Diamond District Leaders Work to Polish Its Image

A report released Monday, the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the 47th Street Business Improvement District, said the one block stretch between Fifth and Sixth Avenues known as the 'Diamond District' needs to develop a more cohesive look to continue attracting customers. The block is home to more than 4,000 diamond-related businesses, which give the block its nickname.

The report was compiled by the Pratt Center for Community Development along with the 47th Street Business Improvement District and calls for "capital improvements to create a more cohesive and attractive look to the district."

The district has secured a $100,000 grant from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to install LED pedestrian lighting on the block, according to the Borough President’s office.

Capital improvements would help bring business back into storefronts as more diamond transactions occur online, suggested Adam Friedman, director of the Pratt Center and author of the report.

“The neighborhood does look a little downtrodden,” Friedman said in an interview. “It does look a little seedy, and when you think about what's going on in the block, it's not at all reflected in the character of the block.”

The diamonds cut and processed in New York City continue to be the state's number one foreign export by value, according to the report. The state exported $9.1 billion worth of diamonds in 2010.

Paintings are the second-ranked export, other jewelry is the third.