Hudson Street has a long history. But I have no idea when this shop had its run at 428 Hudson, near Morton Street.
So the question is, what’s the name of the place—do those faded letters really read A. Roid’s?
I’m not exactly sure where this scene of a much more industrial Brooklyn waterfront is. WPA artist Harry Shokler painted it in 1934, in the middle of the Depression.
Titled simply “Waterfront—Brooklyn,” it shows us factories, smokestacks, trolleys, and diners . . . and it hasn’t resembled the Brooklyn waterfront for decades.
“Many artists during the 1930s focused on laborers and industrial scenes to emphasize the value of hard work in pulling the country out of the Depression,” states the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where the painting hangs.
“The smoking chimneys, groups of workers, and tracks in the snow evoke a sense of activity and perseverance in the face of hardship. To Americans in the 1930s, the skyscrapers of New York symbolized the city’s achievements and sustained the hope that the country’s economy would recover.”
A roller rink once packed in young people in Brooklyn Heights?
Here’s the proof: this late 19th century trading card, which puts the Brooklyn Heights Roller Skating Rink at Fulton and Orange Streets, a corner of old Brooklyn that no longer exists.
The card is part of the fascinating collection of Victorian-era trading cards digitized by the Brooklyn Public Library.
Ads for the rink appear in the archives of the Brooklyn Eagle. But there’s not a whole lot on the rink itself—though plenty of articles chronicle the roller skating trend of the 1880s city.
“‘The roller skating craze has passed away, as regards popular favor,’ said a former proprietor of a Brooklyn roller rink to an Eagle reporter.”
“‘Roller skating is like love—once dead, it can never be revived. The first established rinks realized immense profits. At this time last year, no less than 20 rinks were open in this city.
“Many did a good business, but others lost money. The best year for roller skating was the Winter and Spring of 1883 and 1884.'”
New York is filled with ghost signs for store that have long departed an address. Yet the new shop owners never remove the old signage, giving the old businesses a phantom presence on city streets.
The liquors sign above is at Avenue A and 14th Street. As you can see, there’s no corresponding liquor store, just a nail salon and a karaoke bar.
When this pizza joint on West 18th Street pulled up stakes, the Persian restaurant that moved in didn’t mind the green Pizza Paradise awning. Maybe the Ps made it close enough?
Superbuy was one of the names of an old-school pharmacy that once existed on lower First Avenue across from Stuyvesant Town. The store is gone, but the orange sign remains.
I’m not even sure which of these signs is actually the ghost sign and which represents the business currently occupying this space on West 14th Street!
There’s a wonderful bar and restaurant near Third Avenue on 23rd Street.
The wood and glass entrance is lit by amber lanterns; chandeliers inside cast a glow onto the tin ceiling. Everything about the bar radiates that enchanting, old New York feel.
Now it’s known as the Globe. Not too long ago, it was the Grand Saloon. Reportedly it’s been a food and drinking establishment since the 1880s.
Who was Klube? Sometime before 1912, a German immigrant named Charles (or Carl) Klube bought the place with a partner named Klinger.
Klube and his wife operated the restaurant as part of hotel, which occupied the top three floors of the building.
The hotel, called the St. Blaise, wasn’t just your standard neighborhood lodging house—it was actually a 15-bedroom brothel.
City of Eros, by Timothy J. Gilfoyle, references it in a passage on Manhattan’s various East Side houses of assignation.
“They had between 15 and 50 rooms that were used by prostitutes who frequented the hotels and nearby saloons.”
At some point, the St. Blaise name faded away, and Klube established Klube’s Steak House here. It went out of business in 1965, but in 1950, The New York Times described it as a “homey little German restaurant.”
No word about what happened to the brothel above.
New York sidewalks and streets are a treasure of old manhole covers. Some are utilitarian, others decorative, but most are emblazoned with the name of the ironworks where they were made.
But this one, on the sidewalk on 11th Street east of Fifth Avenue, is more like a cast-iron advertisement for the M. J. Dempsey Foundry, located on West 55th Street.
Dempsey made furnace grates, coal hole covers, boiler castings, and dumping grates. It’s a small reminder of the great infrastructure advances (steam heat, coal delivery, furnaces) that helped make the city an manufacturing and industrial powerhouse.
The ices offered by this street vendor are probably not artisanal or organic. But I bet they hit the spot on a hot summer day.
Photographer John Albok captured the cones and syrups of one man’s cart in East Harlem in 1938, a neighborhood of Italians at the time with a small but growing influx of Hispanics.
The link from the Museum of the City of New York describes them as piraguas—the Puerto Rican treat sold by many vendors today.
[Photo: MCNY Collections Portal]
On Kent Avenue is this well-preserved reminder that Williamsburg was once known for its industry and factories.
And the bonus faded ad: a GE logo!
Cleaners Sales & Equipment Corp was in Williamsburg at least into the 1990s. There’s an address for it in Orangeburg, New York now.
Frank Jump has a little more company background.
On this warm June evening, some old-school neon eye candy is called for. Neon is at its most enchanting at twilight, isn’t it?
Each of these signs have lit up the sky on the other side of Seventh Avenue South for decades—even if the establishments they advertise are a trendy parody of the bar and restaurants they they once were.
The Beatrice Inn opened in 1924 on West 12th Street. But it’s trended up these days and is no longer the comfortable if unspectacular neighborhood Italian place it had been. “Old Village ambience” wrote Cue magazine in 1975.
Almost a century old, the Fedora, on West Fourth Street, was also recently revamped from a longtime local gay bar to a cocktails and cutting-edge menu kind of place.
Arthur’s has been a venue for live music since 1937. The vertical Arthur’s sign is wonderful but doesn’t light up anymore, unfortunately.
Infamously known as the no-slices place, John’s has been serving meals (originally on Sullivan Street) since 1929—the year of the stock market crash.
This place is one of the few reminders that Bleecker Street was once a thriving Little Italy neighborhood, not an imitation of one.
The enormous lobby, with its illuminated revolving globe and compass points set into the floor, is an impressive monument to wonder and the bigness of the universe, as well as a nod to the newspaper’s global perspective.
Then there’s the huge facade framing the 39-story building’s main entrance.
This bas relief features the newspaper name, an urban cityscape, and a crowd of people, with this inscription: “he made so many of them.”
What does it mean?
It’s part of a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “God must love the common people; he made so many of them.”
Sounds like an homage to the regular New Yorkers who made the Daily News, which got its start in 1919 as the city’s first tabloid, one of the nation’s biggest newspapers throughout the 20th century.
At the time of the building’s opening, the News had an impressive circulation of 1.3 million. Now it’s roughly half that.