10th Street, A. T. Stewart, & Ladies’ Mile

10th Street, A. T. Stewart, & Ladies’ Mile
A.T. Stewart retail store on 10th St. and Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
A.T. Stewart retail store on 10th St. and Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

A.T. Stewart retail store on 10th St. and Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

For everyone who attended Saturday’s walking tour, we hope you enjoyed learning about shopping in the Gilded Age and the Ladies’ Mile.  Did you know that November 21 actually is an important date in the establishment of this shopping district?

On November 21, 1855, Alexander Turney Stewart leased “leased 29 lots bounded by Broadway, Fourth Avenue, Ninth Street and Tenth Street.”  It was on this location that Stewart built the A.T. Stewart Company department store.  One of the largest cast-iron buidlings, A. T. Stewart Company’s 10th Street store was one of the first with interior cast-iron columns and girders.  The building was:

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‘Stewart House,’ 70 East 10th Street.

“…in Italian palazzo style, the five-story exterior, painted white, was majestic with street-level sheets of plate glass between tall Corinthian columns and, above, four tiers of 84 identically arched windows.  Inside, the upper floors rose in galleries around a great central rotunda to a huge skylight.”

In its heyday, the store “employed five hundred male clerks and cashiers as well as eight hundred female dressmakers and linen cleaners. The store had up to 15,000 shoppers per day, and was an integral part of the fabric of the neighborhood.”

The 10th Street store building is no longer standing, replaced by the large, full block white brick apartment building at 70 East 10th Street known as The Stewart House — a nod to the earlier occupant of the site.

But the remnants of Ladies’ Mile and shopping in the Gilded Age- especially within the Village- still remain.  Esther Crain of Ephemeral New York, who conducted Saturday’s walking tour, recently released a book about this era in New York City, titled “The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910.”

The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910. Image courtesy of Ephemeral New York.

The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910. Image courtesy of Ephemeral New York.

Be sure to pick up a copy and also check out some of the photos from the tour.

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2 comments on “10th Street, A. T. Stewart, & Ladies’ Mile
  1. Matthew Morowitz Janet. Kohso says:

    I remember an arch that connected two parts of the department store.
    It is now 70 East 10th, and 770 Broadway. My aunt, who taught in the local school, always gave me a b’day gift in wrong size. I would go to the store to return it! I do remember the very spacious interior.
    I moved to S.H. in 1981 in apt 7J and realized one end of the arch was at the level of the 7th floor. I’m now on the West side of S.H., high up, but memories last. Do you think I imagined all this? No. I do remember those days….long ago!

  2. As a resident of the Stewart House, I was interested in your piece. I had previously known of the store from Peter Hamill’s book My New York. Macy’s surplanted Stewart’s store.

    Last year I visited an exhibit at San Diego’s Museum of Art about the works of a French painter of that period whose name I cannot recall. Interestingly, the theme was this painter and his patrons. Each piece, and they were quite large was placarded with information about the artwork and about its wealthy owner. Two of them were owned by Mr. Stewart.

    The photograph indicated that the store, unlike the current condo, did not occupy the entire block Two other structures appear at the Ninth St. side of the block.

    On the north side of Tenth Street, in the 1870’s and to date, just to he left of the photos, stood Grace Church. It was then “The Place” for socialites to get married. Edith Wharton’s characters in “The Age of Innocence” tide the knot there.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  1. […] like this continued in the neighborhood and brought us, among others, Stewart House in 1960, Butterfield House in 1962, and the Brevoort East in 1964. In fact, in 1959, the erection […]

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