Former Third-Generation Owner of Beckenstein’s Dies from COVID-19

Posted on: June 10th, 2020 at 5:06 am by

The former third-generation owner of Beckenstein’s Fabrics, a business with deep roots on the Lower East Side, passed away earlier this spring due to complications from coronavirus.

Garry Greenberg succumbed to the illness on April 25. He was 68.

Beckenstein’s has been a staple in New York City since 1918, when it was founded by a Polish immigrant named Samuel Beckenstein. Like so many other Lower East Side success stories, this company was one born of immigrant toil, and rose from push-cart to storefront.

Business flourished during the Depression years when the company provided custom trousers when they became too threadbare to wear. According to the official website, this service ultimately became the inspiration behind the 1932 song “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long,” later popularized by Barbra Streisand. The store would later occupy two addresses on Orchard, one for menswear yardage, the other for remnants.

In 2003, the legendary fabric company relocated from Orchard Street to the garment district on 39th Street. Leather and hat vendors then took up residence beneath the awesome brick advertisement that pretty much defines the old-world nature of the block.

Beckenstein is in its fourth generation of family ownership.

These days, the photogenic manufacturing building on Orchard Street is now owned by landlord Michael Shah – he paid $28 million in August 2015 – and converted into luxury living. The ground floor is home to an upscale gallery called Galerie Perrotin (which later modified the ghost signage to reflect its business).

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