[Photo by Jill from 2009]
There has been some activity this week at 84 Second Ave. near East Fifth St. … a building that has intrigued many of us for years…
First, before any history … on Monday, workers started replacing the long-empty storefront's front windows…
[Photo by Paul Kostabi]
The first thought among 84 watchers: The storefront is being put to use again as a… storefront… there's nothing on file with the DOB to offer any hints… for now the work has stopped…
[Photo Wednesday by Derek Berg]
As for history.
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]
More recently there was an ad for Jamie's now-closed check-cashing shop around the corner … as well as for a walker for $60.
Here's Jeremiah Moss writing about the building in July 2011:
We're all a little nervous about #84. There are those of us who watch it and wait, anxiously, for the day when it will be sold, when a multi-millionaire will turn it into a grand mansion, or the ground floor will be converted into a trendy farm-to-table restaurant, and all the mystery will be sucked away.