Honey, I Think it’s Time to Get Some New Furniture!


So, I haven’t posted anything in a while, I know. It’s not that I no longer lament the New York that once was or suddenly have some new affinity for the hipster menace – oh God no! I’ve just been busy. See, I’m a mom with a job and I have shit to do other than pen these simply fab essays that you all wait for. Oh… you don’t really care? Fine.

So, like I was saying, I was sitting on the SI Ferry thinking about how I’ve been a big, fat slacker when it came to my blog when suddenly I got a media message from my brother-in-law. Hmmm… I was kind of afraid to open it. See, he has, more than once, sent mail to me that was supposed to go to the husband – the kind of mail that should not be opened in a public place, especially in these “politically correct” times we’ve been thrust in to. But I said “to hell with it!” I was gonna be a risk taker, and if some nosey schmuck gets offended then he shouldn’t be lookin’ at my stuff. So this is what I got:

 This fabulous picture is of a building in Middle Village off of Metropolitan Ave. that’s having new siding put on it. Well, when they stripped it, revealed was this most awesome ad for John A. Schwarz furnishings.

John was born in New York about 1859 to German immigrants Stanislaus and Sophia. He began his foray into the furniture business first as a clerk for a furniture store and then in 1876, he opened his own place at 838 Broadway in Brooklyn. According to an ad from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1921: “A story of years of energy which ended in success. Founded in 1876 by John A. Schwarz… His congenial disposition won the hearts of all he knew, and when he opened his own little 20-foot store in 1876 on the original site – 838 Broadway – his friends were eager to patronize him. Generally his business grew until he was compelled to take over the entire building, and then the building next door. Finally, in 1900, the entire place was remodelled into a modern structure. The next step forward was the opening of the new store in the uptown shopping district, March 6, 1910, at 1321 Broadway, and the enlarging to 1319 Broadway. The same policy has always been carried out during these 45 years by “The Oldest House on Broadway,” namely, “A Pleased Customer is Our Best Advertisement.” John,Sr. actually died in 1906, possibly from injuries he sustained from a car accident he was in on Eastern Parkway a few years before in 1903. The business was taken over by his sons, John Jr., Edward and Frank. I discovered that they opened the store at 334 Livingston Street in 1922 and 16601 Jamaica Ave (the address is behind the dumpster in the first pic) around 1925. The opened another store in 1926 at 1535 Broadway when the took over Phelan’s Furniture. That would make our newly uncovered treasure date to about 1925. Why there are only 3 addresses on there, I couldn’t say.

In 1935, the Schwarz boys ventured into the Men’s Clothing business at their 1295 Broadway location.

But, if it’s furniture you want, it’s furniture you could have, my friend – at bargain prices t00! An ad from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1925 says I can get me a Side-Icer Refrigerator for only $23.89. Oh! But what about a new living room? It costs $149.50 and that’s a pretty penny these days. Don’t worry ma’am – you can use the “John A. Club Plan” and after a few monthly payments, it’s all yours. 

I don’t know what happened to all of the Schwarz stores or when the chain finally closed.  I haven’t been able to find an ad for them after 1936. The store at 340 Livingston became Fox Furniture by 1940, so I suspect all of the stores were liquidated about that time.

I did find the ad for the grand opening of their Livingston Street location from 1922 – it was a big deal too.

All three of their stores were having special deals and they were giving away all kids of prizes and stuff, just like nowadays.  When I went to the grand opening of the big Old Navy in 6th Ave in 1994, I got me a free pair of jeans! I think they were stone-wash, possibly with pleats.

If you go to street map on Google, you’ll see that the building is still there   but all of the hoopla is gone. Such is life, I suppose.  I believe the original store at 838 Broadway is now a liquor store, I leave that to you to look up.

So there it is, a little piece of history uncovered in a little old neighborhood where I used to live in Queens. If it were my house, I think I might try to preserve the not-so faded ad but alas,  it is not. At least we have this cool pic to remember it.

As for my bro-in-law, I suppose I can now forgive him for eating all of the pigs in blankets and Swedish meatballs at my wedding reception. I was really looking forward to them, ya know.

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33 Responses to Honey, I Think it’s Time to Get Some New Furniture!

  1. John Schwarz says:

    Hi Kathy,

    1 am John A Schwarz. 111. Born 1933. My great grandfather was the founder of John A Schwarz Furniture Stores in Brooklyn. I would be interested to know who your father and grandfathers were.

    • Kathy Schwarz says:

      Hello John!
      I guess we are relatives! My grandfather was Edward G. Schwarz, Jr. and my father is Peter G. Schwarz. They, along with one of my uncles, Edward III, ran the the last 2 of the John A. Schwarz furniture stores on Long Island.
      My father Pete recently started researching our ancestry. I’m sure he would love to hear from you! If you’d like to contact him, his email address is: WindLass38@aol.com

      • mark says:

        My fathers name was Edward G schwarz. he was born in 1936 in either bedford-stuyvesant or Bushwick his father was Anthony shwarz although his real name may have been Anton

  2. Luk says:

    I have a dresser by John A Schwarz , what is the value of His furniture today?

  3. I am selling my parent’s home on Long Island & all their furniture was purchased at ‘John A. Schwarz Fine Furniture for 75 years!’ in Hempstead in 1953. A gold seal remains on each piece, gorgeous cherry mahogany pieces that my mother cherished. They are in like new condition & as they say, they don’t make things like this anymore..I was offered money by dealers but instead I gave most of the pieces to friends & family that loved it as much as I do. I’m keeping the gorgeous buffet (with genuine brass pulls) and will keep that gold foil label in the drawer. The building is still standing across from White Castle, looks exactly the same as it did when we picked out my bedroom furniture in 1956 and my father kept all the original sales receipts in a little metal strong-box. The pride of a new post-war,suburban homeowner and the first to own their own home outside of the Bronx. John A. Schwarz was a big part of that dream for my folks and my neighbors that helped furnished their dreams from there. Thank you for a great post. I was feeling nostalgic today & googled the company to find out when the company closed and relived some great memories reading this blog…Thanks!

  4. “Honey, I Think its Time to Get Some New Furniture!

    | My Old NY Just Ain’t What She Used to Be” was in fact a really good post, . Keep authoring and I’ll
    try to continue to keep following! Thank you -Bernd

  5. Jan V. says:

    I have a friend who’s parents have passed away recently and there is a John A. Schwarz Dresser, Bureau, and matching Bed Frame that she would love to keep; but has her own set. Does anyone here know possible pricing/worth and who might be interested in purchaseing the set? Would email photos if there is anyone who might be interested or could steer me in the dircetion of discovering their worth. Furniture set was bought in 1957 in Hempstead. Thanks in advance.

  6. Mark A Schwarz says:

    I found a John A Schwarz Furniture in 2215 Middle Country Rd, Centereach, NY 11720 631-475-6593. My Great Grand Father was John Adam (or Adams) Schwarz from about the same time period, I was trying to find him on the internet when I came across your John A Schwarz

  7. Kathy Schwarz says:

    Hi Caroline! That was my family’s furniture business. John A. Schwarz had 2 stores on Long Island – one in Hempstead and one in Centereach. After the Brooklyn stores closed, the 2 Long Island stores remained open until the 1970’s, but I’m not sure of the exact year – maybe ’75. I have forwarded your link to my father, Peter Schwarz. He may be able to fill in some details. Thank you for posting this. My family and I really enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading your blog.

    • wagnerowicz says:

      Hi – I’m glad you liked it (I’m Karen AKA Wagnerowicz, rather than Caroline, btw). You may be happy to know that the sign is still there – it was covered up with new siding so maybe it will be revealed again in another 50 years? That would be pretty cool 🙂 It’s also pretty awesome to meet a descendant of someone/something I blogged about.

      Caroline took much better pics, they’re on Frank Jump’s faded ad website… http://www.fadingad.com/fadingadblog/?p=10506

      Mine I got via cell phone from my brother in law.

      • Kathy Schwarz says:

        Sorry about that Karen! That would be pretty cool. I checked out the other pics as well. My dad is out of the country right now with limited access to internet. He sent me an e-mail last night that he checked out your blog and thought it was great. Now he wants to dig deeper in the family history when he gets home. Thanks again for posting!

    • Caroline says:

      Wow, that is so cool, glad you found out it was Karen that did all the research, and I just posted the info on Frank Jump’s Faded Ads Blog with my photos. I would love to hear more about your family’s business, etc..

    • Caroline says:

      By the way, the house has not been covered by the siding yet, only that plastic protector stuff, I am curious as to why they haven’t replaced the siding yet, so if you come to Queens you might get a peek at the actual sign!! It’s located at 79th place and Metropolitan Ave.

    • Caroline says:

      Hello Kathy! While I was doing my own bit of research on the computer last month of the Schwarz furniture company and found a furniture tag!!! I will ask Frank of Fading Ads and/or Karen of My Old NY to post it…it was for sale on some inconspicuous website, but when I tried to purchase it, none of the links seemed to work on the site…it was very inexpensive..like $5 if that much!

    • Caroline says:

      Dear Kathy and Karen, I have sent Frank Jump a photo of the furniture tag from John A. Schwarz Furniture stores, and some photos of the ad being covered just 3 days after it was uncovered back in February.

    • Carl Wagenfohr says:

      Kathy, Did the Schwartz family also own the Hempstead Furniture Company, makers of custom furniture? My Dad was a furniture maker there in the 1960’s, and I remember him referring to the owners as Schwartz.

      • Kathy Schwarz says:

        It doesn’t sound familiar, but I was young when the store closed. I’ll have to look into that!

  8. Caroline Roswell says:

    Hi, Karen, yes, I was completely blown away by how quickly you did so much research, and the newspaper ads were really cool! Seems we have the same interests, and its crazy that you lived in my home town of Glendale and then M.V. too!! Thanks for all the links and info for the newspapers and stuff. I am obsessed with anything old and want to start cataloging the photos I’ve taken over the years of old, and/or odd stuff. When you mentioned the NY Times archives, did you mean you have to pay for articles pre-1930? PS. both Frank Jump and I are teachers for NYC, I work in a school on the Woodside/Maspeth border. Gottta get back to work, I can’t wait to talk again, and maybe meet you. And I’m so glad we made u feel special!! You did an awesome job of researching that sign!! I go to some lectures at the local historical societies occaisionally, I’ll let you know… can I have a better contact like your email or cell phone? you can send it in an email so it’s secure! (or maybe I can respond to the alert that was sent to me…I’ll check it out)

    PS, I forgot to click the boxes about responses below, so that is why I am posting this again!!

    • wagnerowicz says:

      hi again 🙂
      I’m not in Queens anymore, moved to SI like 10 years ago. About the NYTimes, it looks like you can read articles for free from 1851 until 1924. Everything after that you have to pay for. The 1940 census gets released on Monday, so I’ll be doing nothing but more genealogy for months now – been waiting twelve years for that one. It’s quite a big deal, you have no idea.

      I have to say,I’m not a big phone girl and I have a seven year old so I’m busy all the time with that and work and two dogs and one of those husband things. You can facebook me though, or I’ll look for you on tehre, I’m on that all the time. I bet we even have friends in common since my husband is from Mid Vil.

      Now I’m off – karate tournament for the child this weekend and I have to do stuff. Talk to ya soon!

  9. Pingback: Featured Fade – John A. Schwarz Furniture & Carpets – Middle Village, Queens – Caroline D. Roswell – Fading Ad Blog

  10. Great blog posting! I’m going to feature your posting on my blog with Caroline’s images. Love Old Fulton HIstory – Tom Tryniski’s incredible PDF archive of Brooklyn Eagle and other turn-of-the-century publications. I broke my ankle in a motorcycle accident and was unable to photograph this treasure. Was glad you and Caroline were able to capture this gem before it was re-obscured.

    • wagnerowicz says:

      thanks so much for liking my stuff! I’ve known about your site forever, along with Forgotten-NY, both of which I stumbled upon when I started doin’ the husband’s genealogy. And Caroline was so cool to pass my blog along.

      I feel so special now 🙂 I’m really flattered, no lie.

      And I’m sorry about your ankle, that sucks.

  11. Caroline says:

    Also, how did you get the info so quickly? The ad was only uncovered on like Feb. 25 and you had the research done by the 28th!!

  12. Caroline says:

    Dear Karen, I had taken quite a few of my own photos of the building and ad, but am curious how you found the information? How do you search and get archives of the old newspapers?

    Also, I used your info to write a short paraphrased version of the story and sent it to Frank Jump of Faded Ads, and expressly stated that you should be given credit for the information behind my own photos, which I also sent. I copied and pasted your whole copyright info and sent it to him as well. Anyway, thanks for doing the research, and I hope I hear from you since I am interested in researching different topics about my neighborhood of Glendale.

    • wagnerowicz says:

      thanks, I’m glad you liked it 🙂 there is a website called http://www.fultonhistory.com – it’s kinda odd, but you can find tons of old articles on there once you get the hang of how to search it. I tried to link to it as much as I could, they worked when I posted it, I hope they still do. I also subscribe to ancestry.com – but fultonhistory is totally free. oh, but sometimes it takes a long time to load and it seems to work better for me in internet explorer than google chrome. Oh, and the NY Times archives http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/nytarchive.html has stuff you can search going back to 1851, but you have to pay to read articles that were printed after like 1930ish or so.

      I’ve been doing genealogy for almost 12 years, so I guess I just kind of know how to find things and it’s kind of my addiction so once I see something old I get really into learning stuff about it. I lived in Glendale from 83 until about 96 then moved to Mid Vil. I even had my wedding reception at Durrow’s, which is all apartments now 😦

      ALSO, I find that if you just google their newspaper archives and their free books you can sometimes find cool stuff. Like, did you know Creedmore was a shooting range before it was an asylum? I think it opened as a gun club in the 1870’s. that’s so weird.

      • Caroline Roswell says:

        Hi, Karen, yes, I was completely blown away by how quickly you did so much research, and the newspaper ads were really cool! Seems we have the same interests, and its crazy that you lived in my home town of Glendale and then M.V. too!! Thanks for all the links and info for the newspapers and stuff. I am obsessed with anything old and want to start cataloging the photos I’ve taken over the years of old, and/or odd stuff. When you mentioned the NY Times archives, did you mean you have to pay for articles pre-1930? PS. both Frank Jump and I are teachers for NYC, I work in a school on the Woodside/Maspeth border. Gottta get back to work, I can’t wait to talk again, and maybe meet you. And I’m so glad we made u feel special!! You did an awesome job of researching that sign!! I go to some lectures at the local historical societies occaisionally, I’ll let you know… can I have a better contact like your email or cell phone? you can send it in an email so it’s secure! (or maybe I can respond to the alert that was sent to me…I’ll check it out)

  13. Susan says:

    You should send the photo to forgotten-ny.com. They are really keen on that stuff.

  14. Dianne says:

    Great Story……thanks!!!

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