Bloomingdale’s Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Bloomingdale’s celebrates 150 years of fashion, firsts, and fun by looking back at some of the major milestones the company has achieved since debuting in 1872. The celebratory events in Manhattan include designer pop-ups at 59th Street, fashion exclusives, and discounts. The well-known 50th Street windows on Lexington Avenue will also come to life in innovative new ways with augmented reality and live performances. 

How It Started

In 1872, brothers Lyman and Joseph Bloomingdale opened their “Great Eastside Bazaar” at 938 Third Avenue, farther uptown than any other department store. As it so happened, the Upper East Side grew in popularity and became “the place to be” for New York City’s socialites and wealthy influencers. 

Bloomingdale’s moved to its current location at the crossroads of 59th Street and Third Avenue in 1886. Over the course of several decades, the store continued to grow until it occupied an entire square block. This area became referred to as Bloomingdale’s flagship location.

Already the first North American store to install an elevator (called a sky carriage at the time), Bloomingdale’s financed a young inventor’s idea of an “inclined elevator,” and thus, the escalator made its debut.

Retail As Theater

Beginning in the 1930s, Bloomingdale’s began to experiment with avant garde window displays that previously had only been associated with theater productions. The attention-grabbing windows changed frequently and drew notable crowds. From the latest Parisian fashions to live knitting demonstrations and Christmas displays, the windows added to Bloomingdale’s allure as “not just a store, but a destination.” (

Museum-Worthy Bags

In 1961, Bloomingdale’s became the first store to commission artists to illustrate and design shopping bags. Tapping into the free-spirited sense of the 1960s, the bags became a huge hit. The iconic “big brown bags” appeared in 1972, but modern designers like Marc Jacobs and Franco Moschino have put their stamp on them as well.

Shop the 150th 

Visit to view the latest fashions, jewelry, shoes, beauty, home, and more. Browse “The Fall Update” for fall fashion trends handpicked by Bloomingdale’s trusted stylists. You can also start your holiday shopping early with online discounts and free shipping when you become a Loyalist member. Happy shopping!