the wooden escalators (which have been known to sever fingers in the past).
According to CityRoom, Grunewald spotted some "structural columns rising to the ceiling had been simplified. No longer did they have the Art Deco look that was so familiar in that part of the store. The marble cladding that he said had given them elegance and color was gone." He called this a "tragedy," adding, “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never make Art Deco again. Imagine trying to build the Chrysler Building now if you had to.” He says Macy's has fallen victim to "Apple store fever," especially in relation to the first floor renovations, some of which a Macy's rep said actually took place in the 1970s (the building was landmarked in 1978), and are not part of the new project.
Click through for a look at Macy's back in the day—a couple of more photos from inside of the store, taken by Stanley Kubrick in 1948, can be seen in the MCNY's archives.