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

  1. #16
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    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 ...

  2. #17


    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    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.

  3. #18
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Actually, they should come up with signs that are more sophisticated than your average roadside billboard that's on there right now.

  4. #19
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


  5. #20


    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:

    Last edited by Fabrizio; February 10th, 2008 at 05:50 PM.

  6. #21
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    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 about 13 blocks north on Broadway ...

    Although these 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?

  7. #22

  8. #23


    ^ Fabrizio, you are truly the campmeister.

  9. #24


    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?

  10. #25


    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post
    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:

  11. #26
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Changes are coming to the old I. Miller building:

    1920s actresses get makeovers at Times Square landmark

  12. #27

    Default I would love more info on I. Miller shoes

    I am tracking my family back on 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.

  13. #28
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton


    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.

  14. #29
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    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.”

    The Show Folks Shoe Shop in Better Times

    (click images to enlarge)

    I was browsing through an old magazine when I found this 1919 ad for the I. Miller shoe store 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.

    The Show Folks Shoe Shop hiding in Times Square

    (click images to enlarge)

    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.

    Ethel Barrymore, above left, as Ophelia in Hamlet;
    musical comedy actress Marilyn Miller as the lead in a play called Sunny.


  15. #30


    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
    SL Green Realty and joint venture partner Jeff Sutton 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
    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 fašade above the
    second floor. 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.

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