Hungarian immigrant Alexander Samuel Beck opened a shoe store with his brother Samuel on Fulton Street in Brooklyn in 1909. After the partnership with his brother dissolved he opened a more successful store on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint in 1914, and Beck was able to expand. After a sale to Saul Schiff in 1945 there were 147 stores in the East, Midwest and South, with as many as 18 stores in Manhattan. Business declined after that, and the store this sign illustrates was the last one remaining in Manhattan at #128 West 34th, across the street from Macy’s, when it closed in 1982.
Subsequent owners have found it too expensive or a pain in the neck to remove, and thus the Deco-y sign’s a reminder of an age when people wore shoes other than sneakers.