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Moscot Opens New Store With an Eye to History

LOWER EAST SIDE — As the nearly century-old eyewear company Moscot opens its new Lower East Side store Wednesday morning, staff at the historic shop want to be sure customers don't forget the decades it spent at its former location just across the street.

After being forced out of its store of 77 years at the northeast corner of Delancey and Orchard streets, Moscot moved to the intersection's southeast corner by signing a 20-year lease in January for the ground-floor space.

Inside the new 2,200-square-foot space, the company has installed furniture and décor from its previous shop — including an original counter top from the 1920s, eyewear drawers from the 1940s, and even an image depicting the historic staircase leading up to the previous store.

"We are really trying to capture the essence of the old store and save everything we could," said Harvey Moscot, the current co-president of the now-international brand started by his great-grandfather from a Lower East Side pushcart.

The new 108 Orchard St. store is scheduled to open for business at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with the store's staff having worked through the night to get the space ready, Moscot said.

"There would have been a lot of sadness if we didn't find a space and have a presence on the Lower East Side, but it has all come together," said Moscot, who has been involved in every detail of the new operation.

"My son — Zach Moscot, an industrial designer — has just joined the business this week, so we are now a fifth-generation business."

The new address even has a working replica of a small, manually operated elevator from the old location that will be used to hoist eyewear stock between floors.

"I remember doing it for my grandpa, and I used to say, 'Grandpa, glasses are on the elevator,'" Moscot recalled.

The image of the old location's historic staircase plastered to the wall of the new space also triggers childhood memories for Moscot.

"People were always taking pictures of it and the neon [Moscot] sign," he said. "But for me I used to slide down it when I was 6 years old."

The store will host its official public opening party on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. offering a discount of 15 percent.