I stumbled upon one of New York's oldest butchers the other day during a long rainy walk through Flatbush. Sitting anomalously in the middle of the various Caribbean and Spanish shops on Nostrand Avenue was Michael's Prime Meats, a remnant of the neighborhood's Italian past.
Michael's has been around since 1931. The Savarese family came from Sorrento in 1903. Sons Michael, Sal and Frank went into the meat business. Mike was the one who opened the shop on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush. Today, the shop is frequented by the Caribbean women of the neighborhood, who are looking for different cuts of meat than did their Italian predecessors. Michael's obliges them happily.
The shop is now run by the third generation of the Savarese family. The place has all the earmarks of an old butcher. There is sawdust on the floor. And the cutting blocks are warped and rendered concave through decades of use. Above is a photo of how the store used to look in the 1930s. Below are a collection of meat hooks.