Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good news on Canal and Eldridge; remembering the Witty Brothers

Last November, Jeremiah had an item on the delightfully old-school Cup & Saucer Luncheonette on Canal and Eldridge. A rarity in these glitzy times. And still going strong! Good news, of course. Then! A friend swore to me the other day that the Cup & Saucer had been shuttered. So I headed over to the corner of Canal and Eldridge after work last night to find -- business as usual. Phew. Stupid friend.

By the way, walking north on Eldridge, I noticed this name on the building below:

I wasn't familiar with the Witty Brothers. Didn't realize the hand they played in NYC fashion history. Found this in the Times, from 2006:

Spencer B. Witty, the last of four brothers whose company, Witty Brothers, fashioned and sold elegant men's clothing through a small, prestigious chain of stores in New York, died May 29 at his home in Manhattan. He was 92.
The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, said his grandson Eric Gould.
In 1939 Mr. Witty — along with his brothers Frederic, Ephraim and Arthur, and a cousin, Irving — took over a company founded by their grandfather David Witty in 1888. It started as one shop on Eldridge Street in Lower Manhattan. By the time it was taken over by the Eagle Clothes company in 1962, there were six stores, one in Brooklyn and five in Manhattan, including two on Fifth Avenue.
"They used luxurious fabrics, cashmere, Scottish tweeds," said Mr. Witty's daughter, Jane Gould, "and this was coming out of the Great Depression." An article in The New York Times about the "Witty boys" in 1952 said it was their insistence on retaining the high quality of their forebears that kept the company afloat through the Depression.


Jeremiah Moss said...

whew indeed! thanks for the update. what's happening across the street? last i checked they were doing demolition, must be well into construction now

Anonymous said...

Eh...heh-heh. Oops. I was so focused on the Cup & Saucer...I didn't even pay attention to anything else right around there. Will have to go back! It's on my way home (sort of). Plus, this will give me a chance to eat this time at the C&S.

Anonymous said...

Witty Brothers was my family's company, and Spencer my great uncle. I loved seeing it mentioned on your blog. The Eldridge store was the first store front with a factory above.
Thanks for the shout out,
Nicole Witty

Unknown said...

I'm related to the Witty's but not sure exactly to whom. My great grandma Sybil Ressler was a Witty. Her father may have been Irving. Her sisters, I believe, were Pearl, and I can't remember the others, maybe Rose and Ida? Her children were Ethel Spectorsky Ressler Cohen (my grandmother on my father's side), Harold Ressler and Elaine Ressler. My dad is from Eastchester, NY in Westchester so we have visited the city occasionally and have visited the building. It was very impressive to me when I was little. I remember when we went, the neighborhood seemed to have become very Chinese, this was probably 30 some yrs ago. -Emily Cohen Decker

Anonymous said...

I am related to you guys also. My grandfather was Josef Szumski and he help to found the store. Does anybody know about us? Josef Szumski was David Wtty's wife's brother.

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm related to the WIttys too via Fanny Witty, a daughter of founder, David Witty. I've done some family genealogy that's up on Ancestry, as have others, and also visited the old store\factory on Eldridge St. I am not aware of Szumski relatives, as to my knowledge, Great Great Grandma Witty died before the family came to the US. I remember someone in the family saying she died enroute. Curiously, on my DNA match list, there are a lot of names far down on the list--listed as 5th to 8th cousins--that are similar to Szumski...Samsky, Sumsky...etc. Anonymous, do you have any more details about this?
Robin Hammer

Unknown said...

Ok this is very late and kinda weird, but I have great, old, wooden hangers from my dear deceased parents. I was just using one and saw the address on it and looked it up. The internet is a great thing, I have one of my dad’s old hangers from the original Witty clothing store. That’s all. I think it’s cool. Thanks !

Tony said...

As a child living on Eldridge street, the gang and I would sit in front of one of the local stores and stare up at the hugh roof Neon lights in Red, saying Witty Bros. This was 1936 or 7.