Farewell to The Frenchmen

Bill Koniuk at the store in 2009
Photo by Sabina Mollot

We recently received word that Bill Koniuk, owner of The Frenchmen on First Avenue, has closed the store due to some health issues.

The Frenchmen, an air conditioner shop, is well known to residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village and Gramercy for its annual Christmas party for neighborhood kids.

The party, a decades-long tradition, included free horse carriage rides, live music, toys and a holiday window display that rivaled midtown’s department stores. Koniuk has told Town & Village that during the winter season, when demand for air conditioners is low, he would focus pretty much entirely on creating the display and party.

“After Christmas, I’ll think about selling,” he once said.

Party guests go for a hayride at a recent holiday party thrown by The Frenchmen.
Photo by Sabina Mollot

4 thoughts on “Farewell to The Frenchmen

  1. I’m sorry to hear that the Frenchman is closing, but I wish all the very best to Mr. Koniuk in his retirement. Mr. Koniuk has always been such a kind and generous gentleman of the “old school” and he will be greatly missed. The air conditioners I purchased from him over a decade ago are still humming away nicely! Be well, Mr. Koniuk.

  2. Wishing all the best to Mr. Koiuk. You and your store have been a part of our family tradition over the years. Never a problem with the air conditioners I bought over the years. The Christmas windows and traditions we celebrated every year with our son now 13. He too started a new chapter today in High School. We still have a Christmas book you gave him. His interest in moving toys and trains was spurred on by your window creations ever year. Those mechanized toys were VERY closely observed by him especially when we was small. Thank you for the coolness you bring our home in the heat and the warmth you brought our family during the winter.
    Best regards for your wellness and health as you make this transition.
    Hodorowski Family

  3. My sentiments precisely. A genuine quirky and generous community person. Fond memories of authentic Christmas celebration and gift to all kids in the community (young and otherwise). The “Frenchmen” Mr. Koniuk will always be remembered at holidays.

  4. Pingback: Remember The Frenchmen on First Avenue « NYC Real Estate News

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