28 W. 25th St.
28-30 W. 25th St. (2008)

Readable signs down the west wall of this loft building are:

Leavy & / Reiff / Ladies & Misses / Suits (click for detail). Leavy and Reiff were Henry Leavy (1862- 1922) and Joseph Reiff (1875-1960). Their partnership began in 1905 when they were located on East 10th St. on the block between University Place and Broadway. They moved to 28 W. 25th St. in 1911 and were in business together here until 1916. The work force at Leavy & Reiff consisted of 25 employees (12 men, 12 women and 1 office staff) in 1914 (Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, 137th Session, 1914, vol. 39, no. 59, part 2, Second Annual Industrial Directory, pg. 509) .

Henry Leavy was born in England and immigrated to the U. S. in 1876. In 1917 he went into business with his son, Nathan Leavy (1891-1939), as Henry Leavy & Son, Cloaks & Suits, which stayed in business until 1935. Joseph Reiff was born in Galicia, Austria, and immigrated in the 1890s. In 1917 he formed a partnership with Jack Solomon Goldstein (1889-1972) and continued to manufacture cloaks and suits as Reiff & Goldstein here at 28 W. 25th St. until 1922.

Joseph Reiff had two brothers, Jacob Reiff (1868/69-1949) and Nathan Reiff (1871-1924). They were manufacturing furriers under the name Reiff Bros., in business from 1896 to 1924. From 1911 to 1924 Reiff Bros. were located in this building at 28 W. 25th St. (Click for Reiff Bros. letterhead from 1922.) On Nathan Reiff's death, his son, Louis Reiff (1897-1930), became a partner, and the name changed to Reiff Bros. & Sons. Another son in this business was Murray Reiff (1895/96-1959), Jacob Reiff's son. On New Years Eve, 1930, Louis Reiff committed suicide by throwing himself from a window at the New Yorker Hotel. Murray Reiff continued in the fur business as Murray Reiff & Tolleris (1932 to 1954) and later as Murray Reiff, Furs (1955 to 1962). (Tolleris was Abraham Tolleris (1883-1953), an immigrant from Austria/Poland in 1889.)


Kahn & / Baskin / Furs: This company was located here approximately 1911 to 1915. Kahn was Samuel Kahn (1883-1944). More about him can be found at his later location, 150 W. 26th St., when he had his own business, Samuel Kahn, Furs & Skins. Joseph Baskin (1876-?) was an immigrant from Russia. He applied for citizenship 8 Oct. 1902, when he gave his birth date as 25 April 1876, and stated that he arrived in the U. S. via the port of New York 10 July 1892. He appears in the U. S. census of 1900 living on Bushwick Ave., Brooklyn, with his brother, David Baskin, a jeweler. Age 48, Joseph Baskin was listed on the ship manifest of the SS Silvia, sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, 8 Feb. 1924, to New York. His address at the time was 605 W. 178th St., Manhattan.


Israel / Cummings / [& Bro?] / Woolens (click for detail). Cummings was Israel Cummings (1889-1974), and his brother was David Cummings (1895-1973). Their father was Jacob Cummings, a tailor who immigrated from Russia. They appear in the U. S. Census of 1900 living at 17-19 Ludlow St. downtown on the East Side. Jacob Cummings and his wife, Ida, immigrated in 1883. In 1900 the couple had six children. Israel was 11 at the time, and David 5. Their woolens business at 28 W. 25th St. was first listed in the Manhattan telephone directory in 1916. Both brothers registered for the World War I draft in 1917 while in business for themselves at this address. Around 1920 Israel Cummings seems to have left the partnership and moved across the street to 35 W. 25th St., where he did business under the name Cavana Mills. These businesses seem to have failed at the time of the Great Depression in 1929. But Israel Cummings was back in business in 1934 at 450 7th Ave. (across the street from Macy's, near 35th St.). This became known as the Shamokin Woolen Mills around 1938. Both brothers were involved in Shamokin, which closed in 1974. Israel Cummings' obituary (New York Times, 30 Jan. 1974, p. 38) reads in part, "Israel Cummings, president of the Shamokin Woolen Mills, 450 Seventh Avenue here, died Monday at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 84 years old and lived at 12 East 86th Street."


Harris J / Lipman / Buttons (click for detail). Harris Joseph Lipman (1883-1959) registered for the World War II draft in 1942 while living at 900 West End Ave., Manhattan. He was 58 years old, self-employed (Harris J. Lipman, 242 W. 36th St.), and he listed his place of birth as Grodlo, Russia. "Grodlo" was probably Grodno, originally in Lithuania, then Poland, and in 1939 incorporated into Belarus. It appears on Google maps (as of June, 2008) as Hrodna, nestled in a corner of Belarus just east of the border with Poland and just south of Lithuania. Harris J. Lipman immigrated to the U. S. 1900/01 and established his thread/buttons/braids/trims business on E. 8th St. in 1905. The Trow New York City directory of 1911 describes the business as dealing in "Braids, Silks, Embroidery Materials, Mercerized Threads." By the time the business moved to 28 W. 25th St. the products was just "buttons." A 1934 ad described the offerings as "Buttons & buckles for dress & cloak." This ad appeared in the New York Times in 1935. Harris J. Lipman were located at 28 W. 25th St. from 1916 to 1923, and they stayed in business at several other locations in the garment area until Lipman's death in 1959 .

< previous || next  >      index      map      signs by date      signs by name      see what's new