By tradition
, spring is the time of new beginnings, life, birth, and re-birth. In many parts of the world, the New Year commences with the first day of spring.

Perhaps so, but if you live in New York, you know it's actually in the fall that things start up. The sun seems to be brighter, the sky more blue, the air clear and sharp, the nights more exciting and sparkly. This wonderful city begins to stir. It dusts off the lethargy of summer and roars back to life. They may sing songs about "Springtime in the Rockies.' but it has always been "Autumn in New York."

As this is written, we're still in the dog days of August, and I believe that it is essential to look back before going forward: we had a cold, rough winter, no spring and an okay summer, if you like rain. There was also uncertainty, turmoil, a little war, economic difficulty, etc., etc. Things could have been better...

And so, what of this new beginning?
Fall is the key fashion season of the year. Traditionally, of course, the holidays that follow are retail's most important - the time for significant spending, which begins with back-to-school.

This is the start of a much better trend, even for department stores, which are enjoying resurgence. Bergdorf's, Saks, Barneys, Bloomies and Bendel's have all undergone renovations and nationally the economic news is improving all the time. The job market is opening up. The ongoing tax cuts are kicking in. Consumer confidence is building. New York itself is regaining its economic balance. The tourists have come back! "Shop till you drop" is again the rallying cry...

All of the above are indications of the return of good times, which will result in a very successful autumn shopping season that will segue into an equally profitable Christmastime.

And watch for the fast fashion wars to add excitement, as Mexx, Zara and H&M go head-to-head on Fifth Avenue, Union Square, lower Broadway, or maybe even in your neighborhood.

The city is in an upbeat mood. The sluggish feeling of late no longer prevails.
It is the beginning of Gotham's New Glamour - to borrow a phrase from another favorite city of mine. New Orleans, "Laissez les bons temps roulez!"

This fall, the Crossroads of Luxury - 57th Street and Fifth Avenue - will be ablaze with jewel collections that surpass even the most extravagant imaginings from the Arabian Nights. Asprey has expanded and is reopening at Trump Tower. Piaget will unveil its newly renovated store in the Crown Building on 57th Street. Garrard has opened a shopping suite at 720 Fifth Avenue, across the Avenue from Asprey where jewels are sold by appointment only. Boucheron will be opening a new store this fall as well, at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. They are, of course, joined by the others: Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany &Co., Fortunoff, Mikimoto - the dazzle will be breathtaking...

After undergoing expansion, Salvatore Ferragamo's fabulous new flagship will open on Fifth Avenue - Luxury Walk - on the Northeast corner of 52nd Street, making way for Ermenegildo Zegna, which is taking their old location. Mexx is opening across the Avenue at 650. Carita Spa is now in the St. Regis Hotel, at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. There is a rumor that Zara will take over the old Façonnable location on the Northeast corner of Fifth and 54th Street. Further down at 200, in the Toy Center; Cipriani's fashionable food will come to the Flatiron District.

On Madison Avenue's Golden Mile: Clarins will open its first freestanding store at 1061 Madison, replacing Fresh. There's a new Ralph Lauren baby store at 71st Street. Gianfranco Ferre is moving from 845 to 870. Akris has opened at 835. Ozwald Boateng has also opened. Anne Fontaine has moved from 791 to 687, the Old Face Stockholm space. Dennis Basso will be replacing Via Spiga between 65th and 66th Streets. Furla is relocating, from 727 to a larger flagship at 598, next to the new Mont Blanc. Lizzie Grubman plans to have a bakery in the 60s…

Another rumor: Abercrombie & Fitch is coming to 575 Madison, on the Southeast corner. A newer and larger Crouch & Fitzgerald has reopened at 400, with a Sherpa for Pets included. Bo Concept will be at 105.

In the East 70s: ABH Design can be found on 76th Street. Fauchon opened yet another location at Third Avenue and 78th formerly Wm. H. Greenberg.

On Lexington Avenue, Miss Sixty now has opened a shop at 715, the Northeast corner. and another as well in Soho. Bosendorfer has moved from 57th Street to 200 Lexington at 23rd Street.

At the AOL Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle the following will be part of The Shops and The Restaurant Collections: Morganthal Frederics, 4You, Borders, Face Stockholm, L'Occitane, J. Crew, Cole Haan, Coach, Bose, Whole Foods, and Williams Sonoma.

There are several new stores on Columbus Avenue: Cecile Jeanne, 311; Block International, 304, between 74th and 75th Streets; Alexia Crawford, 253; Theory, 230; and Reebok, 160.

On Broadway: Aldo has a new store at 86th Street, 2359. Morrell's has opened at 900 Broadway in the Flatiron District and on Union Square, Mavi Jeans is at 832 Broadway. H&M is also expanding their store on Broadway.

On Union Square, Mexx will have another store. There will also be a Forever 21 at 40 East 14th Street, inthe former Bradlees, where you will also find another Whole Foods.

And at 34th Street: Forever 21 will be at 50 West 34th - Herald Square - with a super store on three levels in the same building as The Gap. Stoneridge has reopened with a brand new look. 20 West 34th Street. Nine West is now at 21 West 34th, and Shoe Mania at 11 West.

In the West Village, also known as Greenwich: Ralph Lauren will open a Blue Label store at 380 Bleecker Street, between Charles and Perry. Elizabeth Charles is at 117 Perry Street, between Hudson and Greenwich. Disrespectacles is in the former Myoptics location, 82 Christopher. There is also a Disrespectacles in Tribeca. Annelore is at 636 Hudson.

On to Soho, where things are busier than ever: Alice Antiques is now at 72 Greene Street. Franco Ziche at 148 Spring. O.J. Gallery is moving from 121 Spring to a larger space at 151 Spring. Vosges Haut-Chocolat is opening at 132 Spring. L'Occitane and O&Co. are joining together for their first lifestyle store at Mercer & Prince. De Vera is opening at 28 Howard Street. Design Within Reach is at 142 Wooster and Atmosphere Home is at 121.

Alice Temperley in on the corner of Mercer and Broome. Chocolate Garden at 80 Thompson. Desiron moved from Greene Street to 151 Wooster. Stinky and Minky are at 71 Sullivan. Bagutta moved from West Broadway to 72-76 Greene Street. Levi's opened on Broadway, 536, off Spring. Dolce & Gabbana, at 434 West Broadway, expanded into the Furla space, 430. Butter & Eggs will be at 83 West Broadway. Catherine Memmi has opened at 45 Greene Street. Kartell is at 39 Greene. Arredo is also on Greene Street, 23-25. Santa Maria Novello di Firenze, the oldest perfumer, is at 285 Lafayette. Sissy at 235 Lafayette. Gianfranco Ferre is planning a Soho store for next year. Just Cavelli also has plans. Romeo Gigli will open downtown soon.

Across the way in Nolita: Classic Kicks opened at 298 Elizabeth Street. Me & Ro moved to larger quarters at 214 Elizabeth. Daniel Espinosa is at 250 Elizabeth and Nike at 255. Saigoniste opened at 239 Mulberry and Pipsqueak is at 248 Mott Street.

In the hyper-chic Meatpacking District: Design Within Reach opened at 408 West 14th Street. Carlos Miele is also at 408. Lars Bolander Antiques will be at 72 Gansevoort Street. Artsee is on Washington Street, 863. Catherine Malandrino will be at 652 Hudson Street and 13th later this fall.

In Tribeca, Art et Maison moved from 57th Street to N. Moore Street. Christopher Norman Chocolates will be in the Financial District at 60 Broad Street. In Harlem, M-A-C has opened at 200 West 125th Street, across from H&M.

And on the Lower East Side, one of the Phoenix clan. Summer, has a new shop: Odd Rubies at 151 Ludlow Street.

That's my report for fall 2003. Let the good times roll!

Faith Hope Consolo
Chairman, Retail Leasing & Sales Division
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Tel: 212-418-2020 / Fax: 212-418-2005