The sweet treats once manufactured in New York

TootsierolladTootsierollfactoryContemporary New York boasts of its artisanal gourmet chocolatiers and confectioners.

But decades ago, the city was home to big factories pumping out some of the cheap sweets that are iconic old-school brands today.

Like Tootsie Rolls. Invented by a Brooklyn candy maker in 1896 and named after his daughter, these chewy candies used to be produced by the Sweets Company of America in a factory at 325-329 West Broadway.

That factory has sat empty for years, but as you can see from the photo, a developer has big plans: it’s set to become luxury condos called the Chocolate Factory, reports Curbed.

LifesaversadLooks like the same fate is in store for the former Life Savers factory at Eleventh Avenue and 20th Street.

This is where the minty candies shaped like life preservers got their start in 1913, before the Mint Products Company moved the factory to Queens in 1916, according to

The new name of these opulent residences: the Lifesaver Lofts, of course!

LifesaverloftsTake a stroll through Chelsea Market, at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street, and you’re constantly reminded that this high-end foodie heaven was once part of the factory complex owned by the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco, since the late 19th century.

Nabisco2It’s where millions of Oreos, Nutter Butters, Vanilla Wafers, Animal Crackers, and Fig Newtons were produced, packaged, and sent across the world.

Until the 1950s, that is, when Nabisco began baking all of its signature cookies in New Jersey and moved out.

[Left: A Nabisco building on 11th Avenue in 1913; Library of Congress]

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8 Responses to “The sweet treats once manufactured in New York”

  1. S.S. Says:

    There were several chocolate factories downtown besides

    Some of their ghost signs are still visible, like one on the the reddish, western wall of a building on the S.E. corner of Grand and Wooster, advertising “chocolate covered cherries”

    Another ghost sign can be found on the eastern wall of 178 Prince Street (Thompson/Sullivan), above the alley there. which may have been advertising Li-Lac Chocolates, located on Christopher Street, or perhaps another local chocolate company. I cannot recall precisely.

    Until recently there was a candy factory on Morton Street between Hudson and Greenwich.

    There may even have been others, whose location escape me at the moment.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks! Do you mean the chocolate factory on Clarkson, not Morton? That one is still there:

    • S.S. Says:

      Is it Clarkson? Probably. I get confused over there.

      Also, the Chunky Chocolate company, a huge factory, was located on Dean Street (or was it Pacific?) between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues in Prospect Hgts, Brooklyn, at least through the 60s.

      The naughty neighborhood adolescent boys somehow would gain access after school and rob a box or two for themselves.

  3. Joe R Says:

    Not in NYC but in nearby Portchester, Lifesavers used to have a building with huge model Lifesavers on the lawn in front of the building.

  4. james Says:

    The chocolate covered cherries were Cella brand, made by the same people who made Tootsie Rolls. The 325 west broadway building goes through to Wooster St below Grand St.

  5. Judith Says:

    My welsh immigrant ancestors lived in Sherrif Street circa 1880/1886. William Jones is listed in a New York City directory and his occupation is “candy”. Was there a chocolate/ sweet factory in the sheriff street area at that time, or maybe he was a street vendor?
    Can anybody help?


  6. Lovely, empty skybridges linking city buildings | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 1930, it has connected the former Nabisco factory (today’s Chelsea Market, where the Oreo was invented!) to a former Nabisco office […]

  7. A 19th century New Yorker invents toilet paper | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] owe their existence to the inventors and developers of New York City, like Christmas tree lights, Oreos, chop suey, and […]

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