130-138 W 25
130-138 W. 25th St.(2004)

At top the address, down the side (among others) Belle Dress House, Poretz Bros.

The Belle Dress House (click for image) only dimly visible down the east wall, dates from around 1909. Named for Belle Swerdlow (1886-1965; born Vilna, Lithuania; immigrated to the US 1895), the firm manufactured dresses at 16 E. 8th St., then moved to 130 W. 25th St. in 1911. Around 1914 the firm was also known as Swerdlow & Jaffe, then Swerdlow & Rosoff, as Belle entered into partnerships with Meyer Jaffe (Belle's brother-in-law; 1881-1964; born Urtebsk?, Russia; immigrated 1900), then Max Rosoff. By 1916 the partnership changed to Wolf Jacobs (1872- ) and Samuel Jacobs. By 1920 Belle Swerdlow became Mrs. Albert Blitzer, and Albert Blitzer (1884-?) took over as president of Belle Dress House. This ad for Belle Dress House appeared in Fairchild's Women's Wear Directory, July, 1919.

In 1924 the business moved to 265 W. 36th St. and apparently did not do well: a bankruptcy sale was announced in the New York Times on Aug. 1, 1925. But things got even worse the following year. On Jan. 16, 1926 the Times reported that "Mrs. Belle S. Blitzer of 1,747 Union St., Brooklyn, received a sentence of four months in the Workhouse ... after she pleaded guilty of making a false financial statement." Albert Blitzer had been convicted the previous November of making a false statement in connection with an application for $5000 credit from the Hamilton National Bank. Belle had testified in his behalf and her arrest followed the testimony she gave.

Poretz Bros. Coats (click for image) at the bottom of the stack. Abraham Poretz (born Russia 1887, immigrated to US 1912) was a partner in the ABC Cloak Co. at 10 W. 18th St. around 1916/17. Poretz Bros., Ladies Coats, was formed at the same address in 1920, with Abraham Poretz in partnership with his brother, Louis Poretz (born Vilna, Lithuania 1889, immigrated to US 1899). They moved to 130 W. 25th St. in 1923, where they were joined by a third brother, Carl Poretz (born Russia ca.1894, immigrated to US 1913). They stayed at W. 25th St. until 1926, and then remained in business another forty years, located primarily at 263 W. 38th St. (1936-1966).

Just above Poretz (in this position) in 1940/41 there was a sign that read Seymour Dress Co. (appears in photos of the time). This seems to have been overpainted by at least 2 Cloak & Suit manufacturers. I can't make out any remnant of the Seymour sign. But Seymour Dress was run by Sol Kleiman (1889-1972), a native New Yorker, and Isidor Sandberg (1888-?), an immigrant from Austria in 1893. It is not clear why it was called Seymour Dress Co., but Sandberg had a son named Seymour. Possibly it was named in honor of the son. Kleiman and Sandberg also ran a company called Reliable Waist Co. Both companies were located here on 25th St. around 1922-23.

The Smith Bros. (Meyer and Samuel Smith), dress manufacturers, were located in this building from 1917 to 1921, but left no trace of a sign. Their sign is found at 112 Madison Ave.

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