New York City is the nation’s Fashion Capital but the fickle nature of the industry has forced many businesses to close. Ghost signs of forgotten clothing and fabric stores can be spotted in Uptown and Downtown New York. The ghost signs of Louis Zuflacht & Sons, a men’s clothier on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, have improbably survived despite the shop’s closure decades ago. Its neon signs were erected in 1942 and advertise the “Smart Clothes” sold within. The New York Times noted that Zuflacht “provided Bar Mitzvah suits to loyal customers, many of whom patronized the shop for as many as 50 years and saved his hangers.”
It was a rocky start for Zuflacht. A 1916 “Business Troubles” column in the New York Times states that “a petition in bankruptcy has been filed against Louis Zuflacht, dealer in clothing at 184 Stanton Street.” Lost City notes that Zuflacht fared better in the early 1940s when he moved a block west on Stanton Street where Tress & Tress operated a men’s clothing store. Zuflacht’s sons, Jack and Joe, ran the haberdashery for a time. Louis Zuflacht died in 1986.
The Zuflacht ghost signs were concealed in 2014 when the facade was transformed into Abe’s Antiques for the exterior shooting of the ABC television show Forever. “The Louis Zuflacht is under our sign,” an ABC production staffer said in 2014. “It remains unblemished. In fact, we went to great lengths to keep it in the condition we found it in.”
The sci-fi crime drama featured Dr. Harry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), an immortal medical examiner who uses his skills to help the NYPD solve crimes. Morgan conducted research to end his immortality in the basement of Abe’s Antiques. The shop was operated by Abraham “Abe” Morgan (Judd Hirsch), the doctor’s adopted son. Despite its optimistic title Forever was canceled by ABC after one season. Today ABC Environmental, a mold, lead, and asbestos testing and management company, occupies the Zuflacht storefront.
A wealth of forgotten ads can be found in Mastropolo’s books on Uptown and Downtown Manhattan ghost signs. Music fans, check out the author’s books on legendary concert venue Fillmore East and a comprehensive history of rock in NYC. Next, check out the author’s Untapped articles on 10 Ghost Signs of Brooklyn, The Forgotten Theaters and Haunts of Actor Jackie Gleason and East Village Ghost Signs That Reveal the History of Avenue A.