West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is shadowy and gritty; it’s a low-slung block of restaurants and small shops occupying converted brownstones and renovated office buildings.
Because it’s one of those unusually frozen in time blocks, it’s a stretch with many mysteries. One I’ve always wondered about has to do with the box-like structure with big windows at number 34-36.
Built in 1914 as a loft, the building’s entrance has what looks like a frieze with scenes of a charioteer and crowds of women and children, something right out of ancient Greece.
West 46th Street is a little north of the city’s former fur district, where former furriers and fur manufacturers reigned through much of the 20th century.
It didn’t take long to locate the furrier who occupied this storefront, as far back as 1916. William C. Emerick advertised his “furs of the quality sort” in Harper’s Bazaar (above right) back then, 103 years ago.
In 1920, he also appeared in a fur trade journal (above center).
I don’t know when Emerick left the premises, but amazingly, his furs sign remains, slightly faded but perfectly legible.