EmilyAnn’s Summer Break: Macy’s, New York 7/10/19


Uncle Sammy and I are in the early stages of outlining the postings for the Serrapede family history during the late 1950s-early 1960s. To give our readers and relatives a richer sense of what the time period was like in Brooklyn and Manhattan we plan to include parts of the everyday experience that is receeding into the past as the 21st century advances.

One of the experiences we are working on involves department stores. I remember my Mom and I discussing how you could estimate what a family’s economic status was by where they shopped most often. The merchandise at department stores such as Korvettes, Macy’s, Gimbels, Orbach’s, and Lord & Taylor was very different in quality. Each store, too, had a very distinct atmosphere. In Brooklyn there was A&S and Martin’s Department Store where my Mom and Grandma Josie shopped. And then there were the smaller stores like Rainbow Shops, Kresge’s, and May’s Department Store and Robert Hall that everyone we knew went to when the sales were right but rarely admitted to shopping at.

This topic needs research to either substantiate or disprove the casual observations my Mom and I shared so I’ll leave off the topic for now. What prompted me to write this post is that I went into Macy’s Department Store after completing the Excel Workshop in New York City today.

A Visit to Macy’s Herald Square

The first floor strikes me as glitzy with all the merchandise, monitors, music and attractive, open displays. There is a tangible lack of excitement despite all that.

I took the escalators up to each floor looking in earnest for saleshelp walking the floors, greeting the customers, and creating a favorable atmosphere for shopping. Instead I found high quality designer clothes that nobody was interested in. The people walking through the floors were more engrossed in their Android phones. Nobody was walking around sizing up the garments, touching the fabric, going from rack to rack in an attempt to create an ensemble from separates.

In all I felt a kind of sadness as I walked through all the empty space. My thoughts turned to Linden where I recently bought lingere at a very small boutique called La Columbiana. The saleswoman waited on me in the manner I remember my Mom taught me was the mark of a good salesperson and an indication of a shop that is worth doing business with. Because it is small, I received one-to-one attention while purchasing bras and shapewear. I was measured and catered to. The saleswoman brought numerous items for me to try on and eventually helped me make my mind up. It was a wonderful experience as I am so satisfied that these purchases are exactly what I need and want.

The same is true for a very small sportswear shop one block down from my apartment. It’s called Freddy’s Sportswear and is located on the ground floor below a few apartments. Freddie helped me coordinate jeans, tee-shirts, sweaters and pocketbooks when I went to get a few pieces for the Spring. It was so enjoyable to have him help me with the color co-ordination. I enjoyed the one-to-one of that shopping experience, too. In the lead up to leaving Brooklyn, I put off buying new clothes for some time. So I enjoyed finally getting new clothes for my new life here in my new home.

Here are some photos of Macy’s from today’s walk around the store. I was very surprised to find the very old wooden escalators still in operation in the upper floors of the store.

Photos of Macy’s 7-10-2019

EmilyAnn’s Summer Break: Contrasts, July 9, 2019


Today I attended a workshop at The Career Center in Manhattan. The photos from this morning offer so many contrasts between the experience of Linden and the experience of New York City.

Linden, New Jersey 7.30 to 8 a.m.

East Elizabeth Avenue, Linden, NJ.
North Wood Avenue, Linden, NJ
Linden Station
Linden Station
View from the NJTransit car.

Manhattan, 8:45 a.m.

Penn Station, New York City
7th Avenue, New York City

Manhattan, 4:30 p.m.

Empire State Building, New York City

We’re public once more!

I am very happy to announce that the spammers have dropped the blog and stopped contacting me with their junk mails. Uncle Sammy and I decided to make the blog public again. We want our family and friends around the world to discover our blog and connect via Ancestry if they so wish.

The problem with spammers here at WordPress will only go away once there is more thought put into how the ‘Like” feature may be used. Right now anybody can freely “Like” as many postings as they want and stars will be given each time. At first it seems like a new loyal follower is in the making.

As an administrator, though, you see past the surface appearance because emails are sent with a time and date stamp everytime someone likes a post. So imagine getting 20 emails, each less than 60 seconds apart after a spammer “Likes” your 20 postings, each consisting of at least 1200-1500 words. You know they are not reading the postings.

Spammers do this in order to get their Avatar to appear on your posting. The goal is that someone may click on it and navigate from your posting to their WordPress site/blog. They also hope that the blog owner will also visit their site.

We have decided that spammers will never make us lose connection again. If and when we get a series of meaningless “likes” in the manner described I intend to temporarily disable “Like” feature.

68a-Pharmacies around Brooklyn, NY in 1953

For Amy and all interested family historians sharing Brooklyn roots:

I am sorry I cannot find the link or ad for Gaetano Rinaldi’s advertisement in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. I have tried searching for it today but have not had any results. My Uncle mentioned that the Benson Drug Company may have operated out of a Rexall Pharmacy located on 11th Avenue. Alas, even Rexall does not return any results.

What I did find may be much more useful. Here is a list of pharmacies located throughout Brooklyn that were advertised in a 1953 edition of The Eagle. The Martocci Pharmacy was located near my childhood home and will feature in my memoir. Perhaps my posting this info will help some other family historians either with research or just bringing back some memories…

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sunday, Aug. 23, 1953
page 16