John Wanamaker, New York

The John Wanamaker store was built
in 1906 as an annex to the old A.T.
Stewart store to the north which Wana-
maker had acquired.

A view of the Wanamaker store from Astor Place re-
veals the Renaissance palazzo-like design of the store
by architect Daniel Burnham, who was also responsible
for the Philadelphia Wanamaker store.

"Let those who follow me continue to
build with the plumb of honor, the
level of truth, and the square of integrity,
education, courtesy and mutuality."

John Wanamaker
Broadway at Eighth Street
New York, New York

GRamercy 3-4700

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Watches • Jewelry • Silverware • Handbags • Little Leathers • Gloves • Hosiery • Neckwear • Hat Bar • Blouses • Accessories • Cosmetics • Toiletries • Street Floor Sportswear • Tribout Boutique • Notions • Stationery • Clocks • Flower Shop • Street Floor Italian Boutique • Candy Shop • Service Post
Men's Store Men's Accessories • Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Leisure-Wear Shop • London Shop • Sports Court • Made-to-Measure Shop • Men's Clothing • Men's Hats • Men's Outerwear

Barber Shop • Lounge • Fisherman's Haven

Second Floor
Children's Wear • Boy's Shop • Girls' Shop • Subteen Shop • Infants • PhotoReflex Studio • Luggage • Cameras • Toys • Sporting Goods • Pet Shop • Artist Materials • Pantry Shelf • Wanamaker Payhouse, Ltd.

Third Floor
Misses' Dresses • Women's Dresses • Coats • Suit Shop • Tribout Shop • Sportswear • Mimi Junior Shop • Mimi Teen Shop • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Millinery

Fourth Floor
Shoe Center • Shoe Salon • Day and Casual Dresses • Wanalyn Dresses • Wanalyn Coats • Lingerie • Corsets • Sleepwear • Loungewear • American Beauty Salon • Tribout Beauty Salon • Gift Shop • Picture Salon • Mirrors • Linens • Domestics • Sleep Shop • Art Needlework

Fifth Floor
China • Glassware • Lamps • Housewares • Cookware • Small Electrics • Bath Shop • Radios • Televisions • Lamps • Auto Shop • Hardware • Garden Shop

Sixth Floor
Antique Shop • Dining Room Furniture • Occasional Furniture • Sofa beds • Upholstered Furniture • Pullman Gallery • Forecast Gallery

Seventh Floor
Bedding • Summer Furniture • Bedroom Furniture • Henredon Modern Gallery • Modern Furniture • Slumberland Gallery

Eighth Floor
Dress Fabrics • Sewing Machines • Closet Shop • Curtains • Draperies • Slipcovers • Decorative Fabrics • Upholstery • Rugs • Floor Coverings • Karastan Gallery • Rug Cleaning • Music Salon

Ninth Floor
Ninth Floor Restaurant • Green Shutters Sidewalk CafĂ© • Books

Tenth Floor

Eleventh Floor
Fur Storage

Liberty Street Shop
150 Broadway

London Shop
59 Liberty Street
Men's Shop
67 Liberty Street

Great Neck
Great Neck Plaza
50,000 sq. ft.
Cross County Shopping Center
225,000 sq. ft.

Coming in due course.


  1. After I graduated from business school at Wharton (U of P), I was hired on by John Wanamaker as an Expediter for Women's Shoes. A total grunt job! At that time Wanamaker's had been purchased by Carter Hawley Hale. CHH updated some JW stores including the downtown store in Center City Philadelphia and eventually acquired Neimans, Berdorf's, Emporium Capwell, and some others. At that time, the first floor of Wanamaker's Center City housed international boutiques as well as other prominent design houses on other floors. Cartier and Sulka come immediately to mind. Well, I was not at all loving my job, however, this is when I became obsessed with department stores. I resigned from JW but I learned so much about what I wanted my career to be and what I did not want my career to be.
    I went back home to Manhattan to my parent's home and eventually figured out what my profession was to be...a career in product design & development. After working for Wanamaker's, I found myself spending time walking around department stores. Always amazed. B. Altman & Co., Lord & Taylor, Saks, Gimbels, Hecht's, Strawbridge & Clothier, Stern's, A&S, Bonwit's. Not just the the main stores, but I would take the train to the suburban stores. I observed the risky expansion of the MALL stores. These nes stores never captured the essence of the original main or free-standing properties. I remember the as a college student , my family travelled to Texas to visit cousins in Houston. My mother and my aunt and cousins went shopping while my father and uncle were out (golfing I guess). We went to the Sakowitz store and my mother bought me 2 cashmere jackets; navy and camel. I still wear these today (luckily my body has not changed much in 20 years).
    Later, when I finally had a career, I found myself travelling between D.C. and New York. Of course, I would find every excuse to visit the true suburban stores...Hecht's in Maryland, Strawbridges in Ardmore, Wanamaker's in Wynnewood and Wilmington, Lord & Taylor in Bala Cynwyd and Manhassett and Garden City (Bala is my favorite and it's still there!, B. Altman in St. Davids & Short Hills.

    It sucks tha Macy's has bought all of these stores that haven't just gone away. I miss the hand written sales check at Saks in Garden City, my old dark green Lord & Taylor credit card my parent's co-signed for me when I was in magnetic swipe! And last, but not least, Bonwits...small men's department but just grand. We only have Bergdorf's left (the store in Westchester was frightening). If only Macy's kept the old names and spirit!

    Mel G.

  2. I remember as a small child going to the Cross County Center in Younkers NY and shopping at John Wanamaker. Soon after we moved, but my Mom always spoke fondly of her shopping experience at Wanamaker's. I guess we never got to Philadelphia (but of course that is gone today also).


  4. I have a dim memory of going to Wanamaker's in New York City with my mother. According to my older sister my memories are correct: bare wooden floorboards, tall supporting columns, crowds, wooden staircases, old elevators. Interestingly I have in storage twin bed comforters, watered satin shells stuffed with goose down, labeled "John Wanamaker New York". Mom bought them in 1952 and after sixty years of use they're like new.

  5. I am a native Philadelphian and grew up in/around John Wanamaker (we NEVER called it "Wanamaker's - my father might say "John Wahn" or my grandfather would call it "Cousin John's" - my grandmother shopped there so often it was as though it was the family grocery). Around 1979-81 (not sure exactly) I was in NYC on business and was at the World Trade Center - upon exiting the towers I spotted a window sign on the 2nd floor of a building on Liberty St - the JW logo and "Liberty Street Store". So, with my JW charge card in my pocket, I crossed the street to check out this curiosity.

    I entered the building lobby and went up an escalator - sure enough, it was a miniature John Wanamaker, but old-style and cramped. The staff looked as though they'd been working there fore some time. I think I bought a short and some after shave, and wanted to pay for it with my JW charge. This created a raised eyebrow, and I noticed they were not using the Singer POS terminals that had been installed in Philadelphia. The clerk took the card to the back, and after a few minutes returned with a sales slip for me to sign. The goods went into a regular JW bag and I was on my way. At this time, CHH had bought the chain and was investing heavily to update the Philadelphia store.

    When I returned home, I spoke with a cousin who worked in the JW corporate pension office in Center City. I told her of my experience and she replied "that store's not ours". Apparently - IIRC - when CHH bought the chain, they didn't take the Liberty Street Store and it remained part of the Rodman Wanamaker estate. They had a mutual billing/buying/licensing agreement with CHH but the shop wasn't part of the Philadelphia operation.

    A few weeks later, when my charge statement arrived, the transaction was shown as "Other JW Store" - no department number and no merchandise description. Made me think it was entered manually.

    Does anyone know anything more about the origins or history of this strange little Philadelphia outpost in the financial district? And what relationship it might have had to the Philadelphia or New York store? The store continued to operate for quite some time, I recall.

  6. The Ninth Street (former A.T. Stewart) building was connected to the main building by an enclosed third-floor walkway.

    In 1946 the DuMont Television Network created three studios in the Ninth Street building, including one of 2,000-square-feet, seating 280.

    In 1956 the North building was destroyed by fire, replaced by a 21-story apartment building with 327 units in 1960.

  7. John Wanamaker had some interesting twists and turns in it's operations and the Liberty Street Shop was one of them. After Wanamaker's closed it's Manhattan flagship in the mid 1950's it continued to operate the Liberty Street Shop, and a large branch at the Cross County Center. The small branch on Long Island was sold to Gertz.

    Carter Hawley Hale (CHH) first approached the Wanamaker family about buying the chain in 1976 and they closed the deal in 1978. There was a small, but vocal, faction of the family that did not want the sale to go through, and as a compromise the "family" would continue to own the Liberty Street Shop. Under this deal, Wanamaker's managed the store, deducted it's costs, and then turned over the net proceeds to the Wanamaker Family Trust.

    In the mid-1980's, CHH needed to raise cash fast, and put Wanamaker's up for sale. Once again some members of the Wanamaker family objected (as they would loose their Libery Street piggy bank).
    A settlement was reached, Wananaker's was sold to Al Taubman, and the Liberty Street Shop closed shortly after.

    Another "twist" in Wanamaker history was The Globe Store in Scanton, another topic for another day.


  8. When I was growing up, my father Peter Katsafouros worked in the Wanamaker building after it had been converted to office space. I spent many saturdays waiting for my ambitious father to finish up his work so that we could meet my sister and mother for dinner. Another employee asked me if I saw the Museum? He took me upstairs to a place where the wireless operator had sat the night of the Titanic's sinking and received the true message about her fate while much of the world believed the ship was being rescued. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized the importance of the place and that date. The following day, Marconi stock soared on the New York Exchange. The information age was born.

  9. The basement and first 2 floors of this building are now a K-Mart, the upper floors offices. It's a shame really.

    It explains a lot as to why such a customized subway entrance with rather elaborate turnstile doors exists at K-Mart Astor Place though.

  10. While working at Kmart corporation (1995) as an architect in their design division, I was responsible for the design of the Kmart store in this building. We found a beautiful plaster fan column on the second floor where the store was to have a cafe. I suggesetd restoing and re-lighting it. Only half remained, and it was ringed with incandescent lights which were all broken. Of course, the management said no, it would be "impossible to design a cafe around a pole." At the time we had a new CEO and when he saw it, made the same suggestion, and of course, I was told to get it done!

    At least a bit of Wanamaker's got saved there. I always wondered what was in that location in the past and if the whole building was embellished with details like that, it must have been something!

    When I went to the grand opening, I was unhappy to leave my wife of a little over a year at home; I felt a little uncomfortable about it and was happy to ride in the hotel elevator with a woman who had a name tag on with the same first name, spelled like she did. A month later she passed away suddenly. Every time I think about that store I remember the happy days before that happened.


  11. I worked for JW in the early 70's in the Reading, PA branch. The Westchester store in Yonkers was a branch of the JW Philadelphia store. Liberty St. was not. Liberty St. was owned by friends of the Wananaker family; I can't remember their name. They paid for the right to use the name, logo, etc.

  12. my grandmother was a salesgirl at Wanamaker's Philadelphia store in 1910 thru 1912. First displaying ladies dress fabrics for "ritzy dames" as she put it and finally in ladies gloves. She told me it was a beautiful store with live music played on the mezzanine. The store opened each day with young men with horn like instruments to welcome customers at the entrance. I have beautiful pictures of my grandmother in those years and her John Wanamaker calling card in a frame. She told me when the Titanic went down in 1912, all the newsboys were yelling the headlines outside the store selling papers. I'm 79 now and the memories I have from her stories to me would fill a book.

  13. From your comment, you write very well - Why don't you consider "filling a book?" It would be a blessing to future generations whom, I fear, won't have a clue what lives like yours were like. It could be self-published (Amazon) or I'd be happy to recommend you to The History Press.
    -Bruce (

  14. Every Easter my mom went and purchase all 3 of us kids a Wanamaker chocolate coconut cream Easter egg for our baskets. I still remember how creamy they where and how yummy, I still to this day don't know if it was for us or her. Any one that came in to town a relative, family or friends we went downtown and met them at the eagle. The Christmas display was out of this world the lights the tree the dancing fountains and the music I like this is why this day I love Christmas decorations. When it came back to school it was always a trip to Jenkintown to buy our school clothes. don

  15. Can anyone tell me the name of the person who sold the Wanamaker Building to Mr. Wanamaker. I would like too find out the history of the store.
    Thank You,
    Mr Stephen P. Kelly

  16. I have found among some old coins a coin that looks like a penny but is a silver anniversary of the John Wanamaker 13th st. store 1876 to 1901 it is bronze in color..has anyone of the family ever seen such a piece?? My very first charge card was fm John Wanamakers, my mother had one and I loved the NY store it was so sorry to hear they are all closed or renamed something else..

  17. there is this movie.. not a very good movie, but watchable, from 1987 called "Mannequin" The whole silly film takes place in a store called "prince & Co"

    It was filmed in Wanamaker's which was still owned by CHH at the time. The movie takes place during "Prince & Co" 100th birthday also coinciding to Wanamaker's 125th. In a ironic twist, the Wanamaker's board were shown the film before release which has a sub-story of the movie's store being threatened by hostile takeover. The board found this amusing and are quoted as jesting about how preposterous the idea was being that it was filmed in such a stable place.

    A few months after release, Wanamaker's was put up for sell.. the rest is history

  18. Has anyone heard that the New York City John Wanamaker store sponsored an art and design contest for middle school-aged students? I believe that the prize was tuition for a local pre-college art program at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design).

  19. I have heard of this. I have been told that my grandfather won it many many years ago. I would love to find out more about it