Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shopping Saturday - Browsing in the Bronx and Downtown NYC

Living in the Bronx, our big shopping excursion would be to Fordham Road, where chain clothing and shoe stores lined the big street leading to the Grand Concourse and major emporiums like Alexander's (founded by the Farkas family, but not my Farkas family). After shopping, we might visit Krum's for a malted and then walk back to the bus (and transfer to a second bus or the subway for the trip home).

It was really a shopping crossroads and on a busy Saturday, you could always count on meeting someone you knew. (In those days, there were no Sunday shopping hours, so Saturday was THE big day for browsing and buying.) One day, as a teenager, I had emptied my wallet and pockets buying a new sweater and skirt for date night that evening. Although I usually had subway tokens in my penny loafers in case of emergency, there were none that day. I stood at the bus stop and waited for nearly an hour until someone I knew (some adult, but I don't remember who) came by and lent me the 20 cents needed to board and get home! Big borough but small world.

Back to the late, great New York City stores that filled the newspaper ads of my childhood. Our penny loafers came from Best & Co, and lasted for more than a decade. Alas, Best & Co is long gone. For years I would walk past B. Altman at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, on my way to a job at 31st Street and Sixth Avenue (renamed "Avenue of the Americas" but no self-respecting New Yorker ever called it that, ever). Above is the B. Altman building, which is now a graduate school center of the City University of NY.

The list of once thriving and now defunct NYC stores that I remember seeing (occasionally shopping in) goes on and on: Peck & Peck, Simon's, A & S, Gimbel's, Arnold Constable, Bonwit Teller, May's, S. Klein, Korvette's.


  1. I remember the Alexanders down on the Grand Concourse - of course this was growing up in the 1970s when it was far past its heyday - we'd visit my aunt who lived over on Elm Place and then go walk up to go shopping.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting! Do you remember Krum's? Or Jahn's (the really big deal ice cream place, where the "kitchen sink" sundae came in a sink-sized bowl)?