Harry’s Has It All

Photos by Aaron Adler

On a recent cloudy September morning, passersby stopped to gawk at a neighborhood fixture transformed. Now double its original size, Harry’s Shoes, the family-owned store on the Upper West Side, reopened its doors with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its expansion. And of course, more space means more shoes. Brands like Pas de Rouge, Merrell, Clarks, Brunate, Cordani, and Cole Haan line the walls.

At the opening event, staff bustled about, looking like proud parents. Sales associate, Lauren Smecke, said she was “thrilled to see Harry’s grow.” She was most excited about the newer high-end brands like Stuart Weitzman and Bruno Magli. Echoing a sentiment shared by many, Smecke noted that Harry’s has become her second family. In some cases, customers have even become friends.

Parents in the neighborhood know its sister store, Harry’s Shoes for Kids, just down the block, as the place to go for kids’ shoes. Their customer service and wide array of shoes are legendary. (Full disclosure: Each of my three kids got their first pair of shoes, and many more, at Harry’s.)

Owner Robert Goldberg & family

The first family of Harry’s is the Goldbergs. Harry Goldberg opened the store in 1931 and, under the leadership of his son Joseph, the business settled on the Upper West Side in 1975. Now run by Joseph’s children, Robert and Randi, the expansion is bittersweet as Joseph passed away in March and wasn’t there to witness, “his dream come true,” as Robert put it.

As a neighborhood institution, Harry’s is committed to giving back, and beginning September 6, will launch a month-long campaign to collect shoes on behalf of Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that gathers new and gently worn shoes to provide relief to victims of abject suffering, and to support micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty. Harry’s also plans to make a donation to the organization.

As any sole-seeker who steps inside will find, the newly expanded space is open and airy, with banquettes in the middle and shoes, shoes everywhere. While remaining committed to fit and comfort, the store is also hoping to lure new shoppers with stylish shoes like a pair of women’s silver-studded black leather sneakers by Ash. Shoe divas, rejoice! Harry’s has it all.

For more information, visit harrys-shoes.com

Harry Goldberg, Jr. shares his enthusiasm, with Council Member Gale Brewer in the background