Faded receipts from defunct city businesses

Think about the receipts you’ve carelessly stashed in your junk drawer or wallet. If they survived the next hundred years, what would they say about how New Yorkers lived in 2011?

I’m sure the homeowner who left these receipts under the floorboards of his Clinton Hill townhouse about a century ago had no idea that they would shed light on which industries thrived in turn of the century New York.

Ferrell & Ruth were dealers in the seven major food groups for well-off New Yorkers. And hey, 176 Bedford Avenue is smack dab in the center of hipster Williamsburg today, the site of the Salvation Army thrift store.

Of course, ice companies still exist. But obviously refrigeration has drastically reduced their numbers. I wonder if 600 pounds of ice for $1.30 was a bargain?

The ice industry was actually pretty dirty back in the day.

Ship plumbing, now that’s a specialized trade. Fred Buse’s operation was on Old Slip off the East River, where the city’s maritime industry thrived.

[Special thanks to J. Warren for loaning me these bits of ephemera]

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7 Responses to “Faded receipts from defunct city businesses”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Very cool, they even have the 191- already printed just waiting for the correct year. Have ten years to get through, boy, time is slow šŸ˜‰

  2. S.S. Says:

    Their was a chandler (shipping supplies) in TriBeCa up until the 90s.- i.e.1990s

  3. Goggla Says:

    These are great! You don’t see many hand-written receipts anymore.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I love them too. I’d love to go back in time and visit the lamb/veal/mutton dealers holding court on Bedford Avenue, and then duck into Fred Buse’s ship plumbing workshop on Old Slip.

  5. Laura Says:

    I love finding old receipts. While going through some books that my mother left me, I found a handwritten receipt dated 1942. It was for a doctor’s office visit: $5 paid in cash.

  6. JPW Says:


    Please email me.


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