Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn has a lot of history (and less crowds than Manhattan)

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When most New Yorkers think of Macy’s, they think of its sprawling, storied flagship store in Herald Square. But there’s more than one historic Macy’s in town. On Downtown Brooklyn’s bustling Fulton Street, you’ll find an outpost that’s every bit as worth a visit as its big brother in Manhattan—and with a fraction of the crowds.

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The Art Deco building originally housed Abraham & Straus, a seminal Brooklyn department store founded in the late 19th century. Co-founder and philanthropist Abraham Abraham established the Fulton Street storefront in 1893, helping to establish a Brooklyn shopping district that’s still thriving today. The current building, designed by Starrett & Van Vleck, opened its doors in 1930. A&S was a neighborhood institution until 1995, when it merged with Macy’s.

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Today, the Fulton Street Mall that Abraham helped to establish is a thriving commercial center that’s home to more than 150 local and national retail shops — a number that’s steadily growing. And Macy’s has flourished right along with the area. In 2011, the building’s exterior got a spruce-up, and artist Steve Powers was commissioned to create a striking typographic mural on the store’s adjacent parking garage. Visitors to Macy’s will find five floors of shopping in departments ranging from designer fashions to home goods, without having to navigate through the swarms of people who flock to the Herald Square flagship. Out-of-towner? You can get a Visitor Savings Pass that will net you 10 percent off thousands of items for a three-day span.

macys-fireworks-brooklyn-new-york-city Fireworks on the East River | Macy’s via Facebook

And in case you missed this year’s Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, the display was explosive as usual. For the first time since 1995, the nation’s largest pyrotechnic display took place over the East River, with the Brooklyn Bridge as its centerpiece. Millions watched the show, which included about 50,000 pounds of fireworks.