Big. Brown. Bag. Going into the retail business for themselves, on April 17, 1872, the Bloomingdale brothers opened their first store at 938 Third Avenue, New York City, between 56th and 57th Streets. With Lyman as the sole proprietor,the Bloomingdale brothers' new store sold a wide variety of European fashions, anchored through their own buying office in Paris. Their success resulted in the business outgrowing its premises and in 1886 they relocated operations to 59th Street and Third Avenue. In the 1860's the Bavarian-born Benjamin Bloomingdale brought his son, Lyman, into his hoop-skirt business at 88 Chambers Street. The business failed in 1871, and in 1872 Lyman and his brother Joseph went out on their own as the Bloomingdale Brothers, at Third Avenue near 56th Street.
Business grew so much that they were able to put together a 156-page catalog in 1886 -- the same year they moved to a new store they built at the northwest corner of 59th Street and Third Avenue of red brick, brownstone and cast iron. Around this time they also listed locations at 50 Howard Street, in what is now SoHo, and 278 Fifth Avenue, near 29th Street.
Designed by Schwarzmann & Buchman, the new 59th Street building was a straightforward commercial structure, although it had an elaborate double-height cast-iron entry facing Third Avenue. The brothers did $1 million in business in 1887 and soon expanded north, as well as around the corner to the little brownstones on 60th Street.
In 1893 Buchman & Deisler designed the grand Renaissance-style annex on the north side of 59th Street, running west from the original corner store. In scale, elegance and modernity, the 59th Street wing, completed the next year, surpassed anything in the existing shopping section between 14th and 23rd Streets. #nyc #bloomies #bloomingdales #shopping #retailarchitecture 🛍 - 6 hours ago