Perspective of principal facade, Gilbert Building, 205 West 39th Street, New York City, 1923

Perspective of principal facade, Gilbert Building, 205 West 39th Street, New York City, 1923

When my granddaughter visited us recently, she read the chapter on the garment industry from my forthcoming book. She is a student at the The High School of Fashion Industries in New York City studying to become a costume designer. She is amazingly talented at only age 16. I expect an invitation to the Oscars in a few years when she wins!

She loved reading the chapter and learned that her school was only a few blocks away from my grandfather’s clothing factory. I decided to look again at the factory location, and as it happens, fell down a rabbithole.

My grandfather, Kalman Marki, was the designer and owner of a women’s coat and suit business named Mike Schulman, Inc. after his partner. His trademark was “Marki Originals.”

They leased 12,986 square feet on the 15th floor of the building in the photo at 205 W. 39th St. It was built in 1922 by the firm of George and Edward Blum. The Blums built many apartment buildings throughout New York as well as churches and hotels. One of their most famous buildings was The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue.

The factory was in this location from around 1947 until its closing in 1969 when Pierre Cardin took it over.

The building later became the international headquarters of Calvin Klein. This is a curious coincidence since my father Norman, who ran my grandfather’s factory helped Calvin set up his first sample factory. Calvin dumped him for a younger crew when he got funding.

Original Street Map Before 1922

Here is an archival New York City street map showing the location of 205 West 39th Street was formally the site of an Orphan Asylum which I find interesting.

Mike Schulman Inc.
39th st. and seventh ave. building map. new york before website.
St Vincent DePaul Orphan Asylum 1871
Orphan Asylum of St. Vincent De Paul. 1871. new york public library digital collcetions.

The Fashions

Marki Originals

marki trademark label inside one of grandpa’s coats.

While researching my book, I found many of my grandfather’s coats for sale on eBay and Etsy.

They are 60 years old but still in great condition because of superior materials and attractive to younger women because of timeless design.

The advertisement below is for a “trunk show” which took place as the business was winding down.

Instead of stocking a full line of merchandise, the retailer would provide a temporary space for Mike Schulman and his brother Frank to sell remaining inventory special sales.

Marki Originals

2024 Floor Plan

When we looked up the building last week we found that the 15th floor was recently open for lease. Here are two current photos showing the windows as I remember them. I am sure the layout has been changed as the tenants changed since 1969 but the overall floor plan is still similar.

photos and floor plan from HSP sales brochure.

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