Completed in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression, the distinctively Art Deco structure with the 10-story tall tower which has housed an outlet of Sears Roebuck and Company for 80 years, was officially granted status as a New York City landmark this past Tuesday.
Approval for the status was bestowed by the Landmarks and Preservation Commission in recognition not only of its depression era design, but also due to the unique role the building played in the history of the time. The only building project in New York City designed by the architectural firm of Nimmons, Carr & Wright, it’s construction provided 300 jobs at a time when jobs were rare. Eleanor Roosevelt, at the time the First Lady of New York (her husband Franklin was then governor) led the opening ceremony, during which she made the stores first purchase: a pair of baby booties.
Within the building is a theater with a 650-people capacity. There was also a West Indian restaurant on the third floor for a time housed in the employee break room.
Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the preservation commission said in a statement,
“The building is as impressive for its architectural style, scale and massing as for the impact it must have had on Brooklyn and the city’s economy when it first opened.”
Sears as a business has been struggling through these hard economic times, and is planning on closing down as many as 120 of its Kmart and Sears branches. Luckily for the people of Brooklyn, and Flatbush in particular, the impressive building on Beverly Road is staying open. It helped Brooklyn pull through the depression in the 30’s, and now with its status as a landmark, it will continue to be a symbol of hope for better economic times to come.