Shopping along Ladies’ Mile: then and now

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: , , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to “Shopping along Ladies’ Mile: then and now”

  1. Cary Says:

    If you watch closely during the opening credits of The Late Show with David Letterman there are a few seconds where they show this building. It’s a night shot, taken from an uptown-bound vehicle on Sixth Avenue, of the three grandly lit arches above the main entrance to this building.

  2. History in the making - 5/30 | New York Real Estate Says:

    […] Never Out Of Style Chelsea’s Bed Bath and Beyond, as it looked 100 years ago [Ephemeral New York] […]

  3. joy Says:

    Oh, wow, thanks for posting that old shot. I love that building and pass it every day walking to 7th. I can never resist looking up at the ornamental upper stories that they say were done up so that the elevated train crowd would see it.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I pass it a lot too and was thrilled to find the old photo. Those columns are really something.

  5. Joe Z Says:

    From the 1960s to around 1987, the ground floor of this building on Sixth Ave. (native NYers never call it Avenue of the Americas. Only hipster immigrants from Seattle do) was occupied by a district office of the NY State Department of Labor.

  6. Part 1 of Ethnographic Study « Katy in NYC Says:

    […] […]

  7. Three views of Sixth Avenue and 20th Street « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] was part of the fabled Ladies’ Mile, where stores like Siegel-Cooper, Adams & Co., and Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store […]

  8. History in the making - 5/30 - Bowery Boys: New York City History Says:

    […] Never Out Of Style Chelsea’s Bed Bath and Beyond, as it looked 100 years ago [Ephemeral New York] […]

  9. The Gilded Age excess of Manhattan’s first mall | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] catering to the city’s well-off, who took part in the relatively new indulgence of shopping for fun and […]

  10. Where fashionable Gilded Age ladies lunched | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a well-off New York woman in the late 19th century, and you’re on an excursion to Ladies Mile—the area roughly between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and 10th and 23rd Streets where the […]

  11. Christmas sidewalk vendors of Sixth Avenue | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Avenue along Ladies Mile was a prime shopping district during the 1902 holiday season, with enormous emporiums like Siegel […]

  12. A cast-iron jewel sits behind this glass facade | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] the Civil War, Ladies Mile, New York’s premium shopping district, moved to the fashionable stretch between 9th Street […]

  13. One girl’s 1899 travel diary of New York City | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Like any trend-driven tween, King wrote about the clothes displayed in stores like Stern’s (top image) in the Ladies Mile shopping district. […]

  14. traciehug Says:

    Oh the different in dress and style!

  15. The 1877 “palace of trade” opens on Ladies Mile | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] and Third Avenue and joined the growing number of retailers occupying spectacular buildings on Ladies Mile, the Gilded Age’s shopping […]

  16. This decaying building was Central Harlem’s first apartment house | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Just Brothers Fine Shirt manufacturing company. By the 1880s and 1890s, the company had stores on Ladies’ Mile—the Gilded Age city’s premier shopping district from Broadway to Sixth Avenue between 10th […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: