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Freem’s of the Waldorf Astoria

A Waldorf Story by Robert Nefsky
1931

My submission tells the story of my grandfather’s men’s store, Freem’s Ltd. of the Waldorf-Astoria, which was the haberdashery of the hotel for 25 years from November 1931 until my grandfather’s death in 1956, and includes a powerpoint presentation with photos and other materials.

Author’s Note: I am submitting this piece as part of the 90th anniversary of the Waldorf-Astoria. My grandfather’s store, Freem’s Ltd., the first men’s store on Park Avenue, opened on November 14, 1931, and stayed in operation for 25 years until my grandfather’s death in 1956. I submitted a version to the Waldorf-Astoria Archives a number of years ago, and continue to refine it as new information comes to light. A Powerpoint presentation accompanies the piece. It covers my grandfather’s business career, first as a haberdasher in the garment district, and then in both the Waldorf and in the Roney Plaza in Miami Beach, Florida.

On May 29, 1934, The New York Times ran a page one article recounting a harrowing transatlantic flight by the French aviators Paul Codos and Maurice Rossi, whose equipment trouble the previous day had foiled their attempt to set the world record for a nonstop long-distance flight. Their original destination from Paris was San Diego, but they ended up at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

The headline read:

FRENCH FLIERS LAND HERE
WITH A TREMOR IN WING;
FLY OCEAN IN 38 ½ HOURS

Even though they failed to reach San Diego, this was the first successful nonstop flight from Europe to New York. 1,000 people had gathered for their unexpected landing. A 2 ten-car procession with a motorcycle escort took them to the Waldorf-Astoria, “where Oscar met the airmen in their rooms on the fourteenth floor.” “Once in their rooms the fliers asked first for a bath and a barber and then for champagne and sandwiches. They refused more elaborate food and both said that they would like to sleep.”

Other details were supplied by The Daily News Record, the national menswear daily published in New York, which ran this piece on its page one the same day:

Freem’s, Ltd., Outfits
French Fliers Here
Waldorf Shop Reports Both
Take Same Sizes and Same
Types of Furnishings

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