Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Workers clearing out the mysterious 84 2nd Ave. storefront



Several EVG readers yesterday alerted us to some dumpster action outside 84 Second Ave. between Fifth Street and Fourth Street.

Mr. Baggs spotted workers removing misc. items from the long-empty storefront...





Here's a cut-n-paste from a previous post about this address, which has prompted some mystery through the years:

In February 2009, a man who said that he lived and worked nearby for years told Jill the following about the building:

It used to be a place that sold tuxedos and formal wear. The family had several children, but one of them, a daughter, was raped and murdered in the top floor, possibly in the 1940's [note: it was actually 1974].

The killer was never found. The children (or one of them and a spouse?) still live there and refuse to renovate or change anything. The top floor is exactly the way it was when the daughter was murdered and you can still see the powder where the cops dusted for fingerprints. This man had been inside once and was witness to its originality. He said they have no intention of selling or changing or even of renting out the storefront.

The name of the family is Sopolsky.

This is from The New York Times, dated Jan. 18, 1974:

The nude body of a 40-year-old woman propietor of a tailor shop that rents tuxedos on the Lower East Side was found bludgeoned to death. The victim was Helen Sopolsky of 84 Second Avenue, near fifth Street, whose shop is one flight up at that address. The motive of the attack was not determined immediately...."

Here's more history of 84 via Lost City from February 2012:

It was a temporary home for women in 1884, open to "self-supporting homeless young women, with or without a child." Morris Kosturk, 40, was found dead there in 1921. And Aaron Schneider, who lived here in 1964, was the victim of a hit and run driver.

For years (decades?), you could see a plastic-covered dinner jacket in the second-story window with the neon sign that reads "DRESS SUITS TO HIRE."


[Photo by Jeremiah Moss]

Here are more photos from yesterday via EVG reader Paul Dougherty...





One of the workers yesterday told EVG correspondent Steven that the woman who had lived in the building (and the owner of it) was taken to a nursing home several months ago.

The worker was unsure what was going to happen to the space. There aren't any work permits on file with the DOB for the address. And public records show that building is still in possession of the Sopolsky family...


[Photo by Steven]

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, spooky

Anonymous said...

This is the EV's version of a small town's ghost house, the kind you sneaked into and were scared as hell once inside. By next year there will be a loud open facade sports bar, sign.....

Anonymous said...

What a sad story.

Anonymous said...

I bet all the good stuff is already gone from that dumpster.

DrBOP said...

SOMEbody go peek in that dumpster......if parts of this building have been "empty" for many decades....

Anonymous said...

I used to see the woman who owned the building walking her dog all of the time. Occasionally she'd have a small tag sale in front of the store. For a while, I think there was a man living there as well.

I always liked the fact that this was one of the last hold out spaces in the neighborhood. I'm sure the real estate sharks have been circling the waters around this building for years. Wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of distant relatives have suddenly surfaced, now that the owner is incapacitated.

Anonymous said...

She sold the building and moved in with family.

Anonymous said...

oh my god i always wanted that building... wish i had enough to buy it and keep it as is, with maybe the addition of a little neon and a taxidermied zebra, for interest.

Goggla said...

I'm sorry to hear the woman who lived there had to relocate. I used to see her around the area and spoke to her a few times. She was friendly, and would often sell beads and jewelry out front on the sidewalk. I think Jamie from the check cashing place around the corner used to check on her. Sad to know neither one of them are around any more.

I've always been fascinated by the building and wondered if it was a preserved time capsule in side.

Scuba Diva said...

The woman's name was Betty; I spoke to her a couple of times and said hi whenever I saw her.

Anonymous said...

@2:21 and some chickens in the back yard

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Rothman said...

I've lived in the neighborhood my entire life . The woman that lived there for years with her little dog is Evelyn from what I recall. Back in the 70s or 80s she was a receptionist/assistant to a dentist that had his office on the corner of 4th St and Ave A . His name was Ralph Berger. Nice woman. Kept to herself for many many years. Used to be a real sparkplug in the dental office. Another small piece of the hood erased

Frank Rothman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Former East Villager said...

Correct me if I am wrong. I was always haunted by that storefront.

When I first moved to the East Village in the 80s, I needed my taxes done as I had just moved and it was complicated, involving two states and two different employers. I remember going up a flight of stairs in, or near, this building to an accountant who was kind, helpful and did not charge a lot.

Eden Bee said...

I love that building. If that is turned into a Starbucks that is it for me. Lady was super nice and I talked with her many times when she sat out front selling stuff. It's a 2nd ave legend albeit a sad one.

Anonymous said...

I've always had a soft spot for this building which stayed largely the same decade after decade. If this is changing, then everything is changing. I always wondered about its story, thanks.

Carol from E. 5th Street said...

The owner if the building is Betty Sopolsky. She is currently living with her lawyer who I spoke to. According to him she is friends with his mother and they are spending time together. He told me she is planning to "relocate". Not totally trusting him another neighbor spoke to Jaime Hernandez from the 9th precinct who spoke to Betty and she told him she is fine. From what we (neighbors) know she is estranged from her family (the only remaining family we know of is a niece) so who knows who will get the proceeds of the building but as her neighbors we feel we did what we could to check on the situation. We asked the lawyer to have Betty call one of us just to confirm she is okay but she never called.

Hanna813 said...

Thank you, Carol, for caring and for posting what you did. Jaime is a smart man and I trust his instincts.