Absurd New York #134

Photo by Rick Stachura. November 29, 2020.



This year, instead of holiday windows, the Saks outpost in Astoria went with a holiday-hued paint job and jets of mistletoe in a planter.



Photo by Rick Stachura. November 29, 2020. 

9th Street and 35th Avenue. Astoria, Queens. 

The real mystery, though, is how this Saks & Company planter got here. Deeper still, which store did it come from? The 5th Avenue flagship, some 4 miles away? Or the retailer’s first site in Manhattan, the one that was on 6th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets? It’s hard to say.

From 1902 to 1924, Saks was “Saks & Company.” But after opening its 5th Avenue location in 1924, the company rebranded itself “Saks Fifth Avenue.” The 6th Avenue building became “Saks-34th Street,” and continued on until 1965. Today it holds other retailers behind its glassy facade. The 5th Avenue store, of course, lived on as the Saks flagship and is now a City landmark nearly 100 years old. 

So this planter in Astoria is from the 34th Street, pre-1924 era of the company then, right? Well, maybe not.

Sure, Saks changed its name in 1924, but apparently no one told the 5th Avenue architects. They still adorned the entrances to the building with the insignia “Saks & Company.” So it’s possible, if they designed the sidewalk planters too, they had them match the store’s exterior signage. So this planter in Astoria could be a post-1924 container too. 

But maybe it’s better to enjoy the find, not ponder the puzzle.



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