So many people ‘liked’ yesterday’s Instagram snapshot of the Gimbels skybridge that we decided to share a bit more about its history! Read below to learn all about this unique piece of NYC architecture:
While shopping in Herald Square–perhaps dropping by the Manhattan Mall, grabbing lunch at Broadway Bites, or picking up a few things at Jack’s 99 Cent Store–have you ever stopped to notice the three-story copper walkway spanning West 32nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues?
In 1910, the Gimbels department store chain (now perhaps best known for its presence in movies like Miracle on 34th Street and Elf) built its New York City flagship on the corner of 32nd Street and Sixth Avenue. Today the Daniel Burnham-designed building is home to the Manhattan Mall, but from 1910 until the 1980s, it was the site of the popular Gimbels store. Gimbels, known for its “bargain basement” and its rivalry with nearby Macy’s, sold a wide range of merchandise including clothing, accessories, and home furnishings.
By 1925 business was booming, and Gimbels acquired a nearby building for use as a warehouse and administrative annex. The skybridge, designed by architects Shreve & Lamb (who would go on to help design the Empire State Building) was built to connect the main store to the 31st Street annex.
Gimbels closed in 1986. While the store is no longer in existence, the three-story skybridge remains largely unchanged, a relic and reminder of the “golden age” of the American department store.
Want to peek inside the walkway? Though sealed off and no longer used as a pedestrian passageway, the fabulous Bowery Boys website managed to obtain some photos from inside the skybridge.