Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Marcy Syms: The Syms Foundation | BuildingNY

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♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

>> IT IS CALLED AN

EDUCATED CONSUMER --

>> IS OUR BEST CUSTOMER.

>> THAT IS THE TITLE.

I KNOW MY FRIENDS FROM THE SYMS

FAMILY, WITH GREAT TRADITION,

GREAT HISTORY.

TODAY, I HAVE THE FORMER

PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SYMS CORP.,

A COMMUNITY LEADER, COMMUNITY

ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR, MY FRIEND

MARCY SYMS, TO TELL THE STORY.

TELL ME ABOUT DAD, SY.

A SMALL FAMILY OF I THINK 14?

[LAUGHTER]

>> HE WAS THE YOUNGEST OF 10.

TWO OF THE CHILDREN PASSED IN

INFANCY.

BUT HE WAS THE YOUNGEST OF 10

CHILDREN.

MAURICE AND SOPHIE WERE

FROM RUSSIA.

>> WHEN DOES MAURICE AND SOPHIE

COME OVER?

>> ABOUT 1903.

I THINK THEY WERE VERY WELL

SUITED FOR EACH OTHER, BECAUSE

THEY KEPT HAVING CHILDREN.

MY FATHER, WHO WAS THE

YOUNGEST CHILD, HAD SIX OLDER

SISTERS, AND ONE OLDER BROTHER,

14 YEARS OLD, WHICH WAS GEORGE,

AND I THINK MY DAD SAID THAT HE

WAS REALLY CLOSER TO GEORGE, HIS

OLDER BROTHER, THEN WITH HIS

FATHER, WHO HE ADMIRED AND WAS

IN AWE OF.

BUT BEING A FIRST-GENERATION

AMERICAN LIVING IN BROOKLYN

WHERE HE DID, HE SAID HE WAS

OFTEN EMBARRASSED BY HIS

PARENTS, BECAUSE THEY STILL

SPOKE YIDDISH, AND WHEN THEY DID

SPEAK ENGLISH, IT WAS IN A VERY

THICK ACCENT.

>> WHAT DID YOUR DAD'S

FATHER DO FOR A LIVING WITH THIS

LARGE FAMILY?

>> I THINK HE REALLY WAS A

PRETTY GOOD HUSTLER, BECAUSE THE

STORY GOES THAT HE STARTED

SELLING COLLARS AND CUFFS FROM

HIS APARTMENT IN BROOKLYN, AND

WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL SELLING NOT

ONLY JUST TO PEOPLE WHO CAME TO

THE APARTMENT, BUT AS A

TRAVELING SALESMAN.

IN THOSE DAYS, I GUESS IT WAS

PRETTY HARD TO WASH YOUR SHIRT,

SO YOU WOULD JUST WASH THE

COLLARS AND CUFFS.

THAT REALLY LASTED THROUGH UP

UNTIL WORLD WAR II.

>> AND YOUR DAD IS BORN

WHEN?

>> 1926.

>> AND AS YOU SAY, HE IS

THE YOUNGEST OF 10.

HE GROWS UP IN BROOKLYN.

AND HE ATTENDS MIDWOOD HIGH

SCHOOL.

>> MIDWOOD HIGH, YES.

>> IT IS INTERESTING,

BECAUSE YOUR DAD, IN 1944, WAS

SELECTED TO ENTER THE MILITARY

SERVICE.

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

>> WE HAVE A PICTURE OF

YOUR DAD IN THE ARMY.

WHERE DID HE SPEND HIS TIME?

>> ACTUALLY, HE SPENT HIS

TIME IN VIRGINIA.

HE WANTED TO BE AN ENGINEER

THERE.

HE VERY MUCH ENJOYED WORKING

WITH EQUIPMENT.

PARTICULARLY, HE USED TO STUDY

BROADCASTING.

HE USED TO STUDY WITH A

A REEL-TO-REEL AND PRACTICE HIS

VOICE.

HE THOUGHT HE WOULD GO INTO

ENGINEERING.

ON OF THE THINGS THAT TURNED OUT

TO BE GOOD FORTUNE IN THE LONG

RUN, THAT HAPPENED TO HIM IN THE

ENGINEERING TRAINING HE HAD IN

VIRGINIA -- HE FELL OFF A BRIDGE

AND HE GOT A CONCUSSION, AND SO

HE DID NOT GO OVERSEAS IN 1944.

HE STAYED HERE.

>> LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT

ABOUT MOM.

TELL ME ABOUT HER FAMILY AND HER

LIFE.

>> MOM HAD A YOUNGER SISTER,

AND HER PARENTS, LOUIS GLICKMAN

AND CLARA -- THEY CAME FROM

ROMANIA.

THEY ORIGINALLY CAME OVER AS

CHILDREN AROUND THE SAME TIME,

THE TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY.

AND THEY HAD RELATIVES WHO LIVED

IN PHILADELPHIA.

THERE AT THAT TIME WAS A

ROMANIAN COMMUNITY, JEWISH

COMMUNITY, IN DOWNTOWN

PHILADELPHIA.

THAT IS WHERE LOUIS AND CLARA

MET, AND WHERE THEY GOT MARRIED,

AND THEN MOVED TO THE BRONX.

>> TELL ME ABOUT MOM.

WE HAVE A PICTURE FROM "VARIETY"

MAGAZINE, 1946.

>> MOM SHOWED EARLY PROMISE

IN MUSIC.

LOUIS, WHO I KNEW WHEN I WAS A

CHILD, WAS SOMEONE WHO LOVED

MUSIC.

HE PLAYED THE UKULELE

AND HE COULD SING ALONG.

HE HAD LOTS OF TALENTS, NONE OF

WHICH USED IN HIS LIFE OTHER

THAN ENTERTAINING HIS FAMILY,

WHICH HE DID.

>> SO HE WAS NOT IN THE

COLLARS AND STAYS BUSINESS.

>> NO, MY MOTHER'S SIDE OF

THE FAMILY REALLY DID NOT HAVE A

TRADE UNTIL THE NEW DEAL, WHEN

LOUIS WAS ABLE TO SIGN UP FOR

TRAINING AS A SHEET METAL

WORKER.

AND HIS GREAT PRIDE --

>> THE UNIONS.

>> BEING PART OF A UNION WAS

HIS GREAT PRIDE AS A WORKER ALL

OF HIS LIFE.

AND HE WORKED ON THE --

>> WORKED ON THE CHRYSLER

BUILDING.

>> THE CHRYSLER BUILDING WAS

HIS PRIDE AND JOY.

>> NOW WE HAVE YOUR

FATHER, WHO HAPPENS TO BE

INTERESTED IN BROADCASTING, AND

WE HAVE YOUR MOTHER, WHO IS A

SINGER.

>> HER MOTHER, CLARA, TOOK

HER TO AUDITIONS --

>> AT WINS.

>> AND A FEW OTHER STATIONS.

SHE ALSO SANG FOR OTHER WMCA,

-- BUT I HAVE THE

PICTURES FOR WINS, WHERE SHE

HAD A 15 MINUTE PROGRAM.

THAT IS WHERE SHE MET SY, WHO

WAS THEN SEYMOUR, WHO WAS DOING

LATE NIGHT NEWS READING.

>> WHEN DO YOUR PARENTS

GET MARRIED?

>> 1948.

>> AT THAT TIME, SY IS

STILL TRYING BROADCASTING WORLD.

>> HE GOT THIS GREAT JOB AND

WAS SO THRILLED.

HE USED TO TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE

TIME.

HE WAS DOING WHAT HE WANTED --

NOT READING THE NEWS, BUT

PLAY-BY-PLAY SPORTS.

BECAUSE IT WAS A SMALL VIRGINIA

STATION, HE WAS ABLE TO DO ALL

OF THE SPORTS, NOT JUST

BASEBALL, WHICH WAS HIS LOVE,

BECAUSE HE WAS A CATCHER FOR

YEARS.

HE PLAYED AND WAS COACH OF THE

LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM MY THREE

BROTHERS WERE PART OF.

HE DID BASEBALL, BASKETBALL, AND

FOOTBALL.

>> WHAT HAPPENS LATER ON?

HIS OLDER BROTHER, GEORGE, WHO

WE SAW AS A CHILD, GOES INTO

BUSINESS WITH --

>> WITH MORRIS, HIS FATHER AND

SY'S FATHER,

AND TAKES THIS COLLARS

AND CUFFS BUSINESS, THAT WAS

KIND OF A TRAVELING SALESMAN

OPERATION, AND TURNS IT INTO A

RETAIL OUTLET SITUATION.

>> IN LOWER MANHATTAN.

>> RIGHT ACROSS FROM WHERE

TODAY IS THE FREEDOM TOWER

MUSEUM, THE 9/11 MUSEUM.

AND SY, WHEN MY MOTHER BECAME

PREGNANT WITH ME, SAID, "THAT

WAS THE END OF MY CAREER, MARCY.

IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOU THAT I

WENT INTO THE CLOTHING BUSINESS

WITH MY OTHER BROTHER, GEORGE."

HE WAS A SALESMAN.

HE DID NOT HAVE ANY PART

OWNERSHIP OF THAT.

>> AND THAT WAS CALLED

MYRNES, BECAUSE THE FAMILY NAME

WAS MARIINSKY.

>> LIKE THE THEATER.

>> YOUR FATHER WORKS WITH

HIS FATHER AND HIS BROTHER AND

HIS SISTERS IN MYRNES,

MORE OF THE MEN'S BUSINESS?

>> IT WAS A HABERDASHERY.

THE MAJORITY OF THE SQUARE

FOOTAGE WAS SHIRTS AND PAJAMAS,

AND THINGS --

HABERDASHERY IS WHAT TOUCHES

THE SKIN AND CLOTHING IS WHAT

TOUCHES OTHER FABRIC.

SO, IT WAS MOSTLY MEN'S

HABERDASHERY.

UNDERWEAR, SHIRTS, TIES --

-- SWEATERS --

>> DURING THIS PERIOD OF TIME,

YOU ARE BORN.

THERE ARE FIVE OTHER SIBLINGS.

YOUR FATHER DECIDES TO GO OUT ON

HIS OWN.

>> THE STORY HE SHARED -- I

REMEMBER GOING TO VESEY STREET

WITH HIM ON THOSE OCCASIONS WHEN

HE WOULD BE AMENABLE TO TAKING

ME DOWN THERE.

IT WAS REALLY KIND OF FUN.

I LOVED THAT AREA, THE WHOLE

HUSTLE, BUSTLE.

IT WAS BEFORE THE TRADE CENTER.

THERE WAS AN AUCTION AREA.

THERE WAS AN AREA THAT SOLD

SMALL EQUIPMENT.

>> THEY HAD PEDDLERS ON

THE STREET.

>> IT WAS REALLY COLORFUL.

IT WAS VERY EXCITING AS A KID TO

BE AROUND THAT KIND OF ENERGY.

MY FATHER SAID HE HAD TALKED TO

GEORGE EARLY ON AND GEORGE

DID NOT WORK VERY HARD,

ACCORDING TO MY FATHER.

MY FATHER HAD THE RELATIONSHIPS

WITH THE VENDORS, RELATIONSHIPS

WITH THE SALESPEOPLE.

THERE WERE A COUPLE OF MEN WHO

WERE HIRED -- A COUPLE OF MEN

AND MY AUNTS.

>> WE HAVE A PICTURE OF THE,

AS WE WOULD SAY, SYNDICATE OF

MENSWEAR MANUFACTURERS AND

WHOLESALERS IN THE PICTURE.

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

IT WAS A VERY SMALL, FINELY

CONTROLLED COMMUNITY OF MEN WHO

WERE INVOLVED IN THE MANUFACTURE

OF CLOTHING.

THE MYRNES STORE CONTINUED TO

INCREASE THE SELECTION OF

MERCHANDISE THEY HAD.

THEY STARTED DOING THINGS LIKE

SPORT COATS AND PANTS.

MY FATHER SAID, I WANT TO BUY

INTO THE BUSINESS BECAUSE I AM

SPENDING SO MUCH TIME HERE,

AND HE HAD SIX CHILDREN AND

WE WERE NOT VERY COMFORTABLE.

THERE WAS A LOT OF SCRIMPING AND

A LOT OF GOING TO DIFFERENT

PLACES FOR SALES ON COUPON FOOD

IN VARIOUS SUPERMARKETS.

I WOULD GO WITH MY MOTHER AND WE

WOULD GO ONE PLACE FOR THE PEAS

AND ANOTHER PLACE FOR THE

CHOPPED MEAT, BECAUSE ONE WAS ON

SALE IN ONE PLACE AND ONE WAS IN

THE OTHER PLACE.

MY FATHER SAID TO MY BROTHER, I

CAN BUY IN, OR I'M GOING TO

LEAVE.

AND MY BROTHER SAID, ARE YOU

CRAZY?

I AM GOING TO SELL IT TO YOU?

NO! AND HE LEFT.

>> HE HAD A FRIEND BY THE

NAME OF IRVING POMERANTZ.

>> WHO HE MET IN THE

INDUSTRY WHO WAS MUCH OLDER THAN

SY, PROBABLY 25 YEARS OLDER.

MAYBE MORE.

BUT HE WAS A LOVELY MAN, A VERY

COMICAL CHARACTER, VERY LOYAL

AND SINCERE.

AND HE LIKED SY, AND HE THOUGHT

SY WAS GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

HE HELPED SY SIGN HIS FIRST

LEASE.

MY GRANDPARENTS, WHO WERE NOT

WELL OFF AT ALL -- THE ONE THING

THEY HAD TO THEIR NAME WAS AT&T

STOCK THAT THEY HAD BOUGHT EARLY

ON IN THEIR MARRIAGE.

THAT IS MY MOTHER'S PARENTS.

THEY SOLD THEIR AT&T STOCK, GAVE

SY THAT MONEY.

IRVING KICKED IN MONEY.

AND THEY SIGNED A LEASE.

>> THAT FIRST STORE --

>> CORTLANDT STREET, RIGHT

NEAR THE HUDSON TUBES.

>> I WANT TO TRANSITION

YOUR LIFE INTO THE BUSINESS,

BECAUSE IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.

YOU ARE THE ELDEST OF SIX.

WE HAVE A PICTURE OF YOU WITH

FIVE OTHER SIBLINGS.

>> I WAS 11 IN THAT PICTURE.

>> YOU GREW UP IN THE

BRONX?

>> I SPENT THE FIRST FOUR

YEARS IN BROOKLYN, RUNNING THE

ELEVATOR FOR THE APARTMENT

BUILDING.

[LAUGHTER]

>> PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE

THAT YOU LOVED ACTING.

YOU WANTED TO BE AN ACTRESS.

>> I DID, BUT THAT DIDN'T

START UNTIL AFTER I WAS FIVE.

I'LL TELL YOU WHEN IT HAPPENED.

IT WAS AN EPIPHANY.

WE MOVED TO YONKERS.

IN MEETING THE NEIGHBORS, I WAS

SO EXCITED TO LIVE IN A PLACE

YOU COULD RUN OUTSIDE AND JUST

BE OUTDOORS.

I WOULD RUN OUT AND I WOULD SAY,

"HI, HI, HI, I WANT TO MEET

YOU, MY NAME IS MARCY."

AND THEY WERE LIKE, WHO THE --

FIVE AND 10 YEARS OLD.

AND I REALIZED THAT A GREAT

SKILL WOULD BE ACTING, SO I

COULD SEEM INDIFFERENT INSTEAD

OF BEING THIS ENTHUSIASTIC

PERSON THAT I WAS.

AND STILL AM.

THAT IS WHEN I FIRST HAD THIS

EPIPHANY IT WOULD BE GREAT TO

CONTROL HOW I CAME ACROSS.

AND I REALIZED I DIDN'T WANT TO

DO THAT IN MY OWN LIFE, BUT AS I

GOT OLDER, IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

AND HIGH SCHOOL, I WAS ALWAYS

INVOLVED IN THEATER.

>> HOW OLD ARE YOU WHEN

DAD STARTS SYMS?

>> I WAS NINE.

>> DID YOU GO TO THE STORE

ON THE WEEKENDS?

>> I WENT TO THE STORE IF MY

MOM DIDN'T NEED ME.

I WAS THE OLDEST SISTER.

THE NEXT YOUNGER THAN ME WERE

THREE BROTHERS, AND THE TWO

YOUNGEST CHILDREN WERE MY

SISTERS LAURA AND ADRIAN.

THE THREE BROTHERS WERE BOYS,

AND THEY WERE NOT THE ROLES THAT

WERE EXPECTED, THE JOBS THAT YOU

WERE EXPECTED TO DO.

I WAS EXPECTED TO WORK WITH MOM

ON THE FOOD AND THE VACUUMING

AND THE CLEANING AND MENDING,

AND ALL THAT STUFF.

>> YOU SAID THAT SY ENJOYED

YONKERS BECAUSE OF WHAT WAS

NEARBY.

ONE DAY, SY WAS LUCKY TO WIN THE

TRIFECTA IN YONKERS.

>> HE WAS USUALLY LUCKY.

HE WAS USUALLY A WINNER.

>> HE WAS A GOOD HANDICAPPER.

SY DECIDED HE WAS GOING TO MOVE

HIS FAMILY FROM YONKERS TO

BRONXVILLE.

>> IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL,

BEAUTIFUL HOME.

IT WAS INHABITED BY THE THEN

PRESIDENT OF REYNOLDS ALUMINUM.

THE HOME HAD BEEN EMPTY FOR

ABOUT TWO YEARS.

I WAS ECSTATIC, GOING FROM A

HOME WHERE WE HAD EIGHT PEOPLE

USING ONE BATHROOM IN THE

MORNING TO A HOME WHERE I MIGHT

SHARE THE BATHROOM WITH ONLY ONE

PERSON IN THE MORNING.

IT WAS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY,

EXCEPT THAT THE COMMUNITY WAS

VERY ANTI-SEMITIC AT THE TIME.

WE WERE PART OF THE BRONXVILLE

SCHOOL DISTRICT.

I STAYED THERE.

AS A MATTER OF FACT, I HAVE A

VERY DEAR FRIEND FROM THAT TIME

WHO IS NOW THE DEAN OF THE

MCAULEY SCHOOL AT CUNY, AND

I AM ON HER BOARD, THE MCAULEY

FOUNDATION BOARD.

IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT TIME AND

MY THREE BROTHERS AND TWO

SISTERS WOUND UP FINISHING THEIR

EDUCATION IN THE TUCKAHOE SCHOOL

DISTRICT.

>> HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO

GO TO FINCH?

>> I HAD LEFT TO GO TO

SCHOOL IN PITTSBURGH, AND WHILE

I WAS AWAY, I COULD NOT FIND A

DOCTOR TO DEAL WITH AN

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE I HAD AND

CONTINUE TO HAVE.

ACTUALLY STARTED THE FOUNDATION

TO HELP PEOPLE WITH THIS

DISEASE.

AND I HAD TO COME BACK TO NEW

YORK WHERE THERE WERE DOCTORS

THAT KNEW HOW TO TREAT IT.

>> SO YOU GO TO FINCH.

>> WHEN I GOT BACK TO NEW YORK,

I WAS WORKING AT AUDITS AND

SURVEYS.

I GOT A JOB RIGHT AWAY.

I REALLY ENJOYED IT.

I WAS WORKING ON THE COCA-COLA

RESEARCH CAMPAIGN, WHERE YOU

WOULD -- THIS WAS ALL PHONE

REQUESTS.

YOU WOULD GET A WILLING PERSON

ON THE PHONE AND SPEND ABOUT 15

MINUTES ANSWERING THESE PROBING

QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR LIKES AND

DISLIKES OF THE COCA-COLA BRAND.

IT WAS GREAT MARKETING EXPOSURE

FOR ME.

NYU DID NOT HAVE ANY ROOMS EVEN

THOUGH I GOT IN, AND I DID NOT

WANT TO GO BACK HOME.

A LITTLE BIT TOO MUCH COMMOTION.

FINCH HAD A ROOM AND FINCH WAS

VERY RECEPTIVE.

>> AT THIS TIME, YOU NEVER

THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO GO

INTO THE BUSINESS.

YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD GO

INTO THE BUSINESS.

SO YOU GRADUATE FINCH, AND THEN

YOU GET INVOLVED WITH MEDIA?

>> WELL, NOT RIGHT AWAY.

BEFORE I GOT INVOLVED WITH

STUDYING MEDIA AND GOING TO

GRADUATE SCHOOL, I ACTUALLY WENT

TO GET A DEGREE IN A BURGEONING

NEW FIELD CALLED PARALEGAL.

I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CLASSES

THAT GRADUATED FROM THE

PARALEGAL INSTITUTE IN NEW YORK.

I WAS HIRED BY MAURICE NADJARI,

-- IF YOU REMEMBER THE STORY --

>> SERPICO.

>> AT THAT TIME,

I WAS TRANSCRIBING THESE

TAPES THAT THE COURT HAD

APPROVED, TO OVERHEAR ALL OF

THESE CRIMINALS.

I WAS WORKING ON ONE CANDIDATE

WHO -- HORRIBLE DISCUSSIONS OF

KILLINGS, AND EVERYTHING.

THE DAY HE CAME IN, WE WERE ON

THE 57TH FLOOR OF NUMBER ONE

WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE

ELEVATOR OPENS UP,

I AM STANDING IN A CORNER.

I COULD NOT WAIT TO SEE THIS

GUY.

I FIGURED HE WOULD LOOK LIKE A

MONSTER.

AND THERE WAS THIS DAPPER GUY IN

HIS EARLY 40s, AND I WENT, MY

GOODNESS.

I WOULDN'T EVEN ASK HIM

DIRECTIONS.

I AM IN THE WRONG FIELD.

IF THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO

DO AS A LAWYER, I DON'T THINK I

COULD TELL THE GOOD GUYS FROM

THE BAD GUYS.

>> YOU WERE A PARALEGAL.

>> THE IDEA WAS THAT IF I

LIKED IT I WOULD GO TO LAW

SCHOOL.

>> THEN YOU CONTINUED AT

NYU?

>> I CONTINUED TO BOSTON

UNIVERSITY AND I GOT INTO THE

GRADUATE PROGRAM IN FINE ARTS,

AND I GRADUATED WITH -- MY

MASTER'S WAS EVENTUALLY IN

CORPORATE PUBLIC RELATIONS.

>> NOW IT IS TIME TO GET A

JOB, KID.

>> AND I LANDED A SUPER JOB.

THROUGH BECOMING A WOMAN IN

COMMUNICATIONS MEMBER AND A

PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS

OF AMERICA MEMBER, I WENT TO A

CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK AT THE

SHERATON CENTER, AND I MET PETER

STRAUS.

>> FORMERLY THE OWNER OF

STRAUS COMMUNICATIONS AND WMCA

RADIO.

>> HE WAS A CHARMING MAN.

AND HE WAS -- ANYWAY, HE GAVE

ME HIS CARD AND

I WROTE HIM A LETTER.

AND THEN I CAME IN FOR AN

INTERVIEW.

HE SAID HE HAD JUST LOST SOMEONE

WHO WAS HIS ASSISTANT, AND IF I

WAS AMENABLE TO THAT -- IT WAS

TERRIFIC.

I WAS ABLE TO PRODUCE HIS RADIO

SHOW FOR A WHILE WHILE I WAS

THERE AND GET INVOLVED WITH

UNDERSTANDING BROADCAST

UNIONS AND UNION

CONTRACTS AND SCHEDULING.

HE HAD ME WORKING ON SCHEDULING,

WHICH LATER IN RETAIL BECAME

A VERY VALUABLE SKILL.

HE ALSO TOOK ME TO MEETINGS,

WHERE HE MET IMPORTANT PEOPLE

AND HAD ME TAKE NOTES.

IT WAS GREAT.

>> FAST FORWARD THEN YOU GOT

INTO KATZ COMMUNICATION.

>> I WAS FIRED, AND THAT WAS

A REAL BLOW TO ME.

I REMEMBER CALLING MY DAD AND

SAYING, WHAT DO I DO NOW?

HE SAID, I THINK YOU JUST LEAVE.

JUST WALK OUT AND YOU FIGURE IT

OUT.

IT WAS AT THAT TIME THAT MY DAD

ASKED ME TO DO TV COMMERCIALS

FOR SYMS.

HE SAID I COULD DO THE WOMEN'S

ADS.

>> HE WAS DOING THE MEN'S ADS.

>> IN A NAIVE WAY, I SAID I

REALLY CANNOT REPRESENT SYMS

CLOTHING STORE BECAUSE I AM NOT

WORKING THERE AND I DON'T KNOW

IF I WANT TO WORK THERE.

AND HE JUST TOOK THAT -- WE

CONTINUED TO TALK ABOUT

BUSINESS, BECAUSE I LOVED

HEARING ABOUT HIS BUSINESS.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE

GROWTH OF SYMS.

YOU JOINED IN WHAT YEAR?

>> 1978.

>> DURING THAT TIME, THE

COMPANY BUYS SULKA --

>> IN '81.

>> RIGHT. LATER ON YOU BUY

SULKA, WHICH WAS HIGH-PRICED,

QUALITY HABERDASHERY --

>> EVERYTHING WAS HAND FINISHED.

THE MOST LUXURIOUS FABRICS.

>> SYMS GROWS.

YOU OPEN UP DIFFERENT LOCATIONS.

>> WE WENT FROM CITY STORES TO

SUBURBAN STORES.

>> YOU OPEN UP IN ELMSFORD.

>> THAT WAS IN DECEMBER 1978.

I JOINED IN JANUARY AS A

THREE-MONTH CONTRACT WORKER, AND

MY JOB WAS THE MEDIA PLAN AND

HELPING TO SET UP THE FIRST

STORE THAT MY FATHER OPENED

OUTSIDE OF THE NEW YORK AREA OF

ANY SIGNIFICANCE, WHICH WAS IN

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA.

IT WAS A REALLY FASCINATING

LOCATION.

HE TOOK ME TO SEE THE SITE.

IT WAS WHERE ROUTE 450 CROSSED

ROUTE 7.

YOU WOULD GET NOT ONLY NORTHERN

VIRGINIA BUT THE WASHINGTON

CROWD.

HE WAS VERY MUCH INTO SUITS AT

THAT POINT.

>> 1983, THE COMPANY IS GOING

PUBLIC.

BEAR STEARNS TAKES YOU PUBLIC.

>> BEAR STEARNS AND ROTHSCHILD.

>> YOU BECOME PRESIDENT OF

THE COMPANY.

>> AFTER IT WENT PUBLIC.

IT WAS DURING THE ROADSHOW.

WHEN WE MET WITH BEAR STEARNS --

AS AN ENTREPRENEURIAL COMPANY,

WHAT WAS SO EXCITING WAS YOU

COULD DO WHATEVER NEEDED TO BE

DONE.

ANY TIME THERE WAS SOMETHING

TO BE DONE AND THERE WAS NOT AN

EXPERT, YOU COULD TEACH YOURSELF

AND DO IT, WHICH WAS FABULOUS.

ONCE YOU GO INTO THE GROWTH

PERIOD OF THE BUSINESS AND YOU

GO INTO WALL STREET, YOU WANT TO

EXPLAIN WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS

ABOUT TO INVESTORS.

THERE HAS TO BE AN

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART.

THERE HAS TO BE JOB

DESCRIPTIONS.

IT WAS NOT ONLY WITH MY FATHER'S

BLESSING, BUT WITH THE

ANOINTMENT, IF YOU WILL, FROM

THE BEAR STEARNS AND ROTHSCHILD

PEOPLE, THAT I WAS

MADE PRESIDENT.

>> DURING THAT TIME, YOU

WROTE THIS BOOK?

>> I DID NOT START THE BOOK

UNTIL 1988.

>> IT CAME OUT IN 1993?

>> I WAS ASKED TO GIVE A

TALK ON FAMILY BUSINESS.

THIS WAS IN 1987.

MY FATHER AND HIS THEN WIFE WERE

IN THE AUDIENCE.

I WAS MOST NERVOUS ABOUT MY

FATHER HEARING ME TALK ABOUT

FAMILY BUSINESS.

AND HE SAID, THAT WAS GREAT.

I WAS SO RELIEVED BUT THE

REACTION TO ME TALKING

ABOUT FAMILY BUSINESS WITH

SO MANY PEOPLE SAYING -- CAN

YOU HELP ME WITH THIS?

CANYOU SUGGEST WHAT I CAN DO

ABOUT THIS?

I WAS AN INSTANT FAMILY BUSINESS

PERSON.

>> AND YOU WERE WITH SYMS

UNTIL 2012.

THEN YOU WERE I NTHE BOARD OF

BENCO, A DENTAL COMPANY.

>> FAMILY BUSINESS, THIRD

GENERATION.

>> RITE AID WAS A FAMILY

BUSINESS ALSO.

YOU ARE VERY INVOLVED WITH THE

COMMUNITY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS.

YOU WERE WITH CAROLYN MALONEY.

>> CAROLYN, WHO I HAD KNOWN

FOR MANY YEARS.

MY BROTHER STEPHEN INTRODUCED ME

WHEN SHE FIRST RAN FOR CONGRESS.

I WAS AT THE FUNERAL FOR MICKIE

SIEBERT, WHO WAS THE FIRST WOMAN

TO HOLD A SEAT ON THE NY STOCK

EXCHANGE, A JEWISH WOMAN FROM

THE SOUTH.

FABULOUS, FABULOUS WOMAN.

IT WAS HER FUNERAL.

CAROLYN MALONEY WAS THERE

AND SAID, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

SHE SAID, I HAVE SOMETHING FOR

YOU.

I MET GLORIA WORKING WITH THE

ERA COALITION AND THE FUND FOR

WOMEN'S EQUALITY,

WHICH I CHAIRED AND NOW

COCHAIR FOR THE PAST

FEW YEARS.

>> I WOULD SAY THE SYMS

STORY IS A GREAT STORY, AND

MARCY SYMS IS A CONTINUATION OF

THE STORY.

YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH MANY

CHARITIES.

I MET YOU THROUGH STATE OF

ISRAEL BONDS.

YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH

SIMON WIESENTHAL INSTITUTE.

YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF

THE SY SYMS FOUNDATION, AND ONE

OF THE BENEFICIARIES IS YESHIVA

UNIVERSITY, THE SYMS SCHOOL OF

BUSINESS.

IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO HAVE YOU

AND THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> MY PLEASURE MICHAEL.

GREAT TO SEE YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

The Description of Marcy Syms: The Syms Foundation | BuildingNY