The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

broad roofs

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

On of the many corporate giants which distinguished Long Island City (at the start of the last century) was known as Waldes Koh-I-Noor. Located at the corner of Anable Avenue and Creek Street (which is the modern day 27th street and Austell Pl.), the firm was a manufacturer of dress fasteners (snaps, zippers and the like) and was known to produce all sorts of metallic devices- including war munitions, apparently.

from google books

Henry Waldes New York has leased the factory of the Klndel Bed Co Anable Avenue and Creek Street Long Island City NY comprising a four story reinforced concrete structure for the establishment of a new plant for the manufacture of small metal specialties The lease is for a term of years and aggregates $350,000

– photo courtesy google books, from: Queens Borough, New York City, 1910-1920: The Borough of Homes and Industry

A large employer, the building they were housed in is actually a complex of structures which had a rail spar leading to it. Not to be confused with the mechanical pencil manufacturers, or the legendary diamond which the company named itself after, this was an international company which had to end its operations in Europe because of the Nazi witch hunt for members of the Jewish faith.

from google books

STATEMENT OF WALDES & CO INC LONG ISLAND CITY NY The undersigned is the largest manufacturer of snap fasteners in the world and since 1918 have been established in the United States our plant being located at Long Island City NY. The original factory is located at Prague Czechoslovakia which employs about 4,000 men while our American plant now employs from 150 to 200 men Both these factories are equipped with up to date machinery and each one produces the same finely finished metal snap fasteners These fasteners are made either bright finish or enameled Our system of manufacturing and the articles themselves are our own inventions protected by patents by nearly every country.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The structure survives, and like many of the gargantuan factories which distinguish the Long Island City landscape, it has been subdivided amongst several smaller tenants in modernity. Part of the building is used an NYPD impounded property facility, another section is used by a doggy day care company.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From what I’ve been able to discern, the company remained in Waldes family tender for most of the 20th century, and seems to have been dissolved sometime in the latter third. There are literally hundreds of extant patents which were established by both the family and its enormous staff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

References in historic records describe a late in the game shift to tool and die manufacture, no doubt to exploit this catalogue of patents. The Sears catalog business carried several of their milliners supplies, and I’m told that they innovated the all plastic zippers which came into vogue during the second world war and beyond, largely due to metals shortages.


Harry K. Waldes, chairman of the board of Waldes Kohinoor Inc. in Long Island City, Queens, died Tuesday in North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, L.I., after suffering a stroke. He was 73 years old and a resident of Great Neck, L.I.

Mr. Waldes became executive vice president of the concern, which manufactures fastening devices and tools, in 1950.

He was named board chairman in 1961.

– photo courtesy google books, from: Queens Borough, New York City, 1910-1920: The Borough of Homes and Industry

Local realtors found it a devilish proposition, selling the large structure well after the golden age of American manufacturing had passed, and it was Pinnacle Realty who came up with the notion of subdividing the structure and leasing it piecemeal. Pinnacle is still a familiar name in LIC realty circles today.


As the exclusive agent for the 100 year old Waldes Kohinoor Company located in Long Island City; Gary came up with the concept that the parts are worth more than the whole. Early in the marketing campaign Gary focused on selling the 3 buildings totaling 200,000 sq. ft. plus 50,000 sq.ft. of land to a single developer. He was disappointed with the offers being submitted by developers. However, if the property was sold off as 4 separate parcels millions of dollars in additional proceeds for ownership could be generated. The strategy worked extremely well and the Waldes Kohinoor ownership was very satisfied with the results.

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