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Saying Farewell to a Store

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 1, 2021 15:50

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The Sears department store in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York is going through its final weeks. It is more than just a retail establishment in the borough.

Major retailers have not done well in recent years and Sears is a particularly sad tale. For many years there were two branches of Sears in Brooklyn: the original 1932 store in Flatbush, and in 1997 the Sears at the Kings Plaza shopping mall in southern Brooklyn. But the Kings Plaza store closed in 2016 and now the landmarked Flatbush site is closing down within several weeks.

This beautiful Art Deco building will be repurposed, and its history is quite interesting. Eleanor Roosevelt helped to open it in November 1932. Last year the large parking lot was used as a COVID-19 testing site. It has been a major anchor of the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, which has several historic buildings such as Erasmus Hall High School and the Kings Theatre. 

Over the years I have patronized this Sears frequently. I've bought clothes, accessories, housewares and toys here for myself and for my children. I brought my two daughters here for portrait sittings when they were very young for a few years in a row. I always found the staff here to be pleasant and kind. 

When I heard it was closing, I wasn't surprised but still saddened. I went there briefly one morning and bought a few items at a great discount (a wristwatch, a pair of shorts, a necklace and a shoulder bag). I also went to a section of the first floor and took photographs of bare mannequins.

I did this at the Kings Plaza Sears store before its closing. It's eerie but definitely photo-worthy to admire the mannequins, and spare limbs of mannequins, with price tags attached. (There were also ladders and racks, as well as other fixtures for sale.) 

I took several photographs and sighed as I thought about the store. Later at home, I posted some of the photos on two of my social media accounts. I noticed that the reactions were mixed: some people reacted with laughter emojis but others with the sad emojis (and others with the shocked emoji). 

Those of us who have memories of the store were saddened. From inside the store doesn't seem remarkable but the outside, with its grand tower and exterior design elements, is so recognizable to Brooklyn residents, especially those of us who have lived here all our lives. 

I told a few friends that I want to return once more just before the Sears closes and take black and white film photographs. It will also be an excuse to stroll the floors once more. I'll remember bringing my kids here and watch them roam the clothing racks; shopping here with my father, who liked the power tools section.

I bought a 10-speed bicycle here in 1990 and somehow shoved it into my old used car to drive it home. That bike lasted until 2018 when it was just too rusted and worn out. It served me well.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 1, 2021 15:50

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Source: BuzzFeed

The castaways are eating Doritos, drinking 7UP, and shopping at Sears. View Entire Post ›

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