Posts Tagged ‘Clinton Hill history’

The old-school soda sign of a Brooklyn grocery

November 2, 2015

As mom and pop delis and luncheonettes disappear from the five boroughs, so do the wonderful “privilege” signs affixed to them.

Lafayettecumberlandsign

But one continues to hang on in Brooklyn at the leafy, brownstone-beautiful corner of Lafayette Avenue and Cumberland Street.

Lafayettecumberlandcokesigncornr“Lafayete” Grocery & Dairy is a bodega that maintains a vintage Coca-Cola sign.

There’s no word on exactly how old the sign is, but oddly, it was spelled correctly back in 2009 before the place underwent a renovation.

Much older signage can be seen on facade of the building, which likely went up in the 1870s (and once served as home base of the New Diamond Point Pen Company): the names Lafayette and what looks like Cumberland carved in the corner.

Lafayettecumberlandstreetsign

These corner-cut street signs can be seen all over New York’s oldest neighborhoods.

Paper remnants of long-ago Brooklyn businesses

May 12, 2011

If you live in an old Brooklyn house, check under your floorboards.

That’s how one resident of a circa-1887 Clinton Hill brownstone mansion discovered a treasure of letters, receipts, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera dating from 1900 to 1910.

Why the papers were stashed beneath the floorboards is a mystery.

But I’m glad they were. They offer a rare glimpse of the ordinary businesses and services available to well-off Washington Avenue residents at the end of the Gilded Age.

Oh, and the phone exchanges! Imagine reaching a business with just a 2- or 3-digit number.

John D. Gunning offered “sanitary examinations and peppermint tests” as part of his plumbing and gas fitting business, above.

He must be the same John D. Gunning whose 1917 death notice in the New York Times notes that he “succeeded his father in the contract plumbing business.”

The Union League Stables were next to the glorious Union League Club building, now a senior citizen community center.

Amazingly, F.M. Fairchild Sons funeral directors are still in business—but on Long Island, not in Brooklyn.