I am working in the Columbus Circle area for a few weeks, on Broadway and 56th. At lunch I get out and wander around a bit, marveling at the “supertall” buildings, built for rich financiers to park money, that are springing up among all the old favorites like Carnegie Hall and The Osborne on 7th and the Windermere, finally free of construction netting, on 9th Avenue.
8th Avenue has not been immune either to the rush to build, as the twin-towered Time Warner Center replaced the NY Coliseum in the early 2000s and the diamond-paned Hearst Tower was built on the shell of the old 1920s Hearst Magazine Building in 2006. But while skulking west on 56th at 8th Avenue, a painted sign on florid script for Eickelberg Funeral Directors, above 934 8th Avenue, caught my eye. Forgive the crappy IPhone zoom photo. I use an IPhone 6 and while it takes nice photos, zooming isn’t its strong suit. As a rule I use a Panasonic Lumix on my journeys, but I never take it to work. I’m not a spiritual person at all and I don’t believe in jinxes but whenever I have taken my “real” camera to work in the past, some kind of mishap has occurred.
Anyway when you see an ancient ad like this, the Indispensable Walter Grutchfield has to be consulted. According to WG, the funeral parlor was owned by German immigrant August Eickelberg (1850-1923); his two sons, Elliott and Graham, continued to run the business until their own deaths in the early 1950s.
I also turned to the online NYC Municipal Archives, which has this photo of 934 8th Avenue showing Eickelberg’s. You can see that his name was still on the building above the second floor. You can also see the neighboring Turkish Coffee House and on the corner of 55th, the Monte Carlo Spaghetti House.