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On any given day about 30,000 people walk through the doors of the city's most famous (and the "World's Largest," according to its own boast) department store. Covering a full city block from 6th to 7th Avenues between West 34th and 35th Streets, with 11 floors and over 2 million square ft of selling space, Macy's is a living retail legend. In 1902, half a century after whaling sailor Rowland Hussey Macy established a fancy dry goods store at West 14th Street and 6th Avenue, the store moved to its current Herald Square site. Livestock was sold out of the main floor, but, equipped with the world's first modern escalators, Macy's introduced a new consumer phenomenon: vertical shopping, in which customers were transported from one floor of merchandise to another. You can still ride these magical wooden steps today. Another promotional innovation was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which stepped off in 1924. During its first decade, the large helium balloons for which the parade is known nationwide were released into the air and recovered by the public for prizes. Macy's continued to stay ahead of the curve in the 1940's and 1950's, when it sold prefabricated houses, airplanes, and automobiles out of the ninth floor, and when it popularized Scrabble after a Macy's buyer discovered the Brooklyn invention. The store was also the first retailer to promote such products as the Idaho baked potato and colored bath towels.

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