Shopping wasteland on Manhattan's Upper East Side

The area around 59th St. and Lexington Ave. on Manhattan's Upper East Side has turned into a shopping wasteland.

The Container Store is gone along with Aldo’s shoes, The Gap, Banana Republic, and now Zara.

Upper East Side residents aren’t happy about it.

"It's definitely hard for me to like find places I can shop at," one woman told FOX 5 News.

Another woman said, "I used to shop at all of the stores and now I have to travel uptown or downtown."

A block and a half area of stores are now vacant.

H&M is also gone.  It used to be one of the major anchor chains on the block.

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One shopper tells FOX 5 News, "It's a sign of the times, you know."

Kathryn Wylde is a business expert in New York City and is the President and CEO of Partnership for New York City.

"More people left ZIP codes on the Upper East Side during the pandemic for homes in other locations than any other ZIP codes in the city.  So they have a loss of their customer base."

She says the pandemic has also killed business in other ways.

"They were also an area that was very dependent on international tourism and business travelers for their shopping and activity and that’s been cut off for the last couple years," Wylde says.

On top of that, E-commerce became the easiest way to shop during the pandemic.

"Affordable stores are those that actually have lost a lot of business during the period where people just shifted to the internet and were buying off Amazon for the most part," Wylde says.