No signs for hippie rolls, alas, but a nice enough sign (especially the hanging one), and a pleasingly unlikely name for a pizzeria. The small "garden" in between Thomas & Pizza is kind of nice too, especially given the Jackson Heights location. But what a crazy menu overload.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Yesterday there wasn't even one ray of sunshine. My plans to get out dwindled down to a damp shuffle along Fifth Avenue, where the fair was suffering the consequences of all the rain. It seemed like the day was a big washout, but almost back home, as the fair began to wind down, there was the antidote to Sunday blues. These guys were good.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Admiral Locksmith, around since 1952. I like the painted safe, door-check and lock at the base of the storefront, & those panic locks & Fox police locks signs. There's a great profile of the owner, Roz Kaplan, in the Huffington Post. This is one in a series of "Astoria Character" pieces written by Nancy Ruhling. And for more on lock inventor Emiel Fox, and Arlene Skratt, who along with her husband Gene ran the Chelsea Fox Police Lock Company until 2002, check out this 2008 NY Times piece:
"I never lived in Manhattan, but people who lived there used to feel more secure with one of those locks. Every once in a while you see the lock in a movie. It was very secure. I don’t think anybody ever broke into an apartment that had one of those police locks. Nobody sued, anyway ...
When Gene died, there was nobody left to run the business. My son wasn’t involved in it that much. His father never really taught him the business. You had to know where to buy your steel, where to buy your cylinders. You had to have your contacts. My son didn’t know much about all that. And my daughter wasn’t interested in manufacturing a lock. My son and daughter have dismantled the shop and are renting it out to a psychic. I guess everybody wants to know what’s going to happen. Until the day they die. They don’t want to know that."
Lavelle's Admirals Club. Closed when I was passing by, at the wrong time of day.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Across from Broadway Wine & Liquors, a trio of businesses that don't seem to have changed their appearance much in recent years. The no-nonsense looking Cronin & Phelan bar & the pizza & Chinese joints - Polito's & Sun Lok. These last two have signs that are surely of the same vintage, & maybe put up by the same sign company. They look companionable. Polito's also advertises Hippie Rolls. Hippie Rolls? I was completely in the dark about these, but gather they're a calzone like roll, consisting of pizza dough wrapped around sausage, cheese, pepperoni & other fillings. The name may be a derivative of "eppie rolls", and eppie may be short for pepperoni. It's all a little mysterious. The rolls were apparently popular in the 60s & 70s, & maybe that's how the hippie part came in. I've never seen them on a pizzeria sign before, but maybe they're on signs all over the place and I've just been inattentive. I'd love to know if other places feature them. And are they still on the menu at Polito's? I was in a bit of a hurry when I passed by here last weekend, but I'll go back & find out soon.
Monday, May 13, 2013
With scaffolding down, a standard four storey plus penthouse is revealed at 491 Fifth, between 11th & 12th. Until several years ago Tacos Nuevo Mexico was at this address, before it moved next door, and earlier, in the mid 80s there was a store named Get Even at 491. It's quite likely that the 491 & 489 buildings, smaller and shallower than their neighbors, were the original wooden structures built here when this neighborhood was first developed. 491 didn't show obvious signs of its vintage in recent years, but 489 (home to Glasgow Deli when I first moved round here) still has its cornice, and that look of an older building dwarfed by newer arrivals: the row of brownstone apartment houses, and now, our latest architectural wonder. I don't know the date 491 and 489 went up, but my 1886 Robinson street map shows two wooden buildings here, and lots next to it were vacant. In 1886 almost the entire block around the corner on 12th still consisted of frame dwellings.
You can see 80s tax photos of Glasgow & Get Even here. The adjacent Jo, Brian & Joseph's Key Food Market (formerly the OTB) opened a year ago, but is still celebrating its grand opening! The faded ad overlooking 489 is a bit harder to see with the new apartment building nearby, but happily it's still possible (for now) to make out at least part of J.J. Friel Loans.
Update: If you want to know more about J.J. Friel, there's a fascinating piece about the business and the family behind it over at Frank H. Jump's Fading Ad Blog.