In 1869, the "Merchant Prince of Broadway," Alexander T. Stewart, put his considerable talents, creativity, and wealth into the creation of a model city, reportedly a century ahead of its time. Harpers Weekly said of the venture, "it will be the most beautiful suburb in the vicinity of New York. Godspeed the undertaking!" To service this model city, he also developed the original department-store concept.
By the mid-20th
century, the retail stores of Mr. Lord, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Bloomingdale—all modeled after Stewart's department store—opened along Garden City's Franklin Avenue, which came to be known as the 5th Avenue of Long Island. Lord & Taylor is still here, but Sears has replaced Bloomingdale's, which moved to the Roosevelt Field mall. Today, thanks to an influx of more than two dozen banks, insurance companies, and brokerages, however, Franklin Avenue's nickname has changed to the "Wall Street of Long Island." On 7th Street you find specialty and food emporiums and fine restaurants.