We're in the Book! "THE HISTORIC SHOPS & RESTAURANTS OF NEW YORK,
A GUIDE TO CENTURY OLD ESTABLISHMENTS
IN THE CITY "
by Ellen Williams & Steve Radlauer. Read more...
Here is a great 1957 Knickerbocker Beer ad from a new york giants program. Knickerbocker Beer was the sponsor for the giants.
Founded in 1906
A family owned and operated business for
nearly a century, City Knickerbocker was founded in
1906 by Russian immigrant Adolph Liroff, who began
his career by converting gasoliers and sconces to electric
lamps for his neighbors in Brooklyn. As business grew,
Adolph rented a space on 42nd Street between 8th and
9th Avenues in Manhattan, carrying the samovars to
and from Brooklyn in burlap bags.
Opera Started it All
loved the opera, and was delighted when he was asked
to rent some of his fixtures to the Metropolitan Opera
Company. Skilled at fabricating custom lighting that
created just the right ambience for the Opera Company's
sets, he was soon renting period fixtures to the Shuberts
and other Broadway production companies, in addition
to cultivating a growing business with the Metropolitan.
By 1912-13, the business was largely rentals, with sales
and repairs constituting a very small percentage of
Seymour Moves the Business
the 1950s, Adolphs son Seymour took over the business
and moved it to larger quarters on Eighth Avenue between
47th and 48th Streets in the heart of Manhattans
Television finds City Knickerbocker
new medium of television was exploding, and soon
City Knickerbocker began supplying rentals to The
Milton Berle Show, Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore, Perry
Como, Sid Caesar, and Jackie Gleason, among
others. At the same time, theatrical lighting
remained an important part of the business, and
City Knickerbocker helped create the ambience
- and props - for productions such as West Side Story,
My Fair Lady and Hello Dolly.
Seymour giving his personal attention!
Ken Takes Over
the 1970s, Seymour's son Kenneth expanded the business
to include contract and custom lighting sales, supplying
custom lighting fixtures to large hotels such as the
Britannia Beach Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas as well
as fixtures for The Steak and Brew chain.
City Knickerbocker and the New York City
growth of the film industry in New York also offered
new opportunities, and "City Knick," as it
is affectionately called by its loyal customers, created
props for two Oscar-winners: The Godfather and The Hustler.
beautiful fixtures created for the hit film Network
caused a tremendous surge in sales and rentals of green-glass
bankers lamps across the nation. At the same time, the
demands of theatre continued to challenge and inspire
the City Knickerbocker lighting designers. Among the
most memorable projects was one for the Broadway production
of The Diary of Anne Frank. The show required
a chandelier that had to crash and fall apart each night
- and be reassembled in time for the next evening's
See how City Knick lighting swings!...
Scott takes over the family business!
Bythe time that Kenneths son Scott entered
the family business in the 1980s, feature film
production had become big business in New York
4 Generations of Liroff Men
Films, Hotels, Soap Operas and more...
City Knickerbocker created props for Malcolm X, The
Verdict, The Age of Innocence, Sabrina, Rounders, Meet
Joe Black and A Beautiful Mind, as well as
every Woody Allen film. Daytime
operas such as All My Children, As The World Turns,
Guiding Light and One Life To Live, and nighttime
dramas and comedies including The Soprano's, Law
and Order, Sex and The City and Third Watch have regularly turned to City Knickerbocker for their
props and lighting supplies. For 25+ years, City Knickerbocker
has done the lighting for every Saturday Night Live show. City Knickerbocker also supplies lighting for The Olive Garden chain of restaurants.
A Personal Touch
a vast inventory and the ability to supply or replicate
pieces from any period, City Knickerbocker has furnished
crystals, globes, shades, and other items to restaurants,
museums, historic landmarks and private residences all
over the world in addition to film and theatre companies.
Since 1906, word-of-mouth has been our primary source
of advertising. We are proud of our reputation and prouder
still of our relationships with our customers. In an
impersonal era, personal relationships remain one of
the pleasures of this family-owned and operated business.
While we no longer transport lamps in burlap bags, we
still treat every customer like a neighbor - and a friend.
If you are ever in the neighborhood, we hope you will
drop by and say hello!
Knickerbocker is proudly listed in
"THE HISTORIC SHOPS & RESTAURANTS
OF NEW YORK, A GUIDE TO CENTURY OLD ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE CITY "
by Ellen Williams & Steve Radlauer
on page 137!