Monday, September 30, 2013

When the Bowery Ballroom was a shoe store and other scenes from Delancey Street in the 1930s

The Tree-Mark Shoe Store at 6-8 Delancey Street. You may know this building today as the Bowery Ballroom, a music venue since 1997. (Wurts Brothers, date unknown, both courtesy NYPL)





The interior of the shoe store, 1930 (Pic courtesy MCNY)

8 Delancey Street. Tree-Mark shoe store, interior.

This building has had a rocky history, according to historian Matthew Postal.  Using remnants of an old theater at this spot, the current building was constructed in 1928 as a retail store, but the stock market crash the following year ensured tenants never stayed for long.  Tree-Mark was home here the longest, almost thirty years.

Tree-Mark Shoe Stores, a family-owned establishment since 1919, was an affordable shoe outlet with three locations in New York by the late 1950s -- the original Delancey Street location, one off Herald Square and another on Kingsbridge Road n the Bronx.

"Comfort, rather than high style, is the goal," the New York Times mentioned in a fashion write-up of the shoe franchise.  "However, it is possible to get a good-looking pump with a stacked heel for as little as $13.95."  In a later article about the popularity of boots, Tree-Mark is mentioned as "specializ[ing] in boots for women with larger than average calves."

The advertisement, at right, is from a 1934 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  "8,000 customers cordially recommend them."

On an unrelated note, in 1971, employees at the Herald Square location all chipped in to buy a lottery ticket and won $100,000.
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Here's a couple bonus photos of life along Delancey Street in the 1930s. The first captures the southwest corner of Delancey and Ludlow. Judging from this 1929 picture of the same corner, that building being torn down is a public school.  Today that is the location of the swanky lounge The DL.


And here's the northeast corner of Delancey and Essex, Wurts Brothers, date unknown (NYPL)  Outside of the Blue Building towering over it all, this street corner isn't that much different today.



3 comments:

  1. Thanks -- always enjoy seeing historical pics of the LES. Judging from the sign on the Essex St Market, it looks like it was part of the NYC govt's initiative to get rid of pushcarts and other street sellers and replace them with city-run establishments like this, is that correct?

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  2. What if you had no feet?

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  3. Great pic, the photo is taken of Essex & Delancey St is of the mid 1940's

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