23 October 2008

Midtown Mystery

One thing that drives my crazy are New York businesses that advertise themselves as having been founded in some distant year, but show no signs of being old and are staffed by people who know nothing of the company's history.

There are two such places—side by side—on an otherwise anonymous block of Broadway between 38th and 39th. Peter's Flowers, founded in 1937. And Harrie's Bakery, there since 1948. Either of these names ring a bell?

They're both part of a sort of urban strip mall on that block. The construction looks like it was built in the '60s. Now, call me a stickler, but I say that if you're going to go around boasting about your age, you better have some evidence of your oldness on the walls inside. Old photos, newspaper clippings, anything. But there's nary a thing hung up to prove Peter's and Harrie's bonafides. I asked clerks and got a bunch of shrugs. I can find nothing on the internet about either business, except that Harrie's serves a bad breakfast sandwich. (I can attest to that.)

It's very possible that each business began elsewhere and subsequently moved to their present location. But I want proof. Because it's equally possible that the owners slapped those dates on the awning to draw in nostalgia-loving saps like me.

And "Harrie's"? What kind of spelling is that?

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