Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue.

Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue is among New York’s most notable and historic department stores, dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Opening in 1901, Bergdorf Goodman has had a few locations over its 120 years in operation, setting up shop permanently at its Fifth Avenue location in 1928. Known for its wide selection of exquisite clothing and elaborate Christmas setups — as well as affluent and famous clients — the store has gained worldwide fame and popularity among figures like Yoko Ono, Joan Rivers and Elizabeth Taylor. Check out these top 10 secrets of Bergdorf Goodman!

1. The store was built on the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II House

Cornelius Vanderbilt II house
Photo from Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Bergdorf Goodman moved to its present Beaux-Arts style location at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in 1928 on the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II House. The home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II was allegedly the largest single-family house in New York City at the time, a far cry from his grandfather’s humble beginning on Staten Island. Using the fortune he inherited from his grandffather the Commodore, Cornelius purchased and knocked down three brownstones on the corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue, building his own from scratch.

The Vanderbilts hired George B. Post to design the home and later enlisted Richard Morris Hunt to help Post make the mansion even larger in the 1890s. Despite the home’s demolition, you can still track down the remnants of the mansion scattered around Manhattan, including the front gates that are now in Central Park, sculptural reliefs now in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, and a grand fireplace now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.