Posts Tagged ‘Scribners Bookstore’

The elegant buildings now home to chain stores

January 4, 2012

It’s the story of New York City’s retail life.

The original tenant of a beautiful storefront or commercial building bites the dust.

The now historic storefront remains—but the new tenant is nothing like the well-heeled old one.

Consider 597 Fifth Avenue, at 48th Street (left, in a NYPL photo), a glass and iron beauty with three stories and a commanding grand staircase.

It was home to Scribners bookstore from 1913 to 1989.

Today it’s a Sephora, the beauty porn chain store.

I’m surprised Duane Reade didn’t take over this gorgeous space on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street, the longtime headquarters of New York Savings Bank (from a 1940s Life magazine piece, clearly at Christmastime).

It served as a rug store in the 1990s and then put in a brief run as a Balducci’s before CVS moved in.

Those superhigh ceilings and marble walls make it a very imposing place to pick up cold meds and soda.