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He was eulogized in a funeral at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue in New York City, at which not only the cream of New York society, but thousands of B. As a result of the latter, he amassed a magnificent collection of artwork, including paintings (of which 75 were pieces created by Old Masters), Persian rugs, Renaissance tapestries, Chinese porcelains, crystals and jades valued, at the time, at ,000,000.00. Intensely private, he devoted his time to his business and to his art collection.It is important to distinguish, in Altman’s case, that his concern for the business was most emphatically not an obsession with money; In fact, he was described in the press as a “humane businessman” who was modest, shy, and retiring.He sincerely concerned himself with the well-being of those in his employ, and among the features he provided in his store were clean restrooms and eating facilities for the staff, and educational facilities for their benefit.He also supported the trend towards shorter working hours and Saturday closures in order to give his workers more time with their families and greater opportunities for leisure. In life he lived as a quiet bachelor and left no heirs though he did provide handsomely for the children of his sister Sofia Altman Fleishman and those of his late brother Morris.The Friedsams operated a dry goods store on the lower east-side, and the 12-year old Benjamin began working there in 1853.Eventually, Altman opened his own business at 39 Third Avenue, and nine years later, flush with success, no doubt owing to his astute business practices, he moved the store moved to Sixth Avenue and 18The dawn of the twentieth century brought great prosperity and development to New York City which was reflected in the great railroad terminals built to connect Manhattan island with the rest of the country, not to mention local outlying areas which themselves were prime for development. relocated to 34In addition, as early as 1893, ultra-wealthy socialite Mrs. Astor moved her home thirty blocks north, on Central Park, and her old mansion was raised to accommodate the construction of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (which was later demolished and replaced by the Empire State building).The store’s cachet and exclusivity were maintained by its palatial Fifth Avenue home, and a small number of suburban branches, one of which even carried the store’s reputation as far as suburban Philadelphia.
Altman’s began the retail march up Fifth Avenue from lower Manhattan in 1906.Uniquely, and practically unbeknownst to shoppers was, however, the store’s defining historical aspect: It was the source of income for the eponymous foundation that was created by its benevolent and thoughtful founder, Benjamin Altman., 1840.Five years earlier, his parents came from Europe, like so many others, in search of a better life in the New World.Though the leader of the group was a former director of Brooklyn’s Abraham and Straus, and owned a chain of specialty stores, the “new” Altman’s was not as successful as might have been hoped.In fact, New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger lamented in December of 1984 that the beloved Altman’s of old would likely disappear.He described the store as “quiet, altogether self-assured and understated.”Another change of ownership two years later preceded the store’s sale to L. Hooker, an Australian developer intent on developing retail properties in the USA.Hooker (which also bought Bonwit Teller, Sakowitz and Parisian store chains) had no experience in the running of American businesses, and its one shopping center development in America was the poorly planned, and badly located Forest Fair Mall in Cincinnati. After sitting idle for a number of years, the well-loved building would be renovated and re-purposed to house the City University of New York and a department of the New York Public Library.Though it planned to take the Altman name to Buffalo, Syracuse and Cincinnati, the whole debacle of the Hooker period meant bankruptcy in 1989 and the ultimate end of B. The highly revered institution it once housed is left, alas, only a memory.Are you tired of searching directory sites advertising wedding bands that call themselves jazz bands?Burke carried on the policies and charitable acts of his predecessors and escalated the store’s branch expansion during his tenure, which lasted until his retirement in 1955. In 1938, the delightful Charleston Gardens restaurant was opened on the store’s eighth floor, recreating the atmosphere of a garden at night beside an ante-bellum mansion. The opening of the Short Hills store resulted in the closing of a 1930 branch store in the central shopping district of East Orange, New Jersey, which was subsequently bought by Newark’s Kresge department store.A new tax law that forbade ownership of its source of income by any charitable foundation forced the Altman Foundation to sell the store in 1986 to an investor group that planned to downsize it and rent the upper floors as office space.