The lost Gimbels sign in a Midtown train station

Gimbelscloseup2016It’s not easy to see against the grimy tile wall.

Yet as you exit the PATH station beneath 33rd Street, you can just make out the letters G, L, and S.

It’s one of the last reminders of the Gimbels store, which for 76 years occupied its Herald Square spot on Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street.

Gimbels, of course, was a retail giant during the city’s 20th century department store era.


A little more downmarket than Macy’s across the street, the two behemoths had a fabled rivalry for decades until Gimbels gave up the ghost in 1986.

A major selling point for Gimbels were the underground passageways that took 34th Street subway and PATH riders right to the store’s entrances.


Gimbels is long gone, but the building, extensively revamped, is still there—it’s now the Manhattan Mall with a JC Penney as its flagship store.

Gimbels1905-1914mcnyA few other remnants of Gimbels continue to haunt Midtown. A faded Gimbels ad on a building on West 31st Street should still be there.

And though it has no Gimbels signage, this enchanting copper skybridge linking an upper floor of the Gimbels store to an annex over 32nd Street is a lovely site.

Hat tip to the eagle-eyed History Author Show!

[Images: MCNY]

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7 Responses to “The lost Gimbels sign in a Midtown train station”

  1. kcc414 Says:

    There is a plaque commemorating Mr Gimbel at Saks. Anyone know why? What’s the connection?

  2. Anne Michele Says:

    This New York Times link provides a fascinating timeline of the connection between Gimbels and Saks:

  3. petey Says:

    gimbel’s is gone 30 years?
    holy moly …

  4. Bo Rosny Says:

    I was in that station today and then walked in the tunnel from the PATH trains to the subway. There are windows in the tunnel where you can see construction going on, and there was a clearly-visible Korvette’s sign with steps leading from the tunnel like there used to be an entrance to the store there. Here is a picture from Wikipedia that was taken a few weeks ago (not my own):
    I can’t imagine it will be visible for long, you should definitely check it out.

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks so much for this…I will head up there for this relic of 1960s/1970s New York as soon as I can!

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

    […] the faded and forgotten Gimbels sign inside the 33rd Street PATH station? Turns out another relic of New York’s department store […]

  7. Stephen Smith Says:

    You have the stores positions flip-flopped.
    It was Macy’s that was ‘downmarket.’
    Gimbel’s never had basement sales.
    My mother wouldn’t have been seen in Macy’s, she said it was the ‘blue collar’ store.
    Yes, my family was 100% loyal to Gimbel’s in that rivalry, and we know who the downmarket store was, …not Gimbel’s.

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