By  on January 25, 2008

For Bloomingdale's, January is no time to lay low.

The retailer will pull the curtain today on the new metro level at the 59th Street flagship and its subway entrance, both of which have been renovated. The floor's been remerchandised with young men's contemporary sportswear and premium denim, and rebranded No. 59 Metro.

"It's the most contemporary young men's space we've ever had at 59th Street," said Jack Hruska, executive vice president of creative services.

Large sizes and the 40 Carrots restaurant have been relocated in the store, and the formerly claustrophobic metro floor was deconstructed down to its cement floors and wood columns and expanded to 16,500 square feet from 9,500. Ceilings are higher, and there's hipper music. The floor sells Juicy Couture, Diesel and G-Star, among other labels, and introduces casual and active shoes, sunglasses and other accessories to the assortment.

Over the next year and a half, renovations will occur above the metro level, the store's lowest. The two levels above, for men's designer and contemporary sportswear and then men's sportswear, clothing, furnishings and shoes, will be renovated. On the main floor, the space for other men's furnishings and accessories will be revamped, as will the cosmetics and accessories areas. The Third Avenue facade also is going to be redone.

On Jan. 11, another unveiling occurred, this time with 56 enthusiastic kids from P.S. 59 who came to celebrate the Mentoring USA program and National Mentoring Month. The event kicked off with Bloomingdale's chairman and chief executive officer Michael Gould revealing a window on Lexington Avenue and 60th Street designed by the students. It features a doorway being unlocked by a child with a key marked with the word "mentoring," and other keys with inspirational messages such as discipline, kindness, courtesy, perseverance and tolerance. The window is filled with students' paintings of themselves and their mentors together.

The group proceeded to the 40 Carrots restaurant, where Matilda Raffa Cuomo, the wife of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, praised Gould and Bloomingdale's for participating in Mentoring USA, which she founded in 1995 and chairs. The program helps at-risk children who have been homeless, have experienced family trauma or are new to the U.S. Each week, about 100 Bloomingdale's associates spend an hour with students from P.S. 59 to encourage them, tutor, help with problems, talk about the future or perhaps even play chess."Life is all about what we can do for others," Gould said, adding that, for him, the mentoring window is a highlight of the year. "It's really special to see this incredible artwork, this creativity, all of your ideas in the window," Gould told the students. "You are the only ones that have this opportunity once a year."

During the festivities, Celeste Eshenwald, a systems manager and 35-year veteran of Bloomingdale's, received the Champion of Change award from Stephen Powell, assistant director of Mentoring USA, for helping to spearhead the store's mentoring initiative.

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