Berley Real Estate

Berley & Co., Real Estate, 115-123 W. 29th St. (2004)

Max Berley (1894-1958), an immigrant from Russia in 1907, founded his real estate and insurance business in the early 1920s. When this ad ran in the New York Times 30 Nov. 1926, Berley was located at 1263 Broadway near W. 32nd St.

This sign was painted by Bob Middleton of the Mack Sign Co. approx. 1970. (For more on Mack Sign Co. see the Mack page.)

A few feet below the Berley sign is Rosenfeld & Son, Cloaks (Click for image). Founded ca.1898 downtown on Forsythe St., Rosenfeld & Son passed through three generations of the Rosenfeld family. The original Rosenfeld & Son was made up of Simon Rosenfeld (père) and Kalman Rosenfeld (fils). Simon Rosenfeld was born in Russia ca.1836 and immigrated to the U. S. in 1887. Kalman (sometimes spelled Calman) Rosenfeld was born in Russia Dec. 1864, immigrated to the U. S. 1882, and lived until around 1918. Kalman appears in the U. S. Census of 1900, living at 138 Forsythe St. with his wife, Fannie, and 6 children, the oldest of which is Aaron Rosenfeld, age 11. Aaron Rosenfeld (1888-1969) is listed as the "son" in Rosenfeld & Son from 1911. The company was located at 115 W. 29th St. from 1918 to 1925, and went out of business in 1931.

At the bottom of this same wall are some other readable signs: Click for image. These are:

(1) S. Kadner & Wallace / Furs & Skins: Samuel Kadner (born Russia 1875, immigrated 1901) was a furrier in New York from around 1910 until the middle 1940s, almost always at a W. 29th St. location. His partnership with Abraham Wallace (born Russia 1883, immigrated 1905) began around 1925 and ran into the mid-1930s. They were located here at 115-123 W. 29th St. through that period. Earlier Wallace had been in business with Israel Goldstein (born Russia 1882, immigrated 1904) from around 1914 to 1921. All three men registered for the World War I draft, Wallace & Goldstein while living in the Bronx and employed at their partnership at 30 W. 29th St., and Kadner while living in Brooklyn and employed at his own fur dyer shop at 31 E. 11th St., Brooklyn.

(2) L. Rabinowitz / Furs & Skins: In 1929 L. Rabinowitz, Furs & Skins, changed its name to L. Rabinowitz & Sons, Furs & Skins. This was the furrier business of Louis Rabinowitz (ca. 1870-?), an immigrant from Russia ca.1888. The sons were Marvin Rabinowitz (1898-?) and William Rabinowitz (1900-1985?). The Rabinowitz family appears in four successive U S Census reports from 1900 through 1930, living in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1930 the sons, now 32 and 29 years old and still not married, continued to live at the family homestead, 142 Manhattan Ave., Jersey City. Louis, head of household and a widower, was now 60 year old. The business, founded in 1897, was located at 115 W. 29th St. from 1913 to 1938. This advertisement for L. Rabinowitz appeared in the monthly Fur News, vol. 23, no. 1, Jan. 1916. L. Rabinowitz and Sons continued in operation at various garment area locations until 1962.

(3) S. Goldin & Pollack / Furriers Supplies / and Silks: Simon Goldin (born Russia ca.1876, immigrated 1907 or 1908) was in the fur and furrier supplies business with two brothers, Aaron Goldin and Samuel Goldin, in 1914. This business went through roughly annual changes in name and personnel until around 1921 when Jacob Pollack became his partner at S. Goldin & Co. Furriers Supplies, 49 W 28th St. This became S. Goldin & Pollack in 1923, and the business was located at 115-123 W. 29th St. in 1925. Within a year they moved again, this time to 107 W. 27th St. where they stayed until 1929, when they went out of business, presumably yet another victim of the depression. Simon Goldin appears in the U S Census of 1930 living on La Salle St. in Manhattan: his occupation is listed as "Proprietor Hardware Store." (La Salle St. runs between Claremont Ave. and Amsterdam Ave. just south of 125th St. near Grant's Tomb.) Jacob Pollack (1898-1981) was also an immigrant from Russia (ca.1900). He registered for the World War I draft at the age of 20 while employed as a manager at S. Goldin & Co. 49 W. 28th St.

At the back end of this same wall are two other readable signs (Click for image):

Michael Bros. / Showroom: The Michael brothers were Julius L. Michael (1878-1969) and Joseph Michael (1882-1977). They were coat manufacturers, primarily children's coats. This was a relatively short-lived business, running less than 10 years (1912 to 1921). They were located at 115 W. 29th St. 1916 to 1921. They appear in the U. S. Census of 1900 living with their parents, Nathaniel and Minnie Michael, on Gerry St. in Brooklyn (near Flushing Ave.), ages 21 and 18. Julius' occupation at the time is difficult to make out. Joseph was a shoe salesman. By 1930 both men were out of the coats business. Julius was an insurance salesman. Joseph was the proprietor of a real estate firm.

Herman Gabbe / & Bro. Inc. / Fur Dressers / Dyers & Bleachers (click for detail):

In the 1910 U. S. Census Herman Gabbe (1879-1963) was Hyman Gabbe, the 28-year-old son of Isaac Gabbe, living at 700 Willoughby Ave., Brooklyn. Isaac Gabbe and his wife, Esther, were recent immigrants from "Russia," as were all of their eight children. Hyman seems to have come to the U. S. in 1904, and the others followed in 1906. Isaac Gabbe's occupation was recorded as "Painter, Journeyman." His four sons were Hyman, 28, Manager Fur Shop; Louis, 26, Cutter Dresses; Robert, 24, Buyer Dept. Store; and Sam, 30, Proprietor Paint Shop. The daughters were Lena, 23; Sadie, 21; Yetta, 19; and Annie, 17. Each daughter was recorded as "Dressmaker, Home."

In 1918 when the four Gabbe brothers registered for the World War I draft, three of them were employed at Herman Gabbe Fur Inc., 207 Starr St., Brooklyn. Louis Gabbe had his own business, manufacturing dresses, at 242 6th Ave, Manhattan. But Herman Gabbe Furs also had a location in Manhattan beginning in 1915. Herman Gabbe & Bro. was listed in the Manhattan telephone directory from 1917 to 1929. The brother was Robert Gabbe (1885-1955), and they were located at 115 W. 29th St. from 1922 to 1925.

24 years after their World War I draft (1918) registrations the four Gabbe brothers registered for the World War II draft (1942). In 1942 Herman Gabbe was 61 and employed at the Gabbe Importing Co. Inc., 115 West 30th St. Louis Gabbe was 59 and self-employed (dress-making business), 580 8th Ave. Robert Gabbe was 56 and employed at H & H Goodman, 24 Lombardy St., Brooklyn. Sam Gabbe was 62 and employed at the Hotel Governor Clinton, 7th Ave. & 31st St.

When Robert Gabbe died in 1955, his obituary in the New York Times, 27 Jan. 1955, p. 23, read, "Robert Gabbe, executive vice president of the East Midwood Jewish Center, 1625 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, of which he had been a leading member since it foundation in 1925, died Tuesday at his home, 1280 Avenue L. Brooklyn. His age was 65... Former head of a fur dyeing business, Mr. Gabbe also had been interested in real estate. With his brother, Herman, he financed the building of the Governor Clinton Hotel." Herman Gabbe's listing in the Manhattan telephone directory from 1930 to 1937 was "Hotel Governor Clinton PEnnslvna 6-9484." In Polk's 1933-34 New York City Directory Herman Gabbe was identified as "treas Hotel Gov Clinton Inc," and Robert Gabbe as "sec Hotel Gov Clinton Inc." Some of the history of the Hotel Governor Clinton can be found at 31street4.3.html.

When Samuel Gabbe (1879-1943) died, his father, recorded in 1910 as Isaac, was specified as Isidore. Then when Isaac/Isidore Gabbe died in May, 1948, his given name was Yitzchok. Apparently Yitzchok (or Yitzchak) is a Hebrew name that is frequently anglicized to Isaac. Louis Gabbe (1883-1948) died five days after his father.

The Gabbe origins in "Russia" seem to have been Libau, which in 2010 is Liepaja in western Latvia on the Baltic sea.

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