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1957 New York Trip View From Empire State Building Observatory (4)

1957 New York Trip View From Empire State Building Observatory (4)

Hotel Statler

The Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street from Penn Station, was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1919 and managed by Ellsworth Statler’s company. The hotel was acquired by the Hotels Statler Company in 1948 and renamed the New York Statler Hotel, operated as The Statler Hilton, then as the New York Penta, until it reverted to the Hotel Pennsylvania. The hotel is currently owned by Vornado Realty Trust.

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Penn Station

Pennsylvania Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), its builder and original tenant, and shares its name with several stations in other cities. The current facility is the substantially remodeled underground remnant of a much grander station building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and completed in 1910. The original Pennsylvania Station was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style, but was demolished in 1963. The station was moved underground, and the Pennsylvania Plaza complex, including the fourth and current Madison Square Garden, was completed in 1968.

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Gimbel Brothers (Gimbels) was an American department store corporation from 1887 until 1987. The company is known for creating the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest parade in the country. Gimbels was also once the largest department store chain in the country. By the time of its closure in 1987, Gimbels had 36 stores throughout the United States.


The company, founded by a young Bavarian Jewish immigrant, Adam Gimbel, began as a general store in Vincennes, Indiana. After a brief stay in Danville, Illinois, Gimbel relocated in 1887 to the then boom-town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The new store quickly became the leading department store in Milwaukee. However, with eight sons Adam Gimbel saw that one store, no matter how successful, would not accommodate his family’s future. As a joke of the time put it, he had "a surplus of capital and a surplus of Gimbels".

In 1894, Gimbel acquired the Granville Haines store in Philadelphia, and in 1910, opened another branch in New York City. With its arrival in New York, Gimbels prospered, and soon became the primary rival to the leading Herald Square retailer, Macy’s. This rivalry entered into the popular argot: "Would Macy’s tell Gimbels?" To distinguish itself from Herald Square neighbors, Gimbels’ advertising promised more: "Select, don’t settle."

Flagship store

Gimbels New York flagship was located in the cluster of large department stores that surrounded Herald Square. Designed by architect Daniel Burnham, the structure, which once offered 27 acres (110,000 m2) of selling space, has since been modernized and entirely revamped. It now houses the Manhattan Mall, a variety of individual stores. When this building opened in 1910, a major selling point was its many doors leading to the Herald Square subway station; due to such easy access, by the time Gimbels closed in 1986, this store had the highest rate of "shrinkage", or shoplifting losses, in the world. Doors also opened to a pedestrian passage under 33rd Street, connecting Penn Station to the subway stations. This "Gimbels Corridor" was closed in the 1970s for reasons of liability during a period of high crime rates. After conversion to the Manhattan Mall, parts of the former store were occupied by a mid-town branch of Brooklyn’s Abraham & Straus and still later by Stern’s. Today, the lower two levels are occupied by JC Penney. The building that housed a Gimbels branch at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue remains, but has been converted to apartments.

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Posted by Photo Nut 2011 on 2011-03-17 06:06:21

Tagged: , Black And White , New York , Gimbels , Hotel Statler , Macy’s , Penn Station

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