Myron “Mike” Blumenfeld, of Port Washington, died on July 1, just two months after his 90th birthday. Myron was the fourth of five children in a colorful, working-class family in Brooklyn. Myron graduated from Tilden High School in 1945. After Tilden, Myron went on to Syracuse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1949. He earned his Master’s degree from NYU in 1950.
Upon graduation from NYU, Myron started his career at Bloomingdales as an assistant buyer in the home furnishings and bedding department. He spent his entire business career (36 years) with Bloomingdale’s. When Myron retired in 1985, he was the vice president of cosmetics. Myron revolutionized the selling of cosmetics, starting many trends and introducing innovative ideas. Under his leadership, sales went from $1 million to $100 million. He helped companies like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Estee Lauder and Diane von Furstenberg launch their cosmetics and perfume businesses. In her autobiography, von Furstenberg referred to Mike Blumenfeld as “Mr. Cosmetics.” At a memorial for former Bloomingdale’s CEO, Marvin Traub, Leonard Lauder recalled a visit he and his mother, Estée Lauder, made to see Traub when the Lauders weren’t happy with their counter position. “She started to cry and got her way,” he recalled, adding that Mike Blumenfeld [Bloomingdale’s head of cosmetics] commented, ‘Next time, I’m going to bring my mother.’”
Myron led a very busy life outside of Bloomingdale’s and enjoyed a second career (until his death) as an activist.
In 1968, he founded the local environmental group, Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington (now Residents Forward). With Myron as chairman, Residents learned of dangers imposed by the disposal of garbage in Hempstead Harbor and in a surrounding landfill, and later of a plan to construct an adjacent, larger mass burn incinerator. Concerned about the spewing of toxic gases, Myron led Residents and collaborated with others to stop these hazardous practices and plans. Myron helped establish the Port Washington Parks Conservancy. He was the moving force between multiple park improvements and plans in Port Washington, including Sunset Park, Stannards Park and the Blumenfeld Family Park.
A Sierra Club member since the early 1950s, Myron served on boards of the Environmental Planning Lobby and the American Friends of Neot Kedumim—the biblical landscape preserve in Israel. Governor Mario Cuomo appointed Myron chairman of the Long Island State Park Commission, where he initiated its first environmental education program.
Myron served two five-year terms as a library board trustee. Active in the library’s children’s room events, he regularly read to and tutored children. He also founded the Josh Blumenfeld Memorial Scholarship Fund Committee, named in memory of his son. The scholarship provides funds to immigrant students in the English as a Second Language Program at Schreiber High School.
In 2012, Myron was named Port Washington’s Citizen of the Year by the Community Chest.
While at Tilden High School, Myron met Gloria Turok. Myron and Gloria married on June 30, 1951. Together they had three children, Riva, Joshua and Eve. Gloria succumbed to breast cancer in 1987. Myron remarried in 1988, marrying Ruth Yanowitz, also of Port Washington. Ruth Yanowitz passed in December 2010. Myron is survived by his daughters Eve and Riva, their husbands Jeff and John and four grandchildren, Ariel, Moriah, Jake and Cole. He is also survived by his sister Gail Guttman, brother-in-law Arnie Turok and his wife Brenda and many nieces and nephews. Myron will be greatly missed by his family, friends and community. In Myron’s honor donations can be made to Residents Forward, the Port Washington Public Library or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).