View Full Version : 1552 Broadway - The I. Miller Shoe Building (Times Square) - by Louis H. Friedland

December 5th, 2007, 12:18 PM
Renovation / restoration of the facade of this little jewel of a building at 1552 Broadway on the east side of Times Square at Broadway & West 46th Street is in the works.

The current building is the "I. Miller Shoes Building". That company originally leased the site in 1920 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F03E0D7173CE533A25750C2A9649D94 6195D6CF):

$4,635,000 TIMES SQ. LEASE
Shoe Manufacturer Takes Over Broadway Corner With Option to Buy.

December 23, 1920, Thursday
Section: Real Estate

The four-story building on the northeast corner of Forty-sixth Street and Broadway has been leased for a long term of years by I. Miller, shoe manufacturer, with an option to purchase the property for $1,000,000.

The current building went up in 1926 - 1929.

In 2002, when the Broadway musical version (http://www.talkinbroadway.com/world/SweetSmell.html) of the great 1957 NYC film "Sweet Smell of Success (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Smell_of_Success)" was about to open, the NY Times took a tour of Times Square to check out what still existed from that black and white world of 40+ years earilier. The Times reported (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406E6DE1130F933A25750C0A9649C8B 63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all):

... Opposite Falco's building is one of Broadway's gems, unaltered but obscured, the former I. Miller shoe store (1929). The two-story box with the limestone facade still features statues of Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Mary Pickford and Rosa Ponselle in second-story niches. The original sign, which made a cameo appearance in the film, is either gone or covered over by billboards and awnings hawking the T.G.I. Friday's restaurant inside.

The Community Board 5 Calendar for October showed this application
"For work on designated properties" submitted by Tobin + Parnes Design Enterprises:

Installation of new two story Broadway storefront to replicate original building storefront; new storefront and windoow infill on 46th Street facade to replicate orignal elements; restoration of 46th Street facade including four statues and parapet; inistallatin of new awnings, blade sign, installation of two new roof mounted signs; reconstruction of existing roof mounted structural support for signage.

It was posted HERE (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=75659&postcount=206) two years ago (December 7, 2005) that the Riese group had re-purchased the building:

Dennis Riese just bought back the T.G.I.Friday's building at 1552 Broadway — one of his family's previously owned pieces — for $48 million, or about $3,200 a foot.

In 1999, during a massive restructuring, Northstar had bought the 46th St. property along with 729 Seventh Ave., and then leased them back to the family company, National Restaurant Management, developed by the late Murray Riese.

Dennis, now chairman of the Riese Organization and Murray's son, also bought back the retail condo at 729 7th Ave. last June.


And this was posted HERE (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=149969&postcount=373) last winter (February 22, 2007):

The TGIF gang turned their cock-eyed talents on this great old building at
the NE corner of Broadway / W. 46th (aka 1552 Broadway) in the heart of Times Square:


The original (now partially hidden behind the signs):


Some history (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E5D7153FF934A2575BC0A9619582 60) about this little building:
Shoes for Show Folks
Q. Looming over Times Square, on the north side of 46th Street just east of Broadway, are four statues of great actresses from the 1920's in some of their most famous roles. Above them is an inscription saying that ''famous show folks'' bought their shoes at this shop. What was the shop, and who put up those statues?
A. Israel Miller, a shoemaker from Poland, arrived in New York in 1892 and began making shoes for theatrical productions. His designs were popular with many vaudeville performers, who turned to him to produce their personal footwear. In 1911 he opened a small store in a brownstone at 1552 Broadway at 46th Street, which he soon expanded into the adjacent property at 1554 Broadway, as well as to the showrooms on the upper floors of both buildings.
When he acquired long-term control of the property in 1926, Mr. Miller unified the buildings' facades, using marble with granite trim and bronze fittings around the showcase windows. The wall along West 46th Street, beneath the cornice, bears the inscription, ''THE SHOW FOLKS SHOESHOP DEDICATED TO BEAUTY IN FOOTWEAR.''
Niches were added along the wall to honor four of New York's then-favorite actresses. Mr. Miller released a public ballot to pick actresses in drama, musical comedy, opera and film. The winners were: Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, Marilyn Miller as Sunny, Rosa Ponselle as Norma and Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Mr. Miller commissioned Alexander Sterling Calder to make these sculptures, which were unveiled on Oct. 20, 1929.
In 1990 the organization ''Save the Theaters,'' seeking landmark status for the facade, prepared a report for the Landmarks Preservation Commission with this information. Landmark status was denied. In NYC Business Reigns Over All ...
Christmas cheer all round as Riese regains 1552 B'way

Real Estate Weekly (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3601/is_17_52/ai_n15978926)
Dec 7, 2005

Dennis Riese, chairman of the Riese Organization, got the best Christmas gift he could have asked for this week when he closed on a $48 million deal to buy "the most important property" in his career.

Riese paid a whopping $3970 per square foot for the 12,091 s/f 1552 Broadway, home of the World's most popular and successful T.G.I. Friday's.

It was money well spent, according to Riese, who has been credited with reversing the fortunes of the family-run firm and returning it to its status as one of the city's premier restaurant companies.

"Not only have I turned the family's fortunes back around completely, but I am proud to own one of the corners of the Crossroads of the World," said Riese.

1552 Broadway was one of two Times Square properties that were originally owned by National Restaurants Management, Inc. (NRMI), the company developed by Dennis' father, the late Murray Riese. The other property is the retail condominium at 729 7th Avenue. In 1999, the two properties were sold to the New York City-based REIT, Northstar, and were then simultaneously leased back to NRMI, as the main piece of a massive re-structuring of all the Riese properties.


December 5th, 2007, 12:24 PM
From Lost New York City (http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/) blogspot ...

Miracle on W. 46th Street (http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2007/02/miracle-on-w-46th-street.html)

February 14, 2007

http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUAtuYSvI/AAAAAAAAAGg/ZCIdtSDwNNA/s400/Shoe+Shop.jpg (http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUAtuYSvI/AAAAAAAAAGg/ZCIdtSDwNNA/s1600-h/Shoe+Shop.jpg)

Is the TGI Friday restaurant corporation secretly a lover of history and architecture?

I ask this only because I could never fathom how the wonderful facade of the I. Miller Building on the northeast corner of 46th Street and Seventh Avenue just off Times Square has survived all these years, and not been covered over by the red-and-white billboard of TGIF, which occupied the ground floor space of the buidling.

Passersby who occasionally look up may know this building better as the former vainglorious shoe emporium which proclaimed in carved words still visible: "The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear." Now there's a slogan. Below this motto stand four inset statues, all great women of the performing arts in their separate disciplines. They are, from left to right: Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy; Rosa Ponselle in "Norma"; Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia; and Marilyn Miller in the title role in the musical "Sunny."

http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUFtuYSwI/AAAAAAAAAGo/KDRK7PY1o7U/s400/Barrymore.jpg (http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUFtuYSwI/AAAAAAAAAGo/KDRK7PY1o7U/s1600-h/Barrymore.jpg)

I doubt most of the swarming tourists eating their super nachos in TGIF know who any of these once-great stars are, with the possible exception of Ethel (that's her above), since Drew Barrymore has kept the name of that acting clan alive. (Actually, the "Ethel" in her name IS blocked by the TGIF sign, so folks might think that is Drew up there.) And silent film buffs will remember Pickford. Ponselle and Miller have suffered the greatest fall-off in fame. Miller (below) was once the preeminent musical theatre star of her day. She scored a hit with "Sunny" just four years before this statue was unveiled; she died seven years later.

http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUKtuYSxI/AAAAAAAAAGw/wro3C6jxJt4/s400/Miller.jpg (http://bp3.blogger.com/_nswHPYi_dEw/RdMUKtuYSxI/AAAAAAAAAGw/wro3C6jxJt4/s1600-h/Miller.jpg)

It's a lovely and poignant frieze to gaze upon, a testimony to the fleeting fame of the performers that have tried their luck in the adjoining streets over the past 100 or so years. And a quick check in the AIA Guide reveals why it's survived. Apparently, the exterior was landmarked in 1999. (How is suffered through the Times Square boom years leading up until then is another question.) This is probably because the statues were all sculpted by A. Stirling Calder, Alexander's pa, and the same guy who carved George Washington under the Washington Arch. They date from 1929. So we'll be able to enjoy the visages of these four women for years to come. If only the landlord would polish them up a bit.

P.S. — Another weird fact: I. Miller hired Andy Warhol as its chief illustrator in the mid-1950s.

December 5th, 2007, 12:28 PM
I. Miller add for shoes & The Ziegfeld Follies (http://www.musicals101.com/ziegwho.htm) sometime in the 1920s ...



December 5th, 2007, 12:48 PM
Another weird fact: I. Miller hired Andy Warhol (http://www.warholstars.org/warhol1/5serendipity.html) as its chief illustrator in the mid-1950s.


By hiring Warhol as their sole illustrator, I. Miller was attempting to modernize their image through innovative graphic design. According to Geraldine Stutz, I. Miller's vice-president at the time, it was the start of an era when one "sold the sizzle and not the steak."11 I. Miller was not just selling shoes, they were selling a glamorous lifestyle. As with Tina S. Fredericks who hired Warhol for one of his first assignments in New York, Stutz had previously been the art director for Glamour magazine before becoming head of the retail division of I. Miller. Warhol worked for I. Miller until 1957 when the store was bought by Genesco, Inc.12

Geraldine Stutz:
"I. Miller was a beautiful old name, fashion name, in shoes. Probably the most recognizable name in shoes... and shoes are synonymous with I. Miller. That was a reputation that had been built by 'old' I. Miller, whose name was Israel, Ivan Israel... who was a theatrical shoe maker with enormous flair for promotion. He had built this name so that it was interchangeable with shoe fashion in this country... it was a successful business, and the name was magic, but it had got a little old-hat, a little passé... slightly over-the-hill. The campaign that Peter [Palazzo] designed and that Andy was the artist [for]... made an enormous difference in how the name 'I. Miller' was perceived by women. It made it contemporary, up-to-date."13According to I. Miller's art director, Peter Palazzo, Warhol was hired after another illustrator, Bob Gill, left the company.14 Warhol did the drawings for the retail ads only which were mostly used for the Sunday edition of the New York Times, although they also occasionally appeared in the New York Herald Tribune and "rarely" in the New York News. The budget was limited and Warhol was contracted to do a designated amount of ads for a specific fee. Deadlines were generally 2 or 3 days to a week and sometimes even a day or a few hours.15 Warhol was, as Tina S. Fredericks previously characterized him, "an art director's dream come true."16 He was not precious about his work, making whatever changes were required in a short space of time.

The I. Miller ads were modern and innovative, featuring stylized versions of their shoes rather than facsimile reproductions. Repetition was sometimes employed to emphasize a product. One advertisement, proclaiming "the well-heeled look on fashion" featured Warhol's drawings of heels repeated across the ad, similar to the repetition he later employed in works such as 100 Cans and S & H Green Stamps. Sometimes the ads didn't include shoes at all. A Happy Easter advertisement featured a Warhol drawing of a single lily. An ad inviting the reader to visit the Shoe Salon at Henri Bendel featured roughly printed alternate black and white stripes - the Bendel trademark. Warhol's stripes were roughly drawn and the imperfections maintained in the ad.


Warhol would usually present numerous different drawings to I. Miller and they would choose which ones to use. He sold the unused drawings at Serendipity 3, a cafe boutique which had opened in September 1954 at 234 East 58th Street by Stephen Bruce and Calvin Holt.17 In 1958 they would move to a larger premises at at 225 East 60th Street.

Andy Warhol and Stephen Bruce
at the second Serendipity 3 (1962)
(Photo: John Ardoin)


Warhol used blotted line (http://www.warhol.org/education/outreach_programs.html) to create his famous commercial illustrations
from the 1950’s such as his 25 Cats Name Sam, A is for Alphabet,
and I. Miller shoe illustrations.

http://www.wcma.org/img/press_thumbnails/07Warhol/Warhol_My_Shoe_sm.jpg (http://www.wcma.org/press/07/Big_Images/07Warhol/Warhol_Shoe_Lg.jpg)


Diamond Dust (http://www.humanflowerproject.com/index.php/weblog/comments/shoe_gardens/) (1980) by Andy Warhol
Image: Galleria Rosini (http://www.galleriarosini.com/Images/w/Shoes.jpg)

Jameson’s essay on Late Capitalism contrasts Van Gogh’s shoe paintings (http://www.mcs.csuhayward.edu/~malek/Impression/Gogh/Gogh06.html) with
Andy Warhol’s silkscreens of footwear. Vincent, you may remember, started
out to be a preacher, but Warhol’s first livelihood was (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/warhol_a.html) commercial art: “In
the mid-’50s he became the chief illustrator for I. Miller Shoes, and in 1957
a shoe advertisement won him the Art Director’s Club Medal.” After marching
into the art world with Brillo Boxes and Campbell Soup cans, he returned to shoes (http://secretlifeofshoes.blogspot.com/2005/04/andy-warhol-shoes.html)
in his Diamond Dust (http://www.galleriarosini.com/Images/w/Shoes.jpg) series of 1980. Of course, he was fond of flower imagery, too. (http://humanflowerproject.com/index.php/weblog/comments/okeefe_and_warhol/)

December 5th, 2007, 12:49 PM
Window shopping at an I. Miller shop, circa 1930:


December 5th, 2007, 12:57 PM
In Times Square, a New Landmark:
I. Miller Building, With 4 Calder Sculptures

There's No Business Like Shoe Business

NY TIMES (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905EEDF143DF937A35754C0A96F9582 60)
July 4, 1999

On Broadway's newest landmark are four delightful sculptures by Alexander Calder.

Alexander Stirling Calder, that is; the father of the mobile artist and a respected sculptor himself, responsible for one of the statues of George Washington on the arch at Washington Square in Greenwich Village.
His work adorns the former I. Miller Building at Broadway and 46th Street -- ''The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated To Beavty In Footwear,'' as the cornice still decrees -- which was designated a landmark Tuesday by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

''The wonderful 'shoe' building just makes you smile as you walk past,'' said the commission chairwoman, Jennifer J. Raab.

A self-described history buff, Dennis Riese, the chairman, president and chief executive of the Riese Organization, which owns the four-story structure, said: ''My building is one of the few remaining properties in Times Square that has any historical significance. I was really all in favor of preserving this facade.'' Mr. Riese plans to open a 325-seat T. G. I. Friday restaurant there in October.

In 1927, Calder pere was commissioned to produce four statues for the facade of a luxurious new store that Israel Miller was planning in Times Square. Miller, a Polish immigrant, had earned his reputation as a shoemaker for theatrical productions and then to the stars themselves.

Paying homage to the theater, Miller invited the public to vote for its favorite actresses. Their likenesses would be placed in gold-tiled niches above the shop windows of the building, designed by Louis H. Friedland.

And the winners were: for opera, Rosa Ponselle in the title role of ''Norma''; for movies, Mary Pickford in the title role of ''Little Lord Fauntleroy'' (1921); for musical comedy, Marilyn Miller in the title role of ''Sunny'' (1925) and for drama, Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, a non-title role.

''A theater enthusiast from the age of 6, when he was taken to see Edwin Booth in Hamlet, Calder especially enjoyed the I. Miller project because it involved working with performers,'' said the landmarks designation report. The store opened in 1929, with Mayor Jimmy Walker and 3,000 others in attendance, and operated through the 1970's.

The Riese family bought the building in 1983. It is offering to lease or sell two enormous billboard structures on the Broadway side of the building. The landmarks designation does not require their removal.

Mr. Riese said he hoped to ''polish up the facade, polish up the statues and put nice architectural spotlights on them.'' Conceding that his father and uncle, Murray and Irving, had not paid much attention to maintaining the building in the past, he added: ''It survived by accident in those years. Now, it's going to survive by design.''

December 5th, 2007, 01:08 PM
... Miller invited the public to vote for its favorite actresses. Their likenesses would be placed in gold-tiled niches above the shop windows of the building, designed by Louis H. Friedland.

And the winners were: for opera, Rosa Ponselle in the title role of ''Norma''; for movies, Mary Pickford in the title role of ''Little Lord Fauntleroy'' (1921); for musical comedy, Marilyn Miller in the title role of ''Sunny'' (1925) and for drama, Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, a non-title role.


Marilyn Miller in Sally
Herald Tribune (http://www.solowey.com/Portraits/1929TP.html) December 29, 1929

Marilyn Miller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Miller) (born Mary Ellen Reynolds) (September 1, 1898 – April 7, 1936) was one of the most popular Broadway musical stars of the 1920s and early 1930s. She was an accomplished tap dancer, singer and actress, but it was the combination of these talents that endeared her to audiences. On stage she usually played rags-to-riches Cinderella characters who lived happily ever after. By contrast her personal life was marked by tragedy and illness, ending in her untimely death at age 37.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Marilyn_Miller.jpg (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Marilyn_Miller.jpg)

... A decaying sculpture of Miller, in the title role of Sunny, can still be seen atop the old I. Miller
[no relation] Building on West 46th Street just off Broadway in Manhattan ...


Marilyn Miller as Sally on the I. Miller Building
(image reversed (http://www.dkimages.com/discover/Home/Geography/North-America/United-States/Mid-Atlantic-States/New-York/Cities/New-York-City/Theater-District/Historic-Buildings/Miller-Building/Alexander-Stirling-Calder-Sc.../Marilyn-Miller-American-Actress/Marilyn-Miller-American--1.html))


December 5th, 2007, 01:24 PM
Thank you lofter for taking a break from holiday tree trimming to share this with us :P. On a side note, several years ago someone at NY Times came across a lot of original Warhol artwork that consisted of shoe illustration ads.

December 5th, 2007, 01:43 PM
Thank you lofter for taking a break from holiday tree trimming to share this with us :P.

Speaking of holiday tree trimming, Grinches of all sorts should get thee around the corner from here to the Booth Theater on West 45th to see "The Seafarer (http://www.broadwayworld.com/showinfo.cfm?showid=5617)", written and directed by Conor McPherson.

It's a fantastic production of a nasty and funny play, which was done last year in London to much acclaim (http://arts.guardian.co.uk/critic/review/0,,1883890,00.html).

Highly recommended. Particularly for those familiar with a drink or two.

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif

December 5th, 2007, 01:46 PM
I'd like to nominate this thread as gayest of 2007 ...

There's a character or two in "The Seafarer" who might argue with you about that.

Supposedly the thread would have to be from County Cork to lay claim to that title :cool: .

February 9th, 2008, 07:00 PM
A Little Jewel Box of a Shoe Store

RAZZLE-DAZZLE Around 1910, great billboards, left, had sprouted from the brownstones at Broadway and
46th Street that would later be occupied by the I. Miller shoe store. The building is still used for display ads,
far left.

Published: February 10, 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/realestate/10scap.html)

THE shoe designer Israel Miller built an unusual series of stores in the 1920s and 1930s, none more remarkable than his arresting little gem, rebuilt in 1926 at the northeast corner of Broadway and 46th Street.

His architect, Louis Friedland, sought to provide a retail store as dignified and elegant as Mr. Miller’s sophisticated footwear. But as it happened, raucous billboards held sway over the Broadway side. Only on 46th Street did Mr. Miller realize his sleek vision of limestone, marble, gold mosaic and four statues of famous actresses.

Born in Poland, Mr. Miller came to New York in the 1890s via Paris and soon specialized in bespoke shoes for dancers and actors. Branching out, he began a chain that grew to 16 stores by the time of his death in 1929.

About 1915, Mr. Miller leased store space in 1554 Broadway in an old brownstone just north of 46th Street.

By the 1910s, the stoops of this and the corner building at 1552 Broadway had already been removed and the ground floors rebuilt for stores. Great billboards promoting Gimbels and Crystal Domino Sugar sprouted from their former brownstone sobriety.

In 1926, Mr. Miller took over both buildings, using the upper floors for offices and rebuilding the exterior. His renovated store, by that time styled as I. Miller, opened there in November 1926.

A preliminary rendering located by Jack Goldstein, a preservationist, shows a prim, elegant structure that would not be out of place on Madison or even Fifth Avenue. The 46th Street side had five window bays separated by four sculpture niches.

The rendering shows the Broadway facade free of the huge signs that had taken over the area, with only a modernistic two-story-high storefront topped by an unobtrusive facade, a simple frieze and slight cornice. At the top was a modest oval sign with the name of the store.

Research by Gale Harris of the Landmarks Preservation Commission suggests that the chaste intentions for the Broadway facade were thwarted by a pre-existing billboard lease that could not be broken. This would explain the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the finished building in the earliest known photograph, from 1940: giant advertisements on Broadway, but a sophisticated little shop on 46th Street.

The facade was finished in polished marble and bronze set into limestone, completely plain except for softly, almost invisibly, deckled keystones. The third and fourth floors were merely of cast stone, but the four sculpture niches on the third floor are lined with glittery gold mosaics, and the parapet wall bore the inscription “The show folks’ shoe shop dedicated to beauty in footwear.’’

In October 1926, as the new store neared completion, an I. Miller advertisement in The New York Times read, “The smartest oxford adopts the newest wine-toned leathers,” which included “claret suede” and “burgundy crocodile,” the “perfect complement for your wine-toned costume!”

In September 1927, the store announced that the niches would be occupied by statues of women from the fields of drama, musical comedy, opera and motion pictures. Ethel Barrymore, representing drama, would be shown as Ophelia in “Hamlet”; Marilyn Miller (musical comedy) as Sunny (from the play of that name); Rosa Ponselle (opera) as Leonora in “La Forza del Destino”; and Mary Pickford (motion pictures) as Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The statues were designed by Alexander Stirling Calder, the father of Alexander Calder, who had studied under Thomas Eakins and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He carved the four women in what appears to be stone; Miss Ponselle was ultimately depicted in the title role of “Norma.”

In 1926, four niches were added along 46th Street for statues of four prominent women in the arts.

Work was inexplicably delayed, and the unveiling took place only in October 1929, with Miss Ponselle, Miss Miller and other prominent theater people in attendance. Israel Miller did not attend — he died that August, leaving an estate exceeding $5 million.

The 1940 photograph shows that I. Miller, too, eventually joined the advertising bandwagon, with a billboard of its own on the roof that read, “I. Miller — Beautiful Shoes.” Although the I. Miller chain passed out of family hands, the store remained in operation there into the 1970s.

Today, Israel Miller’s building has descended to a sorry state, with brutish plastic signage in minimal box frames, broken marble trim and the limestone stained by dirt. Miss Barrymore gazes up, as if pleading for a hot shower.

The building received landmark designation in 1999. Riese Restaurants, which now occupies it, is working with the Manhattan architectural firm of Tobin & Parnes Design Enterprises on cleaning and repairs.

Robert Parnes, a principal in the firm, said that the work would begin this spring and that although the billboards would remain in front, plans call for polishing the side-street half of Israel Miller’s decorous gesture to beauty in a billboard jungle.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

February 9th, 2008, 08:44 PM
Note in the above photo, the second floor windows with the reverse curved corners.

Robert Stern uses a version of this at 15CPW:


You can see this window treatment on many buildings from the 1920's. I always associate it with up-scale buildings from the era..

Here it is at the River House:


Does anyone know if this architectural embellishment has a name? Origin?

February 9th, 2008, 09:09 PM
The Window Glossary (http://www.wdma.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3687) seems to cover just about every term in the book ... except the one you mention :confused:

February 9th, 2008, 09:39 PM
If it were a simple molding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molding_(decorative)) it might be termed an Ovolo (http://www.traditional-building.com/article/images/ovolo.gif) ...


The Cyma decorative molding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molding_(decorative)) seems to echo the reverse curve shape ...
Cyma — molding of double curvature, combining the convex ovolo and concave cavetto.
When the concave part is uppermost, it is called a cyma recta ...

This seems to be what has us stuck ...

When you understand moldings (http://www.traditional-building.com/article/moldtext.htm), you understand much about classical architecture --

the foundation of all traditional design.

Crowning Moldings -- Cyma Recta (http://www.traditional-building.com/article/moldfg02.htm)

http://www.traditional-building.com/article/images/molfig02.gif (http://www.traditional-building.com/article/images/molfig02.gif)


February 9th, 2008, 09:53 PM
This is a beautiful little building. It's a shame that the signs won't be removed from the front.

February 9th, 2008, 10:28 PM
I recently spoke with some guys working on the plan for this building and, from what they could find out, the Broadway facade is, for the most part, constructed of simple brick.

The Times article indicates that the Miller actually re-configured two existing buildings (due to some existing signage and a long-term lease) rather than building something new here (and apparently the old party-wall still exists between the TGI Fridays at 1552 and the electornics store to the north at 1554):

... 1554 Broadway ... and the corner building at 1552 Broadway ...

In 1926, Mr. Miller took over both buildings, using the upper floors for offices and rebuilding the exterior ...

A preliminary rendering located by Jack Goldstein, a preservationist, shows a prim, elegant structure ...

The rendering shows the Broadway facade free of the huge signs that had taken over the area, with only a modernistic two-story-high storefront topped by an unobtrusive facade, a simple frieze and slight cornice. At the top was a modest oval sign with the name of the store.

Research by Gale Harris of the Landmarks Preservation Commission suggests that the chaste intentions for the Broadway facade were thwarted by a pre-existing billboard lease that could not be broken. This would explain the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the finished building ...

February 9th, 2008, 10:31 PM
I recently spoke with some guys working on the plan for this building and, from what they could find out, the Broadway facade is, for the most part, constructed of simple brick....

Thanks for the info. I don't feel so bad about the signs then.

February 9th, 2008, 10:35 PM
Actually, they should come up with signs that are more sophisticated than your average roadside billboard that's on there right now.

February 10th, 2008, 01:10 PM

February 10th, 2008, 05:39 PM
It's not really that though. Maybe the roots are there however... but it's different.

Funny, but today I was having lunch, and noticed the table wine I use features it on the label:


Perhaps a motif featured on crests and coat of arms? Perhaps derived from the shape of a shield?

I had been thinking a late Art Nouveau exotic middle-Eastern touch.

Perhaps ablarc would have some insight?


Found it here on the left:



February 10th, 2008, 07:42 PM
I think you're spot on with the Art Nouveau / Middle East connection down below ...


There is a lollipop-ish look to the columns & base at I. Miller,
similar to what used to be visible (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=20897&postcount=67) about 13 blocks north on Broadway ...

http://www.nationaltrust.org/magazine/_images/story/2cc.jpg (http://www.nationaltrust.org/magazine/archives/arch_story/080103.htm)

Although these (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=35740&postcount=115) are far more exaggerated ...


And those at 2 CC don't have the same reverse round on the corner ...


Compare /\ & Contrast \/ ...


If Stone had placed statues of certain stars of his day in the oval niches at 2CC,
I wonder who he would have chosen?

February 11th, 2008, 03:28 AM
Imagine this carved in stone:


February 17th, 2008, 12:15 PM
^ Fabrizio, you are truly the campmeister.

February 17th, 2008, 12:33 PM
You know, in real life I'm very straight-laced signore. Really.


Perhaps you could shed some light on the discussion above.. about the reverse curved arch? That seen on the Miller Building, River House, 15CPW?

February 17th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Perhaps you could shed some light on the discussion above.. about the reverse curved arch? That seen on the Miller Building, River House, 15CPW?
Art Nouveau:

September 29th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Changes are coming to the old I. Miller building:

1920s actresses get makeovers at Times Square landmark (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=254229&postcount=55)

michele adamson
October 1st, 2011, 11:04 PM
I am tracking my family back on Ancestry.com and I am trying to find out more information on my Great Grandfather. The story goes that he was partners in Miller Shoes in the early 1900's and that there was some kind of disagreement between the 2 partners. He got mad and walked away from the business. It has been one of those stories passed along generation after generation. I would love to find out more about the story and the relationship my family had with I. Miller shoes. My Great Grandfathers name was Isador Golub and he came over from Poland to the US. Can you tell me what you know. Love to hear about it, or if you know who we can speak to that might know. You sure seem to know about the building.

October 2nd, 2011, 12:49 AM
Recently there was an article in the NY Times about a lady in her eighties that was an accountant at I Miller. It was in the Real Estate section maybe two weeks ago and if you search you will probably find it. The article was pretty specific about where her new apartment was and I bet you could get a hold of her on the telephone and she might know more about you Great Grandpa, or tell you where to look.

October 2nd, 2011, 11:19 AM
The Now-or-Never Apartment


AT last, Lee Zegar was ready to upgrade to a one-bedroom.

“When I turned 80,” she said, “I thought: I can’t wait.”

Ms. Zegar, who hit that milestone last fall, had lived in a studio apartment on lower Park Avenue for 45 years. The red-brick building, circa 1940, underwent a co-op conversion in 1972 under a noneviction plan.

Back then, she could have bought her apartment for less than $9,000. But she thought her stay there would be brief. “I expected to be married,” she said. “I was engaged at least three times, but I was the original runaway bride.”

Ms. Zegar, who grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, worked for many years in the Empire State Building as the office manager for I. Miller & Sons, the shoe company. At first, she rode the F train from Forest Hills, Queens, where she had a studio apartment. The F train deserved an F grade, she said. “It was a crowded, awful trip. People would read their newspaper on your face.”

She wanted to walk to work, so she spent her lunch hours talking to doormen in rental buildings near her office. The effort paid off. One day in 1965, a Mr. Robinson called her. He was the superintendent of a building, No. 50 Park, with an available studio. She took it for $161.32.
Over the years, the regulated rent rose to $1,320.27.

Ms. Zegar was happy in her cozy apartment, although “when people asked me where I lived, I would say 37th Street,” she said. “I felt funny saying Park Avenue, I don’t know why. ”

She continued living there after I. Miller closed and she went to work uptown as an assistant to the headmaster of Trinity School, retiring in the summer of 1998. Now she is a frequent theatergoer and a volunteer at the Museum of Modern Art’s information desk. “People ask questions — mostly, ‘Where’s the restroom?’ ” she said.

The main room in her apartment had 270 square feet of space; the dressing area off the bathroom, 85. For years Ms. Zegar slept on a sofa bed, but it eventually became too difficult to open every night. So she bought a bed and moved it into the dressing room.

Her walk-in closet, though spacious, was stuffed. “Frankly, I am a packrat and it was running away with me,” she said, “all the junk I was accumulating.” She added a wheeled clothing rack to the dressing room, but often bumped into it.

Papers covered every surface. There was no place to sit.

As a result, she said, “I had not invited anyone to my apartment in five years. I thought, this is terrible, I cannot live this way anymore. I need a room where I can throw a lot of junk and close the door.”

As her 80th birthday approached, “I thought, that’s the only thing lacking in my life, a bedroom,” she said. “If I don’t do it now, when?”

Ms. Zegar hoped to buy a one-bedroom within her building, preferably in the C line. Those apartments included an extra space often used as an office or a den.

Last year she received a card in the mail from Naomi Davis, a senior vice president of Brown Harris Stevens, who had just sold a place in the building and was soliciting other prospective sellers.

The just-sold apartment — a three-bedroom made out of a studio and a one-bedroom — was directly beneath Ms. Zegar’s. It sold for almost $1.4 million, with monthly maintenance of around $2,200. Ms. Zegar was not sorry to see her downstairs neighbors leave — someone there often practiced piano, with a repertoire heavy on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

So Ms. Zegar called Ms. Davis, hoping she might know of an available one-bedroom in the building.

She did, but it was on a low floor, and noisy.

“She knows where they pick up the garbage,” Ms. Davis said.

Ms. Davis urged Ms. Zegar to hunt nearby. “I was pretty sure that she wasn’t going to go far afield,” Ms. Davis said. “She needed someone to take her by the hand and help her figure it out.”
Ms. Zegar guessed a one-bedroom would cost around $700,000. She had been socking her money away all her life, and now was the time to spend it.

Last fall, she and Ms. Davis spent a morning apartment hunting in the immediate neighborhood. At 80 Park Avenue, a postwar condominium, two one-bedrooms were for sale in the $700,000 range. But Ms. Zegar was not keen on the small, windowless kitchens.

A co-op on Park Avenue South, near 30th Street, was “the big trip out of the neighborhood,” Ms. Davis said. But Ms. Zegar found Park below 34th Street to be too commercial.

The apartment she liked best was at John Murray House at 220 Madison Avenue, a 15-story doorman co-op that opened in 1941 a block from her old place. A one-bedroom in excellent condition, it had a large bedroom, a large living room and an extra, windowless room. The listing price was $685,000. By afternoon, she had decided to make an offer.

She bought the apartment last December for $675,000. Monthly maintenance is $1,418.01, almost $100 more than her former rent.

Her old studio was renovated and listed for $525,000. Ms. Zegar couldn’t resist attending the open house. Empty, it looked especially small. (The price dropped, and it is now in contract for $395,000, with maintenance of $825.)

Ms. Zegar hired a contractor for small renovations to her new apartment — turning the extra room into a closet and the bathtub into a walk-in shower. She moved in the spring, and is grateful for the additional space.

“I have a place to hang my clothes,” she said. “I gave more than 200 articles to Dress for Success and could give them 200 more. And yet, I wear the same thing every day.” She now invites friends over, too.

But the contractor still hasn’t finished the job. Ms. Zegar finds it frustrating that the handheld showerhead still does not work and one window does not stay open.

She escaped the piano-player in her old place, but now has another problem — a dog that yelps and howls whenever it is left alone. Ms. Zegar said she and other neighbors have complained to the building management, the co-op board and the city, so far to no avail.

The building’s manager and the co-op board president both declined to comment.

“I wish I could say I was enjoying living in my apartment right now,” Ms. Zegar said, “but I’m really not. I don’t want to be a complainer, but if I knew, I would have gone to a building that didn’t allow pets.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/realestate/the-now-or-never-apartment.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=I. Miller Shoe Building&st=cse

The Show Folks Shoe Shop in Better Times

(click images to enlarge)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uXl0GeTONqw/TgEU42VrA0I/AAAAAAAALnA/-t346d0Y1WY/s640/Miller.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uXl0GeTONqw/TgEU42VrA0I/AAAAAAAALnA/-t346d0Y1WY/s1600/Miller.jpg)

I was browsing through an old magazine when I found this 1919 ad for the I. Miller shoe store (http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2007/02/miracle-on-w-46th-street.html)in Times Square. The Miller building, which still exists, is familiar to all New York history buffs, owing to its one-of-a-kind statues along the south face, depicting Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Mary Pickford and Rosa Ponselle, representing the arts of theatre, song, film and opera; and for its timeless motto, "The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear."

It's been laboring as a garish TGI Friday's for some time, and the south facade has long been grimy and in need of a refurbishment. But this ad shows how clean and beautiful it once was: the statues white and free of bird dropping' and the windows—not cut in half by a TGIF floor plan—allowed to soar. We can also see that the wire cages on the second floor windows once held hedges.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zCOx4wXE9h4/TgETTdzCgdI/AAAAAAAALm4/nm7pymOocf4/s640/image-1.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zCOx4wXE9h4/TgETTdzCgdI/AAAAAAAALm4/nm7pymOocf4/s1600/image-1.jpg)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HjHQbjQ_Hoo/TgEbz27FxZI/AAAAAAAALnE/iTGCpgiVoWo/s640/378407481_a6e93c5bcb.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HjHQbjQ_Hoo/TgEbz27FxZI/AAAAAAAALnE/iTGCpgiVoWo/s1600/378407481_a6e93c5bcb.jpg)


The Show Folks Shoe Shop hiding in Times Square

(click images to enlarge)

http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/marypickford.jpg?w=180&h=300 (http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/marypickford.jpg)

Partly obscured by a Maxell billboard and a red and white TGIF restaurant awning is a subdued two-story structure on Broadway and 46th Street.

It’s a grimy yet elegant find. Turn the corner, and you can see a curious phrase carved into the limestone facade: “”The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear.”

What’s the story? The building opened in 1926 as an upscale I. Miller shoe store, a chain that thrived until the 1970s. Early on, I. Miller specialized in footwear for show business types.

No wonder there are four life-size statues of famous actresses set in pockets of the facade. Mary Pickford (at right, as Little Lord Fauntleroy) and Ethel Barrymore are still well-known.

But the other two, Marilyn Miller and Rosa Ponselle, have fallen into obscurity.

http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/showfolksshoes.jpg?w=450&h=294 (http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/showfolksshoes.jpg)

http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ethelbarrymoreandmillersatue.jpg?w=450&h=217 (http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ethelbarrymoreandmillersatue.jpg)
Ethel Barrymore, above left, as Ophelia in Hamlet;
musical comedy actress Marilyn Miller as the lead in a play called Sunny.


September 1st, 2012, 05:56 PM
TGI Fridays is gone and this job has started:

Sutton and SL Green ink creative lease to expand retail options at 1552 Bway
August 31, 2011 06:54PM
By Adam Pincus (http://therealdeal.com/looks/Adam%20Pincus/by)
SL Green Realty and joint venture partner Jeff Sutton (http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/hiding-in-plain-sight) have found a way to possibly triple the
retail space at the 15,000-square-foot 1552 Broadway in Times Square without
making the building any bigger.
Because constructing new floors at the landmarked commercial building is
severely regulated, they are going horizontal into neighboring 1560 Broadway,
a 17-story office building controlled by Newmark & Co. Real Estate, a property
landlord that is an affiliate of the commercial brokerage Newmark Knight
SL Green and Sutton, president of Wharton Properties, closed on the
$136.55 million purchase of the four-story 1552 Broadway Aug. 19 (http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/sutton-and-sl-green-close-on-1552-broadway-city-beaches-improve-and-more)
The I. Miller Building at 1552 Broadway, at the northeast corner of Broadway
and 46th Street, has sculptures of four famous actors, Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn
Miller, Rosa Ponselle and Mary Pickford that are part of the façade above the
second floor. PropertyShark.com shows the building has additional air rights, but
because it is regulated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, design and
construction is more complicated. (It is not known whether SL Green and Sutton
would also develop the structure higher.) Sutton did not immediately return a call
for comment. SL Green declined to comment.
The memorandum of lease filed with the city shows SL Green and Sutton
leased the entire second floor, a portion of the ground floor, and portion of the
basement, at 1560 Broadway. The financial terms were not revealed. In
addition, the lease provides for some valuable options to further expand the retail
by as much as another 20,000 square feet. They include expansion rights for the
entire third floor and first rights to lease ground-floor space currently occupied
by fast food chain McDonald’s and another tenant, the Times Square District
Management Association.
The lease also provides for further unifying the properties. SL Green and
Sutton have, “the right to construct certain openings between the walls of the
1560 building and the 1552 building,” the memorandum of the lease says.
In addition, the lease provides rights to lease yet-to-be-constructed LED signage
on the 1560 Broadway building. The renewal rights extend 70 years, and the
lease includes first rights to buy the building or Newmark’s lease, should either
become available.
While Newmark is considered the landlord for 1560 Broadway, in fact it is a net
lease tenant, with a long-term lease with the actual owner of the property, Actors
Equity Holding, an affiliate of the union Actors Equity Association.
Brokers Alan Steinberg and Brian Steinwurtzel of Newmark Knight Frank, are the
leasing agents for the building, but did not respond to a request for comment. A
spokesperson for Newmark said no one was available to comment.
The asking rent for the fourth floor is $35 per square foot, and the average floor
size is about 15,000 square feet, CoStar shows.
The city also published today three loans covering both 1552 and 1560
Broadway from Deutsche Bank to SL Green for a $94 million acquisition loan, an
$18.5 million building loan and a $12.1 million project loan, city records show.
A related filing published today shows a lease covering the whole of 1552
Broadway, which is now occupied by a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant, was
terminated. However, the restaurant has the right to remain there until Aug. 23,
2012, the filing says.

September 1st, 2012, 08:48 PM
Word from the Actors Equity Building is that this expansion will take over the 2nd, 3rd & 4th floors of that neighboring building at 165 W. 46th Street (the Equity audition center now taking up most of the 2nd floor will move up to the 16th Floor and some affiliated union offices on the 3rd & 4th floors will move to upper floors).

Express is the retail tenant that has been mentioned as doing the expansion.

The work includes total restoration of the facade of the I. Miller Building; that work was recently approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Also approved is new and larger signage atop the I. Miller Building; that work will include removing some existing signs that obscure portions of the I. Miller facade along W. 46th Street.

September 5th, 2012, 06:27 AM
Early Celebrity Endorsements in Times Square Architecture

by Dave Hogarty

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/untitled-3881-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/untitled-3881.php)
[Scouting NY]

Clothing retailer Express is taking over the building at 1552 Broadway in Times Square—replacing the T.G.I. Friday's that has made so many out-of-towners feel at home in Manhattan over the years—and Scouting NY (http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=5814) notes the long history of the building. Beneath the T.G.I. Friday's billboards is a sooty limestone and marble exterior distinguished by four statues of early 20th century celebrities standing in a quartet of aediculae, which are wall articulations topped with pediments. The four figures residing in these aediculae are Mary Pickford, Marilyn Miller, Ethel Barrymore, and Rosa Ponselle.

The four female stars of stage and screen were picked to adorn the facade of the I. Miller shoe store when the building was constructed in 1921, and blurs the line between celebrity endorsement of a store or brand and a store paying tribute to famous people of the day—I. Miller's early customers were primarily actors and dancers. Scouting NY hopes that Express will treat the building with some respect. In 2010, Ephemeral NY (https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/i-miller-shoes/) noted that the structure is landmarked, despite its rundown appearance.

An Open Letter To Express: Will You Help Save A Times Square Treasure? (http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=5814) [ScoutingNY]
The Show Folks Shoe Shop hiding in Times Square (https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/i-miller-shoes/) [EphemeralNY]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/04/early_celebrity_endorsements_in_times_square_archi tecture.php

December 18th, 2013, 09:18 PM
The plywood is down and the old I. Miller store has returned in all its original glory. Plus the new storefront facing Broadway is fantastic, with historically influenced details, including rounded glass at the corners. The mega-signage above is massive but, for the most part, sits back enough to let the old beauty shine (it does, however, project enough over Broadway to partially block the big yellow "M" at the south end of the MacDonalds next door).

Photos & Report from Bowery Boogie:

Express Gussies Up Historic Times Square ‘I. Miller Building’ with Huge LED Panels


December 13th, 2013 at 10:10 am by Elie (http://www.boweryboogie.com/author/elie/)

T.G.I. Friday’s occupied the valuable real estate at 1552 Broadway in Times Square for over a decade. But the chain departed (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/09/17/shoe_biz_and_show_biz_collide_at_times_square_land mark.php)
the landmark I. Miller building in September 2012, instead moving further east on 46th Street. The torch is now passed to
Columbus-based retailer Express, which has been busy transforming the corner for the last year.


Its token statues portraying leading actresses of the 1920s were removed for safe keeping during this transformation,
but have since returned to the facade. And the marquee lettering is refurbished. The most notable difference now,
however, is that the analog advertecture has been replaced by a ginormous new LED screen directly above the building.
This massive onslaught provides even more daylight to Times Square tourists at night … just in time for New Year’s Eve.


1552 Broadway itself is a card-carrying landmark, having once served as the headquarters for I. Miller shoes. Back in the 1920s,
this business was a showroom (http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=5814) that supplied actors and dancers with fancy footwear (“The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear”).
Of course, that history is heretofore co-opted into the Express image…


For a minute, this yellowed piece of late 1990s commercial ephemera was exposed for thousands of eyeballs to see.
That of Levi’s SilverTab jeans. It was left untouched for years behind the trademark pinstriped advertising of Friday’s.

Levi’s ghost signage above 1552 Broadway, September 2012

December 19th, 2013, 10:43 AM
Walked by this a few weeks ago while they were still wrapping up, and I have to say, it came out really really well.