History

Garment District history in every detail

The Garment District in New York existed long before fashion labels like Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, and Donna Karan became staples in the neighborhood.

More than a century ago, stately brownstones in the once-residential area were razed to make way for more than 100 high-rise factories and showrooms—our Colony Arcade building among them. The one-square-mile area, dubbed the Garment District, quickly became the producer of almost all ready-to-wear fashion in the United States.

In 1914, visionary businesswoman Winifred T. McDonald rented the Colony Arcade’s 20,000-square foot ground floor space, turning it into a tea room for ladies and a separate restaurant for men. This increased foot traffic on West 38th Street where, on the upper floors of the Colony Arcade, milliners like Richard Sentner prepared lines of trimmed and tailored hats, while furriers such as Harry Rothleder sold fur garments.

The tradition of Winnie’s innovative renovation continues today at Refinery Hotel—an imaginative reinterpretation of the Colony Arcade’s storied past. Little details like working Edison telephones in the hallways, dark green leather seats at our acclaimed Parker & Quinn Restaurant, and live jazz at Winnie’s lobby bar celebrate our long history, while our trendsetting Refinery Rooftop bar and contemporary Hatbox gallery space carry on our reputation as a fashionable Midtown destination in present-day New York.

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Timeline

1912:

The Colony Arcade building opens as a home to some the world’s most notable millinery firms.

1914:

To capitalize on the foot traffic to the then-new Lord & Taylor department store, local entreprenuer Winifred T. McDonald opens a restaurant and tearoom on the ground floor of the Colony Arcade. Today's Parker & Quin restaurant and Winnies Jazz Bar are born.

1918:

New York's Garment District booms with nearly 90% of all American clothing originating from Manhattan.

1999:

Fashion Walk of Fame plaques are embedded in sidewalks on Fashion Avenue, paying tribute to the area’s famed designers, both past and present

2013:

The Colony Arcade is renamed Refinery Hotel and opens its doors to guests and visitors from around the world.

Save The Children

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REFINERY is a proud supporter of Save the Children, internationally recognized for giving children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. To make a difference in a child’s life, please donate today.

63 W 38TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10018
HOTEL & RESERVATIONS: 646.664.0310

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