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Early Celebrity Endorsements in Times Square Architecture

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[Scouting NY]

Clothing retailer Express is taking over the building at 1552 Broadway in Times Square—replacing the T.G.I. Friday's that has made so many out-of-towners feel at home in Manhattan over the years—and Scouting NY notes the long history of the building. Beneath the T.G.I. Friday's billboards is a sooty limestone and marble exterior distinguished by four statues of early 20th century celebrities standing in a quartet of aediculae, which are wall articulations topped with pediments. The four figures residing in these aediculae are Mary Pickford, Marilyn Miller, Ethel Barrymore, and Rosa Ponselle.

The four female stars of stage and screen were picked to adorn the facade of the I. Miller shoe store when the building was constructed in 1921, and blurs the line between celebrity endorsement of a store or brand and a store paying tribute to famous people of the day—I. Miller's early customers were primarily actors and dancers. Scouting NY hopes that Express will treat the building with some respect. In 2010, Ephemeral NY noted that the structure is landmarked, despite its rundown appearance.
· An Open Letter To Express: Will You Help Save A Times Square Treasure? [ScoutingNY]
· The Show Folks Shoe Shop hiding in Times Square [EphemeralNY]