When S. Klein’s store dominated Union Square

A few weeks ago, a post of a 1970s-era photo of Mays discount department store on 14th Street at Union Square brought in many comments about the old S. Klein store that once stood across the street.


Here’s an old postcard of the store and 14th Street looking east, occupying the space where Zeckendorf Towers and the Food Emporium are today.

Wow, look at the Third and Second Avenue Elevated train lines in the distance!

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11 Responses to “When S. Klein’s store dominated Union Square”

  1. Bruce Bethany Says:

    During the ’70s I walked my dog in Union Square at 2:00 AM, after work. The park was filled with junkies, muggers, drug pushers and some homeless. I knew the Zeckendorf project would dramatically improve the area. leading to gentrification of Union Square. The people who defended Kleins were rent-controlled drones terrified of
    any upgrade of the area. BB

    • Keith Goldstein Says:

      Calling those who defend affordable housing “rent controlled drones” is totally off the mark. Gentrification is one thing, improving quality of life is another. There has been no compromise. Public housing does not work. Paying for an affordable apartment one month, getting pushed out the next because a hi-rise with 5 times 0r more the affordable rent goes up across the street seems a bit unfair doesn’t it?

  2. Laura Says:

    I remember S. Klein’s. We used to shop at the one in Yonkers, NY and had only been to the Union Square location once, since parking was difficult. Everyone simply called it “Klein’s” back then, and it was the go-to place for clothing, coats, housewares, etc., while school supplies and 45 records were purchased at Woolworth’s and W.T. Grant’s.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Woolworth’s was a great place for 45s. I have been trying to find a photo of the old Woolworth’s in the East Village and West Village, but no luck….

  4. Tony S. Says:

    Tony says: At 13, in the thirties I was delivery boy for the Kramer Tie Co. on Canal St. and Mr. Kramer would say “you know Tony the address is right around the corner from Klein on the Square”. Take the subway & get off at l4th St. March 14, 2016

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    My father worked as a delivery boy or stock boy at Klein’s in the early 1950s but snuck out to play pool at Julian’s across the street whenever he could. A very different Union Square than the one of 2016.

  6. Timothy Grier Says:

    I remember the office lights of the Con Ed building would be left on at night to form a cross during the Christmas season back in the sixties.

  7. Aunt Deb Says:

    My Mom & Dad wpuld take us shopping there 2-3x a year. Easter & winter coats.

  8. Florence Marmor Says:

    May’s Department Store is on the site of the old Orbach’s store. It was located here until Orbach’s moved to 34th St. 14th St. was a mecca for lower priced department stores like Norton’s.

  9. Edward Carlon Says:

    I was in that Mays in 1974! Was Klein’s there then?

  10. michael porrazzo Says:

    My father had a liquor store at 107 east 14th street, which was part of the Kleins building. I loved to work there as a kid. We were there when Kleins was still in business. There were many legendary businesses there, including the automat, Luchows, the Italian Kitchen, Tads, and of course, the Union Square subway station, which was like an underground shopping center. When Kleins closed, the writing was on the wall. While some look at 14th street now and see the beauty of the new, others remember sees the memories of the past. As Lennon wrote, some things change forever, not for better…

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