Henry’s Clothes for Captains and Sailors
In 1818, Henry S. Brooks opened a clothing store on the corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in Manhattan, which is today in the Two Bridges neighborhood at the site of the Alfred E. Smith Houses. Cherry Street, these days flanked by large brick public-owned apartment complexes and public schools, was the early 19th century garment district where some of the first textile wholesalers in Manhattan were located (Lord & Taylor opened two blocks away in 1846). The store was located just a block from the city’s busy waterfront - at that time sailing ship’s masts loomed over the east side of today’s Financial District and Two Bridges neighborhoods. Sailors buying outfits would be treated to a swig from the black bottle kept under the counter. "When a ship’s master (captain) came in and brought a sturdy broadcloth coat, a nankeen vest and pantaloons of cassimere (cashmere), the whole was wrapped up for him in a black silk kerchief for which no charge appeared upon the bill."