Antique Signs at 97 Orchard, Part 2

Posted on: January 29th, 2010 at 6:33 am by

Thanks again to Derya Golpinar, Collections Manager at the Tenement Museum, for writing this exclusive article for Bowery Boogie!  Here is part two in the series…

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First, a quick recap before we dive in.  Yesterday, we spoke about our newest exhibit in the works entitled “Minding the Store,” and about a former tenant of 97 Orchard Street, Feltly Hats.  The other sign in the window is that of Louis Chock.

Louis Chock sign: The “Louis Chock” store was an underwear business located at 74 Orchard Street. They left the storefront and now run their business through a catalog.  We acquired this sign in 2005 after they closed down their brick-and-mortar store.

According to family lore, Louis and his wife, Hilda, came over in 1921 from Brest Litovsk (then Russia, now Poland) shortly after marrying. After officially starting the business by peddling socks on the streets, they opened their first store in 1923. By the 1950s, believe it or not, this small area of the Lower East Side was a supplier of 10 to 20% of all underwear in the United States! As recently as 30 years ago, there were over 50 stores in the LES all carrying the same merchandise.

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[© Collection of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum]

Thanks to Dave Favaloro for help with writing this post!

To reiterate, we are eager to hear from you! What LES mom and pop shops are/were your favorite? Do you have any memories of Feltly Hats or Louis Chock to share with us?

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