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.