The mystery name behind the Starbucks sign

BroadstreetsThe Starbucks Coffee at 334 Fifth Avenue, at 33rd Street, bit the dust earlier this year, reportedly a victim of the city’s insane commercial rents.

Now that the familiar green logo has been removed from the facade, the ghostly imprint of an older sign has come back into view.

Broadstreet’s, the faded outline reads on both sides of the corner storefront. But what was Broadstreet’s? It’s a mystery that needs solving.

Broadstreetscloseup

A men’s clothing store chain called Broadstreet’s apparently existed in New York on Fifth Avenue from the 1940s to the 1960s, but this typeface doesn’t look like it goes back that far.

In any case, welcome back to Fifth Avenue, Broadstreet’s, albeit temporarily until a new retailer covers you up again.

Here’s another New York retail relic from the 1960s finally revealed when another Starbucks on Lexington Avenue closed up shop earlier this year.

Tags: , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “The mystery name behind the Starbucks sign”

  1. david@sobenycptown.com Says:

    In the future, when you list an address, also list the cross streets, so we know exactly where it is located. thanks.

  2. ReadingOtherPeople Says:

    Reblogged this on Reading Other People.

  3. aspicco Says:

    The typeface for Broadstreet’s certainly could be from the 1960s… I am a graphic designer with 40+ years’ experience… 60s sure… 50s or 40s? nope… So maybe they updates the store image in the 60s

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I trust your expertise…thanks!

  5. Rob G. Says:

    This was definitely a branch of the men’s clothing store, which had its flagship store closer to Rockefeller Center on 5th and 47th. To slightly revise what aspicco said above, the typeface seems to have been in use by the chain in the mid-to-late 1950s, as evidenced by this photo of a store opening in Illinois in Spring 1957:

    http://outlet.historicimages.com/products/dk179

    (My apologies if the link doesn’t work correctly.)

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    It works, and thank you for posting it! Mystery solved.

  7. JohnG Says:

    Broadstreet’s was sold to Botany Industries in 1957, which also owned famous NYC haberdasher Weber & Heilbroner – so from then on they were “sister companies.” Here is a link to a W&H sign from 1929 that uses a very similar font. https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/weber-and-heilbroner-sign-503-fifth-avenue-new-york-new-news-photo/901964686.
    Here is a reference on Broadstreets, it notes that Broadstreets at its peak had a dozen stores in NY and Chicago: https://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/10/nyregion/ralph-schneider-86-ex-clothing-executive.html
    Since they had a bunch of stores in NYC, and this was a prime location near Empire State Bldg and Penn Station, I would not be surprised if this was one of their locations; and that maybe the Botany family of stores used similar fonts for their signs.

  8. JohnG Says:

    Follow-up: I found a picture of that exact store at that location dated 1929! Sign looks different, but the font is the same. Thanks again to Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/broadstreets-store-fifth-avenue-and-33rd-street-new-york-news-photo/901964228

  9. JohnG Says:

    Another shot from 1929, different angle: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/west-33rd-street-south-side-new-york-new-york-1929-news-photo/901972778

  10. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Very cool John G, thank you for sending those links!

  11. JohnG Says:

    One more link, this is a NYC tax photo from 1940 showing the ghost sign when it was new. Personally I liked the 1929 version better!

    http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/detail/NYCMA~5~5~171210~504513?sort=borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code&qvq=q:BLOCK%3D834%20AND%20Lot%3D48;sort:borough%2Cblock%2Clot%2Czip_code;lc:NYCMA~5~5&mi=0&trs=1

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: