Nat Sherman’s first store opened at 1400 Broadway in the heart of New York City’s garment center in the early 1930s. It became a high-profile hangout for fashion and show business executives, as well as gangsters - all big fans of premium cigars. In the 1970s, the tobacco store joined the prestige of retailers along Fifth Avenue at 55th Street, close to the Plaza Hotel and Park Avenue South, but by the late 1980s the shop had veered from its roots, selling more gifts than tobacco products.
In 1991 - anticipating a resurgence in premium cigars - Nat Sherman opened the former Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street shop. A stylish and ornately-appointed destination for cigar enthusiasts, it represented an entirely new phase of the retail store and helped raise the bar throughout the industry for a new generation of high-end, customer service-oriented shops.
The new store which opened at 14 East 42nd Street with a grand-opening celebration in November 2007 marks the fourth location during its 78-year history. Each site change has reflected various stages in the company’s evolution and vision as a retailer, wholesaler, and even manufacturer.
The iconic Nat Sherman clock which adorned the corner of the previous store and became the company’s corporate logo, is prominently featured on the new building’s facade. Below left, the store on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Below right, the clock as it now looks at the 14 East 42nd Street location.
I took my photo of the clock when it was located on the corner at 42nd and Fifth Avenue. I really liked the contrast of the old cigar store Indian against the reflection of skyscrapers in the highly polished marble. One of my first thoughts when I saw the photo with the Indian posed as if looking out at the buildings of Manhattan was "we only got $26 worth of beads for all this?" One of my favorite drawings--such a wide range of values and detail.