Moscot

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This article is about the eyewear company. For the baseball player, see Jon Moscot.
MOSCOT
Private
Industry Eyewear
Founded 1915; 102 years ago (1915)
Founder Hyman Moscot
Headquarters New York City, United States
Number of locations
6 (2016)
Area served
Worldwide
Key people

Harvey Moscot (President, Fourth Generation)

Zack Moscot (Chief Designer)
Products
Services
Owner Moscot family
Number of employees
46 (2016)
Website www.moscot.com

MOSCOT is a five generation, American luxury eyewear brand, headquartered in New York City, specializing in optical frames and sunglasses. It was founded in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan in 1915 by Hyman Moscot, which makes it one of the oldest local businesses in New York City,[1] as well as the 13th oldest eyewear company in the world still operating today.

History[edit]

Early years, 20th century[edit]

In 1899, when he was in his 20s, Belarusian immigrant Hyman Mushcot arrived in New York City through Ellis Island, where his surname was shortened and changed to Moscot.[2] He settled down in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood, and having already worked in the optical business in his home country, he began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a wooden pushcart on Orchard Street.[1][3] He spoke only Yiddish, and served the many immigrants that poured into the Lower East Side at the turn of the century.[3]

Hyman Moscot in front of the first MOSCOT shop on 94 Rivington St.

In 1910, Hyman married fellow immigrant Leba.[2] Five years later, with a family rapidly growing, he opened his first retail store at 94 Rivington Street, filling its Windows with signs, posters, and drawings of giant eyes and glasses. (Because of this, some journalists have speculated that the shop, which sat close to the Williamsburg bridge, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg billboard in The Great Gatsby, which the novelist was writing during the same years.)[2][4]

Sol Moscot sitting in a vintage Ford on Rivington Street in 1934.

Hyman and Leba had six children.[2] In 1925, at 15 years old, Hyman’s youngest son, Solomon, nicknamed “Sol,” took over the business, and in 1935, moved the shop to its iconic location at 118 Orchard Street, where it would be located for nearly eight decades.[3] The bright yellow sign with giant, black-rimmed glasses that adorned its storefront became synonymous with the brand, the neighborhood, and downtown New York, and while most of New York’s historical businesses fell during the Great Depression, the Moscots made it through the 1930s.[2]

Sol’s son, Joel, began presiding over the House of Moscot in 1951.[2] Charming, dedicated, and devoted to his customers, Joel would manage MOSCOT for over fifty years‚ overseeing the Shop’s activities, while conveying the family’s values to his sons, who would soon become the fourth generation of Moscots to take the helm. The oldest, Harvey, graduated from Boston New England College of Optometry in 1986, and began working as a doctor at 118 Orchard.[2] The youngest, Kenny, entered the business in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in finance.[4] In 1996, with father Joel still at the company, Moscot expanded, opening a second shop at 69 W. 14th Street, on the corner of Sixth Avenue, in downtown Manhattan, which remains the company’s flagship location.[2]

21st century[edit]

The MOSCOT shop in Brooklyn

After Joel Moscot retired in 2003,[2] the family company rebranded from Sol Moscot to MOSCOT, while at the same time eyewear was transforming from being simply a medical device into a fashion accessory. Together, the fourth generation Moscot siblings reinvented what was once a neighborhood optical shop into what is now a global lifestyle brand,[2] bringing back authentic, classic frame styles, building wholesale and e-commerce eyewear channels, and establishing partnerships with prominent fashion designers. Within a few years, the company had become renowned worldwide for its branded iconic and timeless eyewear.

After the death of his brother in 2010, Harvey Moscot became president of the company. Due to gentrification in the Lower East Side, MOSCOT moved from 118 Orchard Street across Delancey Street to 108 Orchard Street where it remains today. The shop was eventually included in the Tenement Museum’s historical tour of the Lower East Side.[5] In 2013, Moscot opened its third flagship store, this time in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, the façade of whichis reminiscent of the family’s first shop at 94 Rivington Street.[2] MOSCOT later opened shops in Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo, Japan, and London, England.

Harvey's son, Zack Moscot studied Industrial & Product Design at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and began working full time at MOSCOT in 2013. He is now the company’s chief eyewear designer, representing the fifth generation Moscot to join the brand.[6]

In 2015, the brand celebrated its centennial anniversary. To mark the occasion, MOSCOT partnered with Smart automobile to create a limited edition Smart Car, and was named by GQ magazine as one of the best specialty shops in America.[7]

Eyewear[edit]

MOSCOT is known for its bold, classic designs, and downtown aesthetic. The frames, eyeglasses and sunglasses together, are categorized under the MOSCOT Originals and MOSCOT Spirit Collections. Materials vary from acetate to metal and beta-titanium.

MOSCOT's signature mannequin head

In the spring of 2008, the brand teamed up with fashion designer Chris Benz for a limited edition run of four special colors for its classic frame, the "Nebb"; only 200 were available, each numbered for authenticity. The company has since engaged in eyewear collaborations with Simon Miller, Myles Kennedy, Tariq Trotter and Johan Lindeberg for BLK DNM.

Social work[edit]

Moscot’s renown in New York City is widely based on its customer service style and its commitment to social causes. The tradition began with Sol Moscot, who was very personal with customers.[2] During the 1930s, he would write personalized thank you letters to customers, and during World War II, he gave away free eyewear.[2] Today, Moscot still recognizes its customers, stating that, “it remains, at heart, a neighborhood optical shop.”[8]

In 2008, Harvey Moscot founded The Moscot Mobileyes Foundation,[3] a charitable organization that provides free eye examinations and frames to underprivileged children, and victims of abuse, and other needy populations in New York City The brand´s next outing is to a new charity that houses sexually trafficked women.

Moscot Music was introduced in 2010 to fund and raise awareness for Mobileyes. It gives a music space to emerging and established musical artists. Free live performances at the MOSCOT Shop on Orchard Street are offered to the public. Performers have included such artists as Theophilus London, Dum Dum Girls, Brett Dennen, Hellogoodbye, Nick Waterhouse, Myles Kennedy, Matt Heafy, Nicole Atkins, Lucius, Liam Finn, French Horn Rebellion, X Ambassadors, K.Flay, The Pizza Underground, Twin Forks, and Mike Doughty.

Artists and celebrities[edit]

Andy Warhol wearing the Miltzen frames

MOSCOT is popularly known for its collaborations and association with many American artists and celebrities.

Actor Justin Theroux, a longtime customer of the brand, has a frame named after him based on those his character wore in the 2001 movie Mulholland Drive.[9]

Truman Capote

In 2011, the company released a limit edition (only 350 pairs were available) of the Terry Richardson original frame, called “Terry”.[10]

In 2014, a limited edition “Grunya” frame designed with the collaboration of The Roots frontman Tariq Trotter was released.[11]

Probably the most famous association is the one with Johnny Depp,[12][13][14] who made the “Lemtosh” frames famous back in 2004, when the psychological thriller movie Secret Window came out.

Current customers include celebrities such as Elvis Costello, Jeff Goldblum, Liev Schrieber, Paul Rudd, Morgan Neville, Forest Whitaker, Tim Burton, Sting, Lance Armstrong, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Kanye West, Kiefer Sutherland, Renée Zellweger, Denzel Washington, Mary-Kate Olsen, 50 Cent, Jessica Alba, Aziz Ansari, Helena Bonham Carter, Demi Moore, Michelle Williams, James Franco, Rubi Rose, Selena Gomez, Kate Hudson, Anderson Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Rock, Bob Gunton, Josh Hartnett and Susan Sarandon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "5 of NYC's Oldest Businesses Still Standing | Bond Street". Stories on Bond Street. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The 100-Year Vision of Moscot Eyewear". The Forward. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d Jones, Justin. "Moscot, A New York Legend, Turns 100". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  4. ^ a b "Legendary Optical Shop Looks to the Future". The Forward. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  5. ^ "When Life Gives You Lemons, Sell them On the Lower East Side | Notes From The Tenement". www.tenement.org. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  6. ^ http://www.smart-magazine.com/en/interview-zack-moscot
  7. ^ GQ, The Editors of. "The GQ 100: The 13 Best Specialty Shops in the Country". GQ. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  8. ^ "Our Story | MOSCOT". moscot.com. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  9. ^ "Moscot's Limited-Edition Mulholland Drive Frames". NBC New York. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  10. ^ Phili, Stelios. "This Just In: Moscot + Terry Richardson Glasses". GQ. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  11. ^ "Moscot & Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter Join Forces in Eyewear Collaboration". New York Trend Online. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  12. ^ Ltd., Hearst Fujingaho Co.,. "MOSCOT TOKYO". ELLE ONLINE. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  13. ^ "Gli occhiali Moscot di New York: le celeb li amano - Vogue.it". www.vogue.it. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  14. ^ Colman, David (2007-01-25). "Glasses Make the Nerd". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 

External links[edit]