Scott with his father
Tucked away on the second floor of a building on 11th Avenue and 48th street is City Knickerbocker, Inc., a small lighting business with a long history. Founded in 1906 founded by Adolph Liroff, a Russian immigrant whose trade was converting gasoliers and sconces to electric lamps, this business has lasted for four generations. Today, Scott Liroff, Adolph’s great-grandson, proudly carries on the family tradition serving as City Knickerbocker’s Vice President.
To appreciate Scott’s role in both his family and the business, one needs to go back over one hundred years to Brooklyn in the early 20th century. When Adolph’s Brooklyn-based business took off, he headed to the city and rented a space on 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. After the Metropolitan Opera rented his light fixtures, Broadway started calling to rent lights too. As early as 1912-1913 City Knickerbocker’s primary source of business was rentals. When Adolph’s son, Seymour, took over the business in the 1950s, the store provided lighting for shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Milton Berle Show.
6sqft recently spoke with Scott to learn about City Knickerbocker and what it means to carry on a legacy in New York.