RUSSEK’S, Fulton Mall

by Kevin Walsh

THIS one stumped me for quite a long time. This painted ad on the north side of Fulton, across from Macy’s, stumped me for years, but Of New York has scooped me by identifying it as Russek’s, yet another entry in the Department Store Museum of Fulton Mall. Russek’s, which specialized in furs and the fashion designs of Suzy Perrette, was founded as early as 1886 by the grandparents of photographer Diane Arbus, with the Fulton Street store opening in 1937. As it turns out, the blue window awnings for the current occupant, Rainbow Shops, have the same initial as the original tenant.

Our family made a monthly, or perhaps once every two months, pilgrimage to Macy’s in the Swinging Sixties when I was a kid, using the B37 bus, which ran down 3rd Avenue and then Fulton, where it stopped right in front of the store. I remember the elevators staffed with operators (are the elevators at that Macy’s still personally operated?) and the formal restaurant on the top floor, where I would have the Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. In any case I have not been inside that old A&S in what must be 40 years, though I’ve passed it often; my feeling is, I shouldn’t be stalking around inside a store with my camera unless I’m buying something.

In 1979, with my college career at St. Francis winding down, Fulton Street was turned into Fulton Mall, and traffic severely curtailed to deliveries and buses. Specialized bus shelters and signage was installed. In the early 2010s, the mall was remodeled, with new signage and very odd lampposts (I don’t have time to fish out a photo of them, but Street View will show them.)

For more of Fulton Mall’s ancient emporiums, see this FNY page.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Gary Fonville December 22, 2022 - 4:22 am

I’ve been aware of that sign for many, but didn’t know anything of that business. Thanks for your historical explanation of that faded gem.

You said your mother took you to Macy’s in Downtown Brooklyn. I think you meant A&S. The Macy’s name was given to A&S by its parent corporation, Federated Stores about thirty years ago

Ed Greenberg December 24, 2022 - 8:47 am

Back before Covid, I came down to Brooklyn, and after a trip to the Transit Museum, went up to Fulton Street to drop in on that Macy’s/A&S store. What I found: The eight story store is only five stories now. The top three are no longe retail. Near as I can tell, there is no toy department (on the eight floor.) The first floor elevator lobby still has the art deco doors but the elevators themselves have been totally rebuilt and are modern, self service. Only one side, half the elevators, were operating and there were retail displays set up in the elevator lobby on all floors, blocking off the elevators on the other side. The “annex” which was the old A&S, about four stories, I recall, is not in service, and I couldn’t find where the access was. I remember this area because it had three Birdcage elevators that I had hoped to revisit. I don’t remember Fulton Street as a child, since we entered the store directly from the subway.

Bill Tweeddale January 1, 2023 - 5:40 pm

Can someone comment on what happened to the Bond Clothing store on Fulton St.? I worked there in the mid-60’s while going to college. Google hasn’t given me any enlightenment!

Dr. A. J. Lepere January 1, 2023 - 10:37 pm

Being of a similar vintage to you, I also remember visiting A & S on Fulton with my mother as a child. The best was the custard stand at the foot of the escalator in the basement. The only reason I never complained when we went there!


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