Posts Tagged ‘B. Altman’s’

Addresses carved into Lower East Side corners

January 2, 2014

These old-school street name carvings pop up in the city’s tenement districts—and few neighborhoods have as high a concentration of tenements as the Lower East Side and East Village.

Avenuecaddresscarving

Avenue C above Houston Street was rebranded the East Village in the 1960s. But this red-brick residence with the graffiti tag on the upper left has the vibe of the LES.

Orchardhestercornersign

Above, turn-of-the-century Public School 42 notes its address: on the corner of Hester and Orchard Streets.

Interestingly, this is now known as the Benjamin Altman school, after the department store founder, the son of German immigrants who opened his first dry-goods store on nearby Attorney Street.

Divisonandpikesign

Division and Pike Streets are firmly in Lower East Side territory. Thanks to Ephemeral reader Iman for the great snap!

Shopping along Ladies’ Mile: then and now

May 30, 2009

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. 

Bedbathandbeyond

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. 

Siegelcooperoldphoto

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.

B. Altman’s Skunk Coat: Only $395

November 14, 2008

For the sophisticated New York City woman circa 1941: her very own “greatcoat” made from dyed or natural skunk. The copy says, “A ‘good investment’ fur…a Christmas gift that will make her eyes sparkle!”

This ad ran in the December 9, 1941 edition of The New York Times:

skunkcoatad skunkcoatad2

MU 9-7000, for Murray Hill

B. Altman and Company was one of New York’s most fashionable department stores, starting out on Third Avenue and 10th Street in 1865, then moving to Ladies Mile on 19th Street and Sixth Avenue in the late 1800s. In 1906, Altman’s opened its famous block-long flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. 

baltmans

When department stores all over the city fell out of favor, so did B. Altman. It closed in 1989; the Fifth Avenue store is now CUNY’s Graduate Center.