A 34th Street renovation reveals a 1902 facade

Since 1985, the elegant limestone building at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 34th Street—originally the Herald Square home of Saks—has been sheathed behind ugly blue mirrored glass.


The store had a long history as Saks 34th Street; in the 1960s it became a Korvette’s and was most recently occupied by Daffy’s.

But during its current renovation into a new branch of retailer H&M,the lovely old department store came back into view.

A sharp-eyed Ephemeral reader noticed that some of the blue glass panels had been removed. There, a sliver of the facade finally got a chance to breathe and reveal itself to Herald Square.


Those windows look like they need a good scrubbing—that’s more than 80 years of 34th Street exhaust and grime up there! But it’s wonderful to see them in any condition after all this time hidden away.

[Thanks to Jeffrey P. for the “palimpsest moment” and photos.]

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18 Responses to “A 34th Street renovation reveals a 1902 facade”

  1. David Handelman Says:

    Nice post! It was “Daffy’s” not “Daffy Dan’s”

  2. John Says:

    I guess it comes down to personal taste but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to cover that facade up? It’s a pleasure to the eye to take in the detail.

    Great blog!

  3. r185 Says:

    But will H&M be restoring it?

  4. Susan Champlin Says:

    Amazing—I was just there last night, but missed the reveal in my efforts not to be mowed down by rush-hour commuters. I hope the old building can continue to breathe.

  5. Michael Paul Says:

    I saw the original facade peeking through on October 7th.

  6. manhattan resident Says:

    does anyone know if the original facade will be restored?

  7. Historic Herald Square façade revealed in renovation | BK Flatbush Ave – RE Says:

    […] store is now set to become a massive H&M.[Ephemeral NY] – Christopher […]

  8. Keith G Says:

    The original facade was drastically altered in the 1960’s when Korvettes renovated and “modernized” the building after Saks 34th Street closed in 1965.

  9. klbazur Says:

    Why would anyone do this??? Would the same person (s) put aluminum siding on their brownstone??? It would be great if this building was returned to its original splendor but I’nm not holding my breath. Too sad! KLBazur

  10. Al Says:

    Not only will the old facade not be restored, it will be covered in LED signs. Google Herald Center.

  11. mbizzy Says:

    klbazur: Maybe you forgot but in the 80s that area was seedy and home to dominatrix clubs and Macy’s among urban decay. It wasn’t worth it then to renovate that facade back then.

  12. manhattan resident Says:

    Just like the rest of the H&M stores. Another ugly, neon building on 34th street. Looks just awful.

  13. Herald Center’s Original 1902 Limestone Facade Appears While Under Renovation | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] Image via Ephemeral New York […]

  14. Liza Says:

    Actually, the blue glass is an improvement on the ugly old (dirty) opaque white with black exterior of Korvettes that looked oh-so-modern when I was growing up in the 70s. Would love it if they uncovered it completely!

  15. Mary. Reilly Says:

    Saks 34th moved to Massapequa, right? How long did it last in Massapequa? It was a unique store

  16. Discount store Korvettes lives on in the subway | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of the old Saks facade came back into view last year during construction—a sweet site to […]

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