Write what should not be forgotten - Isabel Allande

Month: September 2017


Last year I posted a picture of the Pfundstein & Sons store, from the NYC tax rolls taken in 1940.  At the time it was one of my favorite finds…until this week!!  I am very happy to share a guest post from Michael Sheehy, he wrote about his great-grandfather’s dressmaker shop and included a photo.  The Bellafiore Dressmaker’s shop was located at 56-09 Myrtle Ave – the Pfundstein’s Tailor shop was located RIGHT NEXT DOOR at 56-07!!!


F. Bellafiore Parisien Dressmaker, Brooklyn, about 1912.

Francesco “Frank” Bellafiore, my great-grandfather, is on the left by the door. My great-grandmother, Vitina, is to the right of two unidentified seamstresses. In the carriage is their daughter, Anna, my grandmother’s older sister (1912-2010).

Frank came over from Italy with his mother in 1902 at 17 years old on SS Citta di Torino from Naples. Trained as a tailor’s apprentice, he spent his life in the garment industry. The years in which he ran this particular shop are not clear.

Later, he had an industrial shop in the Garment District, where he designed and produced house label fine ladies wear for stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Macy’s, probably under the trade name of F. Bellafiore (not verified as of yet). He also had a “plus-sized” label called Stylish Stout (You can’t make this up. Also not related to a similarly named corset brand in the early 1900’s). Finally, he ran a tailor/ dress shop in Pearl River, NY until his death in 1952.

A true immigrant success story. Though the family originally lived in Brooklyn, he wanted his children to be “in the country” so he purchased an old farm in Montvale, NJ. and kept a brownstone in Bushwick. Eventually, the wood frame farm house on the property was renovated into an Italian villa with stucco walls and a red tile roof.

The building’s current address is in Ridgewood, Queens at 56-09 Myrtle Avenue, after some borders were changed. It is now a deli.

Michael used an overlay to add the Dressmaker’s shop to the 1940 tax picture of the Tailor shop!

The shops in 2014, the Bellafiores shop is now the deli on the right.

A Boy and his Dog.

Today’s Picture day features my dad, Jim McGee  and was taken in approx 1941-42.  There are no other details on the picure, I don’t know where it was taken or more importantly – what the dog’s name was!  It is such a sweet picture though, they both look like they are enjoying the ride.  As an adult my dad still loved both boats and dogs.  I can remember many, many camping trips that included an afternoon on a boat a lot like this one fishing with him.  They are some of my favorite memories of time spent with him.

One of the most interesting things about the McGee pictures is that they often include dogs/cats.  Somehow it is one of those small details that brings people to life for me.

This Week in Family History

One of these days, when I have a little spare time… I am going to work on a calendar to mark family events  past and present.  This is a pretty busy week , we remember 9/11 and celebrate birthdays and anniversarys.  For today’s Picture Day I am including pictures of family celebrating events this week, let me know if I am missing anything!!!

September 9 – Anniversary for my brother and sister in law Mike and Laurie

September 9 – Birthday for my neice’s husband, Allen



September 13 – Cousin birthday buddies! Birthday of Beth Kelly and me!!



September 14 – Birthday of my Grandfather Ed Marshall, born in 1892!


September 11 – Anniversary of my Mom and Dad’s wedding in 1954












**Update**   I can not believe that I left 2 very important events out.  When I was doing this last week I had that awful nagging feeling that I was forgetting something and thanks to my cousin Beth now I know what it was!!! September 13 is a very busy day in family history in addition to 2 birthdays it is also the wedding anniversary of both Ed and Dottie Marshall and Jim and Terry Kelly!

National Read a Book Day

Yesterday was National Read a Book Day – I am a day late but this is a great picture of my Grandfather, J. Norman McGee (1894-1952).  Looks like a pretty intense reading/study session going on here.  Norm is the one in the front seen from the side. He attended Rutgers University before going to France during WWI.  From this side view, it looks so much like my brother Mike! My favorite detail is the spitoon in the lower left corner!

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