22 June 2009

The Gimbel's Bridge

A reader sent in the above picture of the sky bridge that connects two building on W. 32nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, asking what it was.

That's as good an excuse as I need to talk about this three-story, Art Deco, copper-clad wonder, which used to connect the Gimbel's flagship department store to its annex across 32nd. Before becoming the sorry excuse for a shopping center know as Manhattan Mall, the building on Broadway between 32nd and 33rd was the great Gimbels, which lost its war with Macy's sometime in the 1980s.

The unique bridge was built in 1925 by Canadian Richmond Harold ("R.H.") Shreve and William Lamb from Brooklyn, who, with Arthur Loomis Harmon from Chicago, went on to work on the Empire State Building.


RobinM said...

I remember that bridge when my mother use to visit Macy's first and then we would cut thru Woolworth to access the other side to enter Gimbel's. Those were the days of comparative shopping

joy said...

Is it still in use, do you know?

Andrew TSKS said...

Not really to do with this post, but I wanted to pass this along to you.


From this flickr set:


It's a collection of some of the earliest color photos ever taken. The specific one I linked to is of Wall Street in 1915.

hollarback said...

I miss Gimbles, and all the other stores like B. Altmans, that were killed off. As kid there used to be so many Christmas window displays...

Did you know that the dept stores demise started in Canada? It will sound very similar to todays stupidity with the banks buying each other - look up Campeau Corporation. They killed the NY stores and started the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Gimbels had a pet store where I
bought a Siamese cat in 1962 ,the
cat soon died and Gimbels would not give me a refund for and from the cats distemper disease however they paid for the euthanasia of the cat.

Macy's there own a liquor & wine store but that is another story.

Of course when my Mother did not find a bargain in Macy's or Gimbels that bridge became "the bridge of sighs".

Mike of Tin Pan alley

Jill said...

I worked on the corner of 32nd & 6th, across from Gimbels at a chocolate chip cookie store (this was the era just preceding Mrs. Fields takeover of the chocolate chip cookie store market). I think it was 1978-1979. On the ground floor on the corner there was a Zaros (like Zabars only not). Gimbels closed very soon after, but during that time the store really had poor merchandise, kind of like where you would buy a poly-cotton housedress and plastic slippers. The Gimbels in Flushing stayed open a few more years after the one in Manhattan closed, and I think it became a May's.

John Walsh said...

Hey guys!
I'm doing a project on this beautiful bridge and I need personal anecdotes from anyone who has fond memories about it from their childhood.

Any nostalgic stories that you have from the Gimbel's store in general or the bridge specifically would be greatly appreciated!