The Bed Bath & Beyond store on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street isn’t an ordinary big-box retail structure. Take a look at the massive bronze columns and huge lanterns flanking the entrance; they tip you off to the building’s elegant retail past.
It originally housed the Siegel-Cooper Department Store, opened in 1896. Until World War I, it was one of the city’s premier shopping destinations.
Carrying the latest fashions, gourmet foods, and furnishings, Siegel-Cooper was a star along Ladies’ Mile, the department-store district between 14th and 23rd Streets on Sixth Avenue that also featured retail giants such as B. Altman’s, McCreery’s, the Simpson Crawford Company, and the Hugh O’Neill Store.
All of these retailers are out of business now, though B. Altman’s moved to midtown as the city—and its main shopping district—inched northward.
This turn of the last century photo shows the same view of the building’s entrance as the first photo. The bronze columns and lanterns greeted customers then just as they do now.
Tags: 19th century department stores, B. Altman's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Defunct department stores, Hugh O'Neill, Ladies' Mile, McCreery's, shopping at the turn of the 20th century, Siegel-Cooper Department Store, Simpson-Crawford Company