My road to Christmas is paved with good intentions. Every January, I smugly reassure myself: “This year I’ll finish my holiday shopping before Halloween.” Then, fun is had, time flies, and oops! It’s two short weeks until December 25th – yet still, the empty gift closet weeps in loneliness.
Oh, flippin’ Tannenbaum! Now, I’m swamped by a seasonal tsunami of yuletide commitments: to procure the tree, deck the halls, roast the chestnuts, concoct the eggnog, plan the caroling route, and countless similar endeavors. To avoid the permanent stigma of doling out envelopes of cash on Christmas morning, I need to do something, and fast. Online won’t work, because I require the visual stimulation and tactile feedback of an in-the-flesh buying experience. So, on to Plan B: the Streamlined, One-Day, All-Inclusive, Tommy-Gun-Style Shopping Spree.
But where? On the left coast, Los Angeles offers cute boutiques, and for amusing junk, San Francisco’s Chinatown Crap Stores can’t be beat. However, at this most wonderful time of the year, I pine for the thriving retail ecosystem of the original Metropolis: New York City, born itself of a legendary transaction of beads and trinkets!
Could I fly to the Big Apple, dispatch my gift list in a single day, and ship everything back to California? And, if so, where should I go for the utmost in supercharged shopping?
To answer those questions, I utilized AggData’s extensive collection of geolocated chain data to visualize Manhattan and surroundings, with store locations marked by dots and color-coded by the number within a ten-minute walk:
The map includes retail, food, auto, service, and entertainment establishments, and represents 285 corporate entities with a total of 2800-plus locations inside the featured 12 by 12 miles.
Hark! For bathed in mid-Manhattan’s glow, the herald angels sing! Saks Fifth Avenue warbles of well-heeled merchandise. The illuminated billboards of Times Square belt out a boisterous call. And, from under the art-deco spire of the Empire State Building, broadcast the magnificent melodies of New York City’s Retail Epicenter: the place within a ten-minute walk of the largest number of our chain locations: more than one hundred. Built upon this hallowed ground and framed by the coursing arteries of Broadway and 7th Avenue is Macy’s flagship department store: a Miracle On 34th Street to the desperate Christmas shopper, indeed!
To visit the core of midtown Manhattan is to stroll into a gigantic open-air mall – a square of concentrated commerce, one-and-a-half miles on each side – peppered with restaurants, hotels, and assorted creature comforts. There, our anxieties melt away as thousands of stores make quick work of that pesky gift list. Our taste buds rejoice for the universe of delectable foodstuffs. And, at day’s end, on Broadway, our cultivated side celebrates retail triumph. Elsewhere, last-minute Christmas shopping might be a chore; but in New York City, it’s a wonderful life!