At an earlier date the first name on this sign might have read Carstein rather then Carstens. Somewhere in the mid-1920s Samuel Ferdinand Carstein (1878-?) changed his name to S. Ferdinand Carstens, and the real estate firm that had previously been Carstein & Linnekin became Carstens & Linnekin. This display ad from The New York Times, 26 Aug. 1913, uses the earlier form. A (presumably) early sign at 65 4th Ave. near E. 10th St., also reads (fairly clearly) "Lofts & Space / Carstein & Linnekin." (Click for image.) This display ad from The New York Times, 25 Mar. 1928, uses the later form. A photograph of the Empire State Building under construction in 1930 shows a very clear (earlier and smaller) version of the Carstens & Linnekin sign at 347 5th Ave. This is found on the New York Public Library's Digital Collections.
Carstein's partner was William Sturges Linnekin (1876-1938). Both men were longtime residents of Sea Cliff Village in Oyster Bay township, Nassau county. In 1900 Carstein captained the sloop "Old Squaw" in the Sea Cliff Yacht Club annual regatta.
The firm was founded in 1896. They maintained offices in this building on 5th Ave. for 65 years (1914 to 1979). The sign in its present condition has to be later than the 1930 version found on the NYPL image. Also, the address at the bottom seems to refer to Carstens & Linnekin's other office location: 221 Fourth Ave. near 18th St. If so, the sign would pre-date 1959, when this stretch of 4th Ave. was re-named Park Ave. South.
From around 1933 to 1942 Carstens & Linnekin was called Carstens, Linnekin & Wilson. During this period there was a third partner, Boyd E. Wilson. Wilson was a member of the firm from 1923 and left in 1942 to form his own company, Boyd E. Wilson & Co., at 100 5th Ave. (New York Times, 12 Nov. 1942, p. 40).
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