Wednesday, April 27, 2016

S&G Gross


S&G Gross pawnbrokers has been in New York City for over a century. Their building on 8th Avenue and 34th Street is an antique treasure for its neon sign and vintage symbol of the three golden spheres.

Now Gross is gone.

The gates are down, a sign in the window says: "We have moved" and "We've been purchased by Gem Pawnbrokers," up the avenue at 40th Street. Gem is a chain with over 25 locations around the city, Westchester, and Long Island.

"Thank you all the years as our dedicated customers," Gross says in their goodbye note, "it was our pleasure to serve you."

"Established in 1901 by Sol and Gus Gross," according to their website, "the business has continued under the leadership of Robert Gross. The succession has been continued by Robert's son Gary and Gary's daughter Randi. All three generations continue to work together to form a strong nucleus for the continued success of the business."

After 115 years, that's over. With no fanfare. Just an empty window with empty jewelry cases and a lonesome handwritten sign for LADIES MOVADO.

The pawnshop had been in this location since 1918.

How old are those golden spheres? They are dented in spots, like moons struck by passing asteroids but still defying gravity.

It is extremely rare in the city to find the medieval pawnbroker symbol, and in glorious three dimensions such as this. (The symbol dates back to the Medici Family.) I have always enjoyed walking by and seeing them, looking up to make sure they were still there.

The trio also appears atop the neon sign. I will hate to see them go.

What will happen to this piece of New York history now that the Gross family has left the building? What horrible frozen yogurt or cupcake chain will come to destroy them?


T.E. Rinaldi said...

This is a heartbreak. I wrote-up an evolutionary study of Gross' fa├žade a few years ago:

Brian said...

Bummer. Perhaps this will be leveled along with the rest of that Northwest corner of 34th and 8th.

Unknown said...

If you notice, that whole part of 34th street is vacant, or ready to be vacant from 8th avenue until the middle of the block. There are only a few stores left- a touristy shop and a lunch spot. Looks like someone is getting ready to knock all those buildings down and build something huge.

Brian said...

A 17 story mixed commercial/hotel bldg is going up at 245 West 34th. I don't think that includes the corner. I guess something else is going up on the coorner.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Oh Lord. Gramercy Pawnbrokers is still there, right? I remember Stavenhagen, on Fifth in Brooklyn, peering in the windows at all those seamy, intimate, precious treasures, & wondering what I'd part with in a pinch