Does anyone remember this discount store in NYC?
March 30, 2014 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I was recently struck with a childhood memory of visiting a store, several times, in NYC called "The Pushcart". I'd like to see if I can find more about it, but that's proving... hard. Help?

The earliest I would remember visiting is probably mid-70s, and the last time I could possibly have visited it would have been in the early 80s - no later than '83, I think - but I have no idea how long it had been open before or would have been open after those years. What I do remember was that it was two floors, with cheap home goods on the ground level and electronics and toys in the basement, and I distinctly remember the recorded warning that played in loudspeakers on the very crowded staircase to the basement that repeated, over and over, "Watch your step, stepping the stairs. Please hold on to the railing."

I've checked with my mom, Repository of All Family Knowledge, and she remembers the store and that it "might have been around 14th Street, or maybe the Lower East Side". As you can guess, Googling "pushcart lower east side" generates a lot of hits, all of them about actual pushcarts.

So, anyone in NYC have any memories of this? Maybe an actual location, or something more Googleable? Thanks!
posted by hanov3r to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't get a good response here, two sites that may have good leads are Ephemeral New York ("Defunct Department Stores" tag) and James and Karla Murray Photography.
posted by bcwinters at 7:39 PM on March 30, 2014

Best answer: Owned by the Job Lot guy?

Job Lot pioneered what has become a multibillion-dollar industry. The founder, Sam Osman, who retired a dozen years ago, started as a pushcart peddler on Orchard Street. "The Harvard School of Business of the Lower East Side," he once called it. On a good day, he recalled in an interview last week, he made $5. After adding more carts, he started a small shop, then opened the Job Lot Trading Company and the Pushcart (where goods were displayed in pushcarts) at 41 and 43 Vesey Street.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:40 PM on March 30, 2014

Best answer: More on the stores.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:45 PM on March 30, 2014

Response by poster: I suspect Iris Gambol has nailed it, and now I have new data points to research. Thank you!
posted by hanov3r at 7:52 PM on March 30, 2014

There were some stores that tried to imitate Job Lot. The main one I recall was Odd Job, but apparently there was another one called Odd Lot, according to Osman's obit. (And if those two chains had merged....)

But yes, Iris definitely nailed it. From the obit:
Mr. Osman opened a small basement store on Allen Street on the Lower East Side in the 1930's, and in about 1950, he opened the Job Lot Trading Company at 41 Vesey Street, near City Hall, and later another store, The Pushcart, next door.

In 1967, construction of the World Trade Center forced him to move the stores to the corner of Warren and Church Streets, where he connected four buildings and splashed the facade with eye-catching painted squares. The names of the two stores were combined, Job Lot Trading Company/The Pushcart.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:50 PM on March 30, 2014

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