Former Third-Generation Owner of Beckenstein’s Dies from COVID-19

Posted on: June 10th, 2020 at 5:06 am by

The former third-generation owner of Beckenstein’s Fabrics, a business with deep roots on the Lower East Side, passed away earlier this spring due to complications from coronavirus.

Garry Greenberg succumbed to the illness on April 25. He was 68.

Beckenstein’s has been a staple in New York City since 1918, when it was founded by a Polish immigrant named Samuel Beckenstein. Like so many other Lower East Side success stories, this company was one born of immigrant toil, and rose from push-cart to storefront.

Business flourished during the Depression years when the company provided custom trousers when they became too threadbare to wear. According to the official website, this service ultimately became the inspiration behind the 1932 song “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long,” later popularized by Barbra Streisand. The store would later occupy two addresses on Orchard, one for menswear yardage, the other for remnants.

In 2003, the legendary fabric company relocated from Orchard Street to the garment district on 39th Street. Leather and hat vendors then took up residence beneath the awesome brick advertisement that pretty much defines the old-world nature of the block.

Beckenstein is in its fourth generation of family ownership.

These days, the photogenic manufacturing building on Orchard Street is now owned by landlord Michael Shah – he paid $28 million in August 2015 – and converted into luxury living. The ground floor is home to an upscale gallery called Galerie Perrotin (which later modified the ghost signage to reflect its business).

Recent Stories

Rebirth of 63 Pitt Street is a 12-Story Residential Tower

A new luxury rental building is on the docket for Pitt Street. In due course, the pre-war tenement building at 63 Pitt Street will be destroyed to make way for a twelve-story apartment complex. Plans have been underway for the last couple years. However, Department of Buildings issued permits late last month for both the […]

Mugger Snatches Cash from 75-Year-Old in Grand Street Subway Station

A 75-year-old man was mugged last weekend inside the Grand Street subway station on the Lower East Side, police said. According to the police report, the victim was purchasing a fare at the MetroCard machine on the mezzanine at about 1:00pm on Saturday, when he was approached by an unidentified man. The perp allegedly began […]

Museum at Eldridge Street Reopens Next Month

The Museum at Eldridge Street is awakening from the pandemic slumber. After a year-and-change, the historic synagogue is planning to reopen on June 1. The biggest change is that all tours are now conducted in a digital, self-guided format, rather than with an in-person guide. The tours will be available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. […]

Broad Daylight Bike Theft Outside Luxury Condo on Orchard Street

Thieves are becoming more brazen on the Lower East Side. Case in point, this bike thief on Orchard Street in broad daylight. A resident captured video of this man clipping a lock at 11:30am outside the luxury condo building at 196 Orchard Street on Sunday morning. The thief used an angle grinder to cut the […]

‘Cock’ Fight at CB3 Over Rivington Street Club

The Cock fight appears to be heating up. A large, vocal contingent of Hell Square residents is diametrically opposed to the bar moving into the former home of Fat Baby on Rivington Street. At issue is the business itself, which has come under fire in recent years from Second Avenue residents for being an unruly […]