07 October 2008

Old Hoyt Street

Residents of Hoyt Street in Carroll Gardens have in recent months decried restaurateur Jim Mamary's plans to open an Oyster Bar on that lane, insisting it would spoil the quietude of that retiring residential strip. At one Community Board 6 meeting, one local declared: "Bottom line: Hoyt Street is residential."

Which I pretty much agree with. But which was not always the case. To anyone with eyes, it's clear that Hoyt was once—and not too long ago—a commercial strip as busy as neighboring Smith Street. Nearly every corner building between 3rd Street and Sackett Street has the look of a former storefront. I've learned from recent conversations with locals that there were at least two German bakeries on the street and many other businesses aside, including whatever concern once operated out of the Oyster Bar space (a grocery, as I remember). So, in one way of looking at it, Mamary is returning the strip to its historical roots. Not that there were any oyster bars back then.


Anonymous said...

The businesses that occupied a number storefronts on Hoyt Street in CG during the past five decades included a pharmacy on the corner of Hoyt & Union; a small French dry cleaner and a small grocery on Hoyt between Union & Sackett (where Mamary proposed opening his oyster bar); another small grocery and a bakery on diagonally opposite corners of Hoyt and DeGraw. (I remember all of these because I grew up in CG and attended St. Agnes School between 1959 & 1967.) It was not as "busy" a commercial strip as Smith Street by any stretch of the imagination as you suggest. It was a quiet residential street containing a number of small neighborhood businesses catering to nearby residents. There was no heavy vehicular traffic either as there is on Smith. There were a few small groceries farther up Hoyt as you approach downtown, but nothing remotely approaching the bustle of Smith. In addition, I would hardly equate these small businesses with a noisy bar/restaurant that would keep people up at night, so Mamary would not have been doing any of us any favors by "returning the strip to its historical roots." Far from it.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

No, not the same as Smith Street today. But not entirely residential, either. A mix. And what about the old Magic Touch on Hoyt and 3rd Street. I imagine that restaurant stayed open fairly late.

Anonymous said...

I would say the mix was 70/30 residential/business. Still mostly residential and not comparable to Smith Street today or back then. There was also a candy store on the corner of Hoyt/First Street (owned by a Mrs. Pizzaro, I believe).