You think dining at Pok Pok is exciting? That's nothing. Once upon a time, they had some high times on Columbia Street, Brooklyn. Like exploding buildings—on purpose.
The folks at Freebird Books recently uncovered a long forgotten episode of wanton destruction in the history of Columbia Street. Once an industrial area, the road was home for many decades to the Valley Candle Manufacturing Company, which stood at 158 Columbia Street.
By the 1980s, many of the building on the west side of Columbia between Kane and DeGraw Street were abandoned, and much of the manufacturing had left the neighborhood. The Valley Candle building, standing between Irving and Sedgwick Streets (both now demapped) was one of the last still standing. The television show "Miami Vice" took advantage of the depressed situation to use Valley as the set for one of its episodes, blowing the joint to kingdom come. Above and below are screen captures of the scene, caught by Freebird.
I don't know when Valley Candles was founded, but it was bought by a man named Bob Goergen in 1976. It was then sold again in 1979 and the new owners relocated the business to Greenwich CT. Below is another picture from the same "Miami Vice" episode. Notice that Accardi Hardware was right next door at 160 Columbia. After the explosion, the hardware store moved across the street to 157 Columbia, where it stayed before closing last year.