Macy*s Flagship Makeover! But what about BROOKLYN (Former A&S Flagship)?
This is like a recurring story the past couple of days:
But they need to focus some of this attention to the Brooklyn store, which has after 16 years as Macy’s, still been left in the condition it was in under its last decade as Abraham & Straus (A&S), where after a series of flood damage and scaling back, the original retail space was reduced by about HALF, and the remaining space horribly cluttered in places. (Counters placed in the elevator areas, etc). The Cellar even remains on the 5th floor where A&S had their housewares dept. (and is now the top floor of the retail space. Would be more accurate as “The Attic”). The store was originally just as good or better than Macy’s!
Just found this “department Store Museum” entry, which has an old floor directory, which fits what I remembered growing up. Not sure what year this is from, but it shows the store in its full occupancy!
The Annex was the white building across Hoyt St. and connected by the bridge on upper floors. The stuff listed under “annex” (the electronics, etc) was on the ground floor (Livingston St. side only), and you had to exit the main store and walk down Livingston St. crossing Hoyt to get to it. That was later given to other tenants.
The pianos&organs and possibly IIRC some of the other non-apparel stuff (rugs, etc) listed in the fourth floor were actually in the annex too, but it was connected by the bridge over the street. You didn’t even know you were going through a bridge as you crossed it. (I remember playing on the pianos and organs there, and it prompted me to get a toy organ for Christmas, in the mid-70’s (along with the kids above me having a grand piano).
By 1981, the Santaland was there, with the toys around it (I believe the 8th floor had already been vacated by that time), and it was like a really nice passageway to “winter wonderland”.
That was not too long after closed off as well, becoming stock areas. (There is another bridge, on the 5th floor, to the parking garage that also occupies the annex building).
The upper floors became offices, the photo department, and other nonretail stuff. This is all the kind of stuff they are now talking about reducing in the 34th St. store. I hope they come around to doing it here as well. I clearly remember the 8th floor, as listed, and it even had an out-in-the-open stairway to the 9th floor, which was the employees only section. Why that had to engulf the next three floors down, I do not know.
Not listed in the directory, for some reason, was the basement. That’s now furniture (don’t know why new owner Macy’s won’t move it’s “Cellar” down there!) Back in the day, it may have been bargain stuff. I remember the little hot dog counter behind one of the escalators. It also had a mezzanine which is now long closed off. (probably the old building, which is at a different scale to the main one, so the floors are not level). And let’s not forget the IRT subway entrance; also long closed off. (It was right near the hot dog stand).
My mother mentions a puppet window they had every Christmas. I’m not sure I remember that. When I think of that, I most clearly remember stuff I’ve seen more recently in the windows of Macy’s and Saks. I don’t remember so much the windows of A&S (we usually just went straight into and out of the store, not doing anything outside), except that now, on the Livingston side, they remain whited out, and it makes that side of the street look desolate.
What I remember around Christmas was that huge tree with the large silver ornaments that hung from the middle of the first floor elevator bank! It was like entering a wonderland. Again, that place was better than Macy’s! Now, they’ve lined those banks with counters, and I think they only use one or two of the elevators.
I really hate the way it has been left, and it’s not Macy’s fault (as one might assume), this is basically the state it was in, in the later years under A&S, after the flood on the top floor, and they suffered financially. Again, everything is still cluttered on the rest of the floors. The ground floor is horrible, especially on busy days. It looks more like a cheap bargain store (with fancy decorations). The last two decades, I usually don’t even go in there anymore on my Christmas jaunts. I heard it was even known as “Ghetto Macy’s”, and that they send their overstock from other stores there for the area folks.
I always hoped Macy’s would fix it back up to its old glory, but as one person told me when I called the company a few years ago, “that store’s a different animal” (i.e. from the flagship on 34th). I guess they did not completely merge the management, and it’s still being run as A&S, basically. (Again; The Cellar still left on the 5th floor where it was under A&S).
I figured they’re probably now waiting for when they finish that total makeover of downtown Brooklyn, and turn it into the new Midtown. (Anchored by the Nets arena, and they wanted to pretty much mow down everything else in the area, and build all new).
Here’s another good tribute site that has a lot of pictures: