108 W 25
108 W. 25th St. (2004)

Several dimly visible (but difficult to decipher) signs at the bottom of this wall... A "Tax Photo" at the New York City Municipal Archives shows this wall in 1940. But the signs at the bottom remain unreadable, while above, in what is now mostly painted red, appear signs for

M. Sloat & Co.
Alexander, Smith & Wegner
Light & Adler
A & S Cohen

M. Sloat & Co., named for Morris Sloat (age 41 in 1910, born Russia, immigrated 1905), manufactured petticoats at this address between 1915 and 1924. Originally the firm was a partnership between Sloat and Sol Posner called Posner & Sloat Inc. They were in business together as early as 1910 (on Spring St., then Broadway, and later on W. 14th St.) The business was renamed M. Sloat & Co. around 1918. Then in 1929 (reacting to the Depression?) M. Sloat "Petticoats" became M. Sloat "Sportswear." As a sportswear manufacturer M. Sloat survived until the early 1970s, although towards the end the name changed to Sloat & Co.

Alexander, Smith & Wegner: Joseph Alexander (1875?-?) and Charles Smith (1887-?) formed a partnership to manufacture cloaks and suits in 1917. (Click for a "Buyers' Wants" notice from the New York Times in 1920.) They joined with Sol Wegner (50 in 1920, born Galicia (Poland), immigrated 1902) around 1920 and moved to 110 W. 25th St. at about the same time. The firm stayed at this address until 1926. Joseph Alexander, who lived at 29 W. 104th St. from 1905 until at least 1925, was 45, born England, in 1910 but 43, born Bavaria, in 1920, and 54, born Germany, in 1930 according to Census records of the time, then age 44 (born Nov. 1, 1874) when he registered for the World War I draft in Sept. 1918. Probably the 1910 report is the least reliable, and a birth year of 1875 seems a likely resolution to the various conflicting ages. Charles Smith shared residence with Joseph Alexander at 29 W. 104th St. from 1916 to 1925. He was a younger man who registered for the World War I draft at the age of 29 (born Russia, Sept. 24, 1887).

Light & Adler, Cloaks and Suits, came into being in 1921. The partners were Abraham Light (32 in 1920, born Russia, immigrated 1903) and Joseph L. Adler. Adler was an immigrant from Austria in 1884 (naturalized 1889) and appears in the 1920 US Census age 56, "Commercial Traveler / Cloaks & Suits" living on Manhattan Ave. with wife, daughter and mother-in-law. Light & Adler lasted only 2 or 3 years. By 1925 Abraham Light was associated with Morris E. Cohen at M. E. Cohen & Light, manufacturing ladies' coats. Joseph L. Adler seems to have disappeared from the scene by this time (retired? died?).

A & S Cohen were Adolph R. Cohen and Samuel Cohen. They manufactured cloaks and suits, and moved to 108 W. 25th St. in 1918. The business began around 1913. Samuel Cohen appears in both the 1910 and 1920 US Census reports living in Brooklyn: age 32 in 1910, born Galicia, Austria, immigrated 1888. Adolph Cohen is a more elusive figure. In the 1920 Census, living at the same address as Samuel Cohen is "Adolph[e?] Kovzenik [Kovynik?] age 44, born Galicia, Austria, immigrated 1897, Manufacturer, Cloaks." Could this be Adolph Cohen by his Galician name? A & S Cohen left 108 W. 25th St. in 1925 and remained in business until around 1937.

When the building to the east of 108-110 W. 25th St. was demolished in 2006, a sign for R. Fine & Co / Cloaks & Suits became visible at the bottom of the stack (click for image). R. Fine was Reuben Fine (1879-1954). He was an immigrant from Russia ca. 1900, and R. Fine & Co. were located here approximately 1914 to 1916. Fine can be found in the U. S. Census reports for 1910 (living at 1019 Putnam Ave., Brooklyn), 1920 (living at 1428 Prospect Ave., the Bronx) and 1930 (living at 1938 86th St., Brooklyn). His business was short-lived. By the time of his registration for the World War I draft in 1918 he was working as a buyer for Eastern Merchandise Co., 448 Broadway. Eastern Merchandise is described in Polk's New York City Directory for 1920-21 as General Merchandise Commission Merchants. At the time of his registration for the World War II draft in 1942, Fine lived on West 98th St., Manhattan, and gave his occupation as Retired.

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