And though the businesses on these vintage matchbook covers are long gone, they were going strong when the covers were printed between the 1920s and 1940s.
Roulston’s was a grocery store chain headquartered in factory building near the Gowanus Canal.
Pete Hamill wrote of his father’s job there in 1994’s A Drinking Life:
“You should be very proud of your daddy, my mother said. He only finished eighth grade and he is working as a clerk. The reason is his beautiful handwriting.
“He was working at the main office of a Brooklyn grocery chain called Thomas Roulston & Sons and brought home nineteen dollars a week.”
Astor Coffee—I was hoping it was an old-school coffee house on Astor Place, perhaps where the Starbucks is now.
Instead, it was the house blend at the gorgeous and grandiose Astor Hotel, late of Times Square, a lovely place to hang in the 1920s.
The coffee was so popular they sold it at retail establishments around the city.
I couldn’t find anything about the Flatiron Cafeteria; I imagine it was just another spot in Depression-era New York to get a cheap cup of coffee and sandwich.
But I love the matchbook cover—and of course, the old-school phone number.
Today, 164 Fifth Avenue is an Eileen Fisher clothing store.
Tags: Astor Coffee, Astor Hotel, Flatiron Cafeteria, Matchbook cover, New York in the 1920s, New York restuarants, New York street, old New York supermarkets, Roulston's, Roulston's grocery, vintage matchbook covers