Here it is -- already Spring. It seems as though only yesterday I wrote the Faith Report for Winter. The year started off with enthusiasm and confidence. Across the country, the cliché, "things are better", proved time and time again to be true and not only at home, but around the world.

As we head into the wonderful, warm days of summer, economic reports all seem to be sending the same message: improving profits and strong growth. It is believed that the luxury market as a whole could outperform other market indexes, as the economy overcomes its final inertia and really starts to roll. This is a season of hope and confidence. In fact, consumer confidence has been the strongest since
July 2002.

New York is the capital of the World, no doubt about it. All through the first part of this year, we've watched as the excitement and the energy has grown. The retail real estate market reflects this, as the Luxury Walk of Fifth Avenue becomes increasingly more Luxurious, the Golden Mile has acquired a high sheen and all over town the by-words are chic and exciting -- in practically every neighborhood. So far, this year is keeping its promise:

On fabulous Fifth Avenue: At the corners of the four jewels, Fifth and 57th, Louis Vuitton has opened its largest store in the world -- five floors of Luxury on the Northeast corner. The exterior is contemporary; the interior, Old-World elegance. DeBeers is scheduled to open in the old Vuitton space, the Southeast corner of 55th and Fifth. FAO Schwarz has closed, but will re-open soon, to be with us another seventy years, at least. There is a new Erno Laszlo Spa now at Bergdorf Goodman. Alice Temperley, of London and Soho, New York City, now has a boutique at Henri Bendel. The Ermenegildo Zegna flagship will open soon, incorporating their division, Agnona, between 52nd and 53rd Streets.

Sephora is returning to the Rockefeller Center area -- 48th Street, replacing Benetton, next to American Girl Place, south of Saks Fifth Avenue.

On the Golden Mile: Damiani, famous for its Diamonds, is on Madison Avenue -- 800, replacing Manrico. Alain Mikli has left Lauren country and in now at 986 Madison, replacing Jennifer Tyler. Jan Krugier Gallery is at 980 Madison Avenue. Francesca Romano's new flagship, 957. Fresh has returned to Madison, 922, formerly Neuhaus Chocolatier, who is moving to another location on the Avenue. Léron Linens has moved from the corner of 65th to 806 Madison, between 67th and 68th Streets. Melonie de France opened in the L'Etoile space, next to La Goulue. Within Reach will open its fourth store at 62nd and Madison next month. Molton Brown is arriving from Britain and opening two stores, one at 515 Madison; the other, 1098 Third. Bric's leathergoods is replacing Qiora at Madison and 54th Street. L'Occitane is expanding yet again -- 510 Madison, between 52nd and 53rd. Andrew's Ties USA is at 400 and rumor has it that Louis Vuitton may open shop close to Gucci at the Westbury...

On 57th Street: Dior Homme has opened on East 57th Street. H. Herzfeld is moving from Madison Avenue to 118 East 57th, previously Gorevic. Gioia, moving from Park Avenue will be two doors away on the same block. At 4 West 57th, the Bank of America now has a two-level banking salon replacing Laura Biagiotti.

On the Upper East Side: There will be a new Ferrari Showroom on Park Avenue and 55th Street, across the street from the recently renovated Mercedes Benz. Searle is expanding on Third Avenue. Alexia Crawford's flagship is at 1031 Third and Select Comfort, fine furniture, is at 1030, across the road. Bliss Spa is now owned by Starwood and will be opening in the W Hotel, at 540 Lexington, across from the Waldorf. Another Bliss will be in the W on Times Square and others in Ws around the world. W Hotels - the Store is at the Northeast corner of 49th Street The superhip Ws are now making hotel merchandise available to guests and shoppers in stores worldwide as well. Peter Elliot Blue will open soon on Lexington, the Southeast corner of 72nd.

Other new shops on Lexington Avenue are preppy fashions, C.K. Bradley, at 74th Street; Che Che New York, 1034 and 74th; Pieper & Kojen, jewelry, 1023 Lexington and 73rd; and Jackie Rogers, also at 73rd.

On the West Side: Barneys Co-Op will dazzle when it opens on Broadway, between 75th and 76th Streets, at 2139. Bloch International is at 304 Columbus and 74th Street. Blair Delmonico will join the Shops at Columbus Circle. British Lush, the first U.S. Shop, is at 1293 Broadway, Herald Square. Way over West is Qui, furniture, 601 West 26th Street.

In what is euphemistically known as Clinton: Lyd, from London, is at 405 West 44th Street. Meis & Design, 319 West 47th Street, and Han Feng, 174 Eleventh Avenue.

On the Flatiron: Target may aim for 23rd Street, joining Home Depot, also on 23rd, just around the corner from Ladies' Mile.

In the Meatpacking District: Arriving from Los Angeles, Poleci, store and showroom, 414 West 14th street, joining Stella and Carlos... In the Hotel Gansevoort, Henry Beguelin, handbags from Milan.

In Soho: There's Flora, 732 Thompson, between Spring and Broome. Mankind, men's boutique, 8 Greene Street. White Furniture, 353 Broadway, near Franklin. Clarins is scheduled to arrive later. Adidas, 610 Broadway and Crosby. Saigoniste, 186 1/2 Spring Street. Italian scooters from Aprilia USA, 155 Sixth Avenue. G-Star Raw arriving soon, 63 Prince at Lafayette, replacing Roots.

Nolita: Mogu -- pillows and mushy furniture, 258 Elizabeth Street. Travel-inspired clothes by Troy, 257 Elizabeth. Parisian handbags by Jack Gomme, 252 Elizabeth and Lyell fashions, 173 Elizabeth.

The West Village: American Apparel, 373 Sixth Avenue, near Waverly Place. Dernier Cri -- 869 Washington Street. Jacques Torres, chocolatier, at 350 Hudson Street. Christian Louboutin's second store, 59 Hudson. Stacey Haase's signature apparel and home furnishings to open at a not determined address in September. Pellat-Finet sweaters on Christopher Street. Viv Pickle handbags, 238 West 10th Street. Intermix, 365 Bleecker, corner of Charles, high-end apparel.

And in the East Village: From Britain, Eskandar, 35 East 10th, just off Broadway.

In the Financial District: Jean Louis David, Broadway and Vesey Street, for hair.

What could be a better examples of New York's World Capital status than the hundreds of different varieties of places to stay for those thousands of people who come to our fair city every day, every week, every year, for business, for pleasure, just out of curiosity. There were nearly 71,000 hotel rooms available in the city last year, with more to come.

Two of the new offer the ultimate in elegance and splendor: The Ritz-Carlton, 50 Central Park South, in the former St. Moritz, has a spa by La Prairie and a dining room by Gabriel Kreuther.

The Mandarin Oriental, in the Time Warner Center, looks across the magnificent Manhattan skyline with floor-to-ceiling opulence. The Asiate restaurant captures the elements of European and oriental cuisine.
The spa supplies a high-performance fitness center and a complete "journey of the senses".

New luxury boutique hotels were added this year, with others on the way. Maritime, built on the site of the old Maritime Union Headquarters at 36 West 16th Street, has been described as an "ocean voyage from Japan, by way of Palm Springs". The rooms resemble ship's cabins with Asian overtones.

The windows are five-foot portholes and the hotel's ocean-liner size restaurant, Matsuri, is considered one of the best in the city, giving Nobu a run for its money.

Also of Asian persuasion, with a little more Zen, is The Alex, 205 East 45th Street. With hand-laid terrazzo floors, bamboo accents and the Riingo Restaurant by Marcus Samuelson, it has been said that one can become almost too relaxed at The Alex.

There is the "profile preference" list that records guests' partialities in food, soaps, music, etc., so that these will be provided on each stay, without having to ask.

Just opened in the historic Gansevoort Historic District (the Meatpacking District) is the Hotel Gansevoort, 13th Street and Ninth Avenue. Although the interior is minimalist in design, the extravagant use of fabric and leather gives the rooms a rich and sumptuous feeling. Bay windows with seating areas provide panoramic views of the Hudson. The restaurant is tri-level and again, Japanese, Ono, from the famous Jeffrey Chodrow.

In Soho, Benjamin Soleimani, developer of Hotel 41 on 41st Street, will build The Bond Street Hotel, 10-12 Bond Street and Lafayette. Mr. Soleimani says that there will be high ceilings, French windows, and terraces looking out on Lafayette. It will be for fashion designers and artistic people...

These are only a few examples of what hotel life in New York is like. Much more fun than being put up by friends or relatives on the sofa in the other room.

Have a lovely Summer!

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