31 March 2011

Don't Just Like Local, SHOP Local

A very good, and important, point made in this NY Times "Complaint Box" piece. I sometimes fail to shop local. I buy back-to-school clothes for my son at Target, because the local South Brooklyn childrens' clothing stores are just too precious and expensive. But I buy my bread at Mazzola and Caputo, sausage at Esposito Pork Store, hardware at Mazzone, plants at Gowanus Nursery, groceries at the local Met Food and Fairway (there are local chains, after all), pastry at Court Street Pastry, stationary supplies at KC Crafts on Court Street, wine at Brooklyn Wine Exchange, Scotto's and Smith & Wine, cheese at Stinky and Caputo, Glasses at Insight Optical on Court, etc. I even get my hair cut locally. 

And, for the record, I have shopped at Marietta, more than once. Good cheap kids' pajamas.

Local Hypocrites
By Jancee Dunn
Marietta Ladies’, Men’s and Children’s Wear has been part of my neighborhood in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, for over half a century. Hand-lettered signs fill the display window (“Heavy sox, $1.50 a pair”). Inside, the walls are lined with honey-colored wooden drawers stuffed with bras and pajamas. Two elderly brothers run the shop, which they inherited from their mother. I often go in to buy T-shirts (rung up on a cash register that, like the brothers, is old but still working).

A Hell of a Rotten Idea

There is, of course, no limit to the number of stupid, city-soul-killing ideas that arise in Bloomberg's dystopian New York. But even among the most bonebrained notions, the removal of the Essex Street Market from the Lower East Side stands out in its wrongheadedness.

The Daily News reported earlier this month that Community Board 3 is considering whether the Essex Street Market should move when the city starts developing something called the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Community Board 3 passed guidelines in late January for the development of a stretch of parking lots along Delancey Street, and the renewal project includes the plot where the market stands and the guidelines suggest a possible move.

Why the removal of this beautiful and wonderful market, built in 1940, would constitute "renewal" for the area, no one suggests. Nor does anyone explain how the multifarious market, full of food merchants both historic and new, is dragging down the neighborhood. Anyone who visits the Essex Street Market regularly—or has stumbled upon it be accident—know was a flavorful experience a stroll through its stalls can be, and how much character and authenticity and neighborhood feeling it lends to an area that is increasingly plastic.

There is now a "Save The Essex Street Market" petition, so go check it out and sign before CB3 can act any further on this idiotic idea.  

Apparently, the Hunts Point wholesale produce market in the South Bronx might also decamp, perhaps to New Jersey. Because, you know, New York doesn't need any kind of industry or anything like that. We're good the way we are. As long as we keep the Yankees, Mets, the New York Stock Exchange, new chain franchises and plenty of condo developments. We're good. 

Worst Marquee on Broadway

Not only is "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" the most beleaguered and probably worst show on Broadway, it has the poorest marquee.

Right before "Spider-Man" moved into the former Ford Center for the Arts/Hilton Theatre, the house's ownership changed and it became the Foxwoods Theatre. Here's the marquee Foxwoods came up with. What bulbs there are are small, and a good number of them are burnt out. And "Foxwoods" doesn't even light up! The sign barely registers on the retina, so dim a glow does it cast in the Times Square night. The marquee on the 42nd Street side of the theatre is even smaller and more pathetic.

A Little Bit of "Moonstruck"

Maybelle's, the new cafe that occupies the space at the corner of Henry and Sackett, has made a nod to history by displaying the above chunk of metal sign. The owners found it in the basement. It's a section of the old sign for Cammerari Bros. Bakery, which called this address home for decades, and was featured in the film "Moonstruck."

30 March 2011

I Like "Jay Street-Borough Hall" Better

Ferdinando's Awning Gone as Fast as It Came

The new awning for Ferdinando's Focacceria, the 107-year-old Brooklyn institution, disappeared as fast as it arrived. Late afternoon Monday it was going up. By Tuesday, it was gone. I have to think this has something to do with what one of my eagle-eyed readers spotted: Focacceria was correctly spelled on the front of the awning, but misspelled as "Focacceceria" on the edge of the awning. Back to the awning factory it goes!

Rocky Center As Seen by LEGO

On the face of it, the LEGO store in Rockefeller Center is nothing to rejoice about. Just another corporate foothold in midtown Manhattan by a heterogeneity-obliterating international conglomerate.

But I have to hand it to them for their effort to acknowledge their locality. Throughout the store are LEGO representations various Rocky Center murals, friezes and statuary. Not to mention a LEGO model of Rocky Center itself (above). My hope is it causes kids and tourist to detach their retinas from the gleaming piles of consumers loot and realize that they're in the middle of an architectural and cultural landmark that deserves a ganger itself. As one slow-witted tourist said after gazing at the above model for a minute: "Hey. That's were we are."

The Brooklyn News of 1884

In the New York Times, Aug. 4, 1884:

"Angelo Dillegrino, an Italian, of No. 32 Union Street, Brooklyn, declared at noon yesterday that his sweetheart was the most beautiful girl to be found in Brooklyn or Hoboken. Nicholas Corleo, another Italian, of No. 100 Union Street, maintained that there was no truth whatever in the statement, but that he himself had the handsomest sweetheart in Brooklyn, to say nothing of Hoboken or Long Island City. To settle the matter in a satisfactory manner, both men drew razors. Dillegrino slashed Corleo in the face and on the arm, and then ran away. He was captured and locked up in the Eleventh Precinct Station House. Corleo was sent to the Long Island College Hospital. The question in dispute remains unsettled."

29 March 2011

Rockefeller Center's Grimy Southern Border

I like the way the block of W. 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth continues to act like a real Midtown block, stubbornly providing a grimy southern bracket to the polished swank of Rockefeller Center. There's an OTB (now closed) and a string of sketchy restaurants housed in crumbling townhouses.

You can see two of those eateries above, at 28 and 30 W. 48th Street, not to mention assorted psychics, palm readers and nail salons. What attracted to me to these building this particular day, however, were the upper floors. Obviously built as a pair, they sport some very unusual windows and lintels, more and more gently rounded on the top as you go from the first story to the top story. Very unique and attractive.

As far as history, 28 W. 48th was a store back in the 1920s. There's more info about 30 W. 48th. It was offices in the 1940s; an eatery and bar in the mid-50s; and a greeting card story, with a beauty parlor and barber, and a portrait studio above, in the 1960s.

30 W. 48th's secret history is much more interesting. It was raided by police at 4 AM one February 1977 night as an illegal casino.


This is the fifth post of "The Union Street Project," in which I unearth the history of every building along the once bustling Brooklyn commercial strips of Union Street between Hicks and Van Brunt, and Columbia Street between Sackett and Carroll.

Most of the buildings along Union, between Hicks and Columbia, have held a variety of businesses over the past century or so. There are a couple exceptions. 138 Union is one. From 1927 to 2002 this was the home of a single enterprise: Latticini Barese Salumeria, a wonderful cheese shop with a history stretching back to the neighborhood's pushcart days. It was run by the Balzano family, who, as the name suggested, hailed from Bari, Italy. The shop stubbornly remained long after the BQE cut the block off from the rest of Brooklyn, and the Columbia Street sewer dig of the 1970s killed off the rest of business. The place only closed after old Joe Balzano suffered a few physical setbacks and his son, Joe. Jr., decided to throw in the towel. It closed in August 2002, eventually replaced by a real estate broker who is still there.

Inside, Lattcini Barese was a wonderful place, with very basic white shelving and white counter on three sides. (I wish I had taken pictures while I still could.) Joe Sr. got up every morning to make fresh mozzarella. They also made handmade sandwiches which had few equals, and a sausage salad that retains a grip on my memory. The shelves were largely empty, holding only some packages of pasta (by a company called Balzano, no relation) and cans of tomato sauce. There was a tile floor and, as I recall, ceiling fans. It was frozen in time.

The real estate office has retained elements of the salumeria's distinctive storefront. (See below.) Gone are the miniature green awning that hung over every window on the facade, advertising specialties like mozzarella and sausage. The business had held a stronger-than-usual grip on posterity due to a large painted advertisement that still adorns the top story of the building.


28 March 2011

Ferdinando's Focacceria Gets Huge New Awning

This huge orange thing went up over Ferdinando's Focacceria around 5 PM Monday, March 28. It's certainly the biggest awning, sign or anything that the old Sicilian sandwich place has had in its 107 years in business, as Ferdinando's and otherwise. (It's always been a Sicilian joint, but under different names.) In the past, the awning, when unfurled, has only covered the storefront. It hasn't stretched the length of the entire building.

It looks nice enough. And I can begrudge the owner (that's him, center) the chance to attract more attention to his restaurant. The trouble is, with each "improvement," Ferdinando's looks less like Ferdinando's, and more like some dodger that's trying to look old and authentic. I hope they never get rid of those narrow double doors that serve as the entryway.

The Knox Hat Factory

I recently found out that at some point in the past hats were big enough to support a hat factory as big as the one above at the Brooklyn corner of St. Mark's and Grand Avenue (today's Prospect Heights). That's a lot of hats. Built in 1890, it was purported to be the largest hat factory in the world, and they made every conceivable type of headgear here, from top hats to straw boaters to policemen's helmets.

As this site attests, the building still exists, though it's been beheaded.

House Next to Rat-Squirrel House Gets Renovated

I guess Cobble Hill's notorious Rat-Squirrel House isn't the threat it used to be.

I remember hearing tales that the shut-in who lived there for so many years kept the landmarked, four-story, brick building in such deplorable condition that the walls and floors were ridden with termites. And those termites spread, causing structural problems for the owners on either side of the 149 Kane Street building.

Times have changed since the owner of the Rat Squirrel House was forcibly removed in July 2009. There's been intermittent activity inside and out the boarded up, scaffolded structure, indicating that someone is interested in saving it. (A March DOB filing recommended "renovation all the interior wall, ceiling, replace roof joist, outside facade.) But next door, at 147 Kane, fears have evaporated. The building has been gutted and is getting a complete renovation. Someone will soon be moving in to a townhouse in mint condition. So, no termites anymore, right?

27 March 2011

Carroll Gardens' Old V&R Pizzeria Changes Hands

V&R Pizzeria, one of the least celebrated but most longstanding pizza joints in Carroll Gardens, is no more. The storefront has changed hands and is now called Grandma's Boy's Pizzeria. The new owner told me the proprietor of V&R sustained an injury when he slipped on some olive oil in the kitchen, and was forced to retire.

V&R has been on the south stretch of Court Street for some years. I was never sure exactly how old it was, but at least a quarter century. As Court Street pizzerias like Campabello's and Mole closed one by one over the past decades, it became one of the last old-school slice joints along the increasingly ritzy strip. (It's neighbors include Court Street Grocers, Prime Meats, Buttermilk Channel and the like.) I tried one of Grandma's Boys slices. It was pretty good. Don't love the name, though.

26 March 2011

Otto's Scandinavian Bar Gets New Woody Tenant

Come April, they'll be a new tenant in the former home of Otto's Scandinavian Bar. OK, OK, Otto hasn't held forth at the corner of Columbia and Kane Streets in Brooklyn since the early '80s. Still that's how I think of the spot.

Anyway, the address—vacant since Blue Stone Bar & Grill closed five years ago—has been a hive of activity the past couple months. It will reopen as Casa di Campagna, a new Italian restaurant. The facade and interior have been covered over with wooden planks, giving the place a country lodge feel. The owner, whom I talked to, said the wood came from a dismantled barn in South Carolina. The inside is spacious and stretching far back along Kane. Near the front is a brick fireplace which is original, and I imagine must date back to Otto days. Doesn't work now, though.

25 March 2011

A Good Sign: Gaspare Shoe Repair

"We resole crepe soles." Well, thank God!

In Sheepshead Bay/

24 March 2011

Interesting Art Deco Thing in Chinatown

Passed by this remarkable Art Deco edifice in Chinatown, on the corner of Lafayette and Howard, the other day. Never noticed it before for some reason. It looks like one of those sprawling, low-slung, lovely, 1930s filling stations you can still find in some small towns. The sign above the roller-shuttered door says its the home of an office of the General Services Administration, a "New York Interagency." A little research discovers that the GSA services Federal Government vehicles.

A look on Google maps shows the walls were recently covered with graffiti. So they're recently been cleaned. The building is apparently an annex to a bigger warehouse on Centre Street. Still, it doesn't seem like it's ever used.

Regardless, the architecture is quite beautiful and an unusual contribution to the Manhattan cityscape.

23 March 2011

Lost City: Pittsburgh Edition: The Original Sunseri Bros. Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.

Too many words for a company name? I don't think so.

22 March 2011

This in From Le Roy, New York

A reader sent in this photo, taken in Le Roy, New York, a tiny town upstate near Rochester. If Le Roy's big enough to harbor Shelby's Jewelers, with its "Budget Terms," maybe it's not such a bad place to live. (Hey, budget terms are the only terms I got!)

21 March 2011

Old Flower Shop Sign Revealed

A reader wrote in telling the story behind this new/old sign: "It's an old flower shop at 135th and 7th avenue. Part of an old sign has fallen off revealing an even older Deco sign underneath. Until recently this place was called the Riverton Flower Shop, but now the "Riverton" has been covered over."

Old sign beats new sign any day.

Lost City Asks "Who Goes to Mont Blanc"?

[Editor's Note: Sorry I've not posted for a few days. I was on vacation and my laptop crashed. Will be back up to speed soon.]

I remember when I first heard about the Theatre District eatery Mont Blanc. It was back in 2005, when I was bemoaning the closure of such area joints at McHale's and Sam's. A friend, commiserating, told me yet another great, affordable old place in the neighborhood was closing: Mont Blanc. My first thought was that I had never heard of it. My second was, Time Square has a Swiss restaurant?

I was very happy when I discovered that Mont Blanc reopened in a new space on the same street. Here's my column on Eater:

Who Goes There? Mont Blanc
Maria's Mont Blanc Restaurant was one of those small midtown bistros that went down in the years before the recession hit, when the Real Estate Gods of Times Square decided the area no longer had room for mid-priced eating and drinking options. But, unlike Barrymore's, Sam's, JR's, McHale's and other victims, Mont Blanc managed to find a new location—right across the road from their former home, on E. 48th Street between Eighth and Ninth, as a matter of fact—and resurrect itself.
Mont Blanc spent twenty years at its first home, and has only been in its new space for four years. Hence, the restaurant's charmingly shabby, lived-in quality has vanished. But the feeling that you're in the capable hands of a close-knit family remains. I've rarely seen such conscientious kindness as that exhibited by Mont Blanc's staff toward its faithful clientele. A garrulous, courtly man was celebrating his 90th birthday the next table over. Not only did the waiter not flinch when the old man's friends produced a store-bought cake to sing "Happy Birthday" over, he brought plates and offered to keep the cake in the fridge for the party while they went to the theatre. Maria, when she's there, pays a call on most tables.
Mont Blanc calls its cuisine "European," though regulars know the focus is Swiss specialties. People come here for the various fondues and for the Raclette, which are served for two and, at $45, are the most expensive items on the menu. Otherwise, the prices are quite reasonable, and the bountiful dinner prix fixe is a steal. My $29 got me a large plate of pickled vegetables, herring and sour cream; a salad; a wine-sweet plate of Veal Dumpling a la Viennese and mushrooms; one of the best apple strudels (hot, with ice cream and fresh whipped cream on the side) I've ever had; and coffee. But the best part of any meal here is the traditionally Swiss way they do potatoes. A golden, hot, Rösti the size of a frisbee (it's like a giant hash brown) is cut into quarters tableside, a wedge given to each diner.\
Many regulars—most on the middle-aged and elderly side—followed Mont Blanc when it crossed 48th Street. Some said they hadn't been back in years, but it was clear none of the diners had ever forgotten the place. The restaurant has also always been popular with theatre people, who prize it for its quiet decorum and homey feeling. An actress currently starring in the Broadway play "Good People" sat next to me, promptly leaving her bottle of wine at 7 PM to head to the theatre. And a couple of slim young gay men in the corner sipped at beaker-size martinis and gossiped about Bernadette Peters and the new season, about which they "couldn't find anything to get excited about."
—Brooks of Sheffield

14 March 2011


This is in Bay Ridge. I've heard the nabe called a lot of things. But Ridgeboro? That's a new one on me.

11 March 2011

Midwood's Classic Paskesz Kosher Candies Store Has Closed

Paskesz Kosher Candies, an old school confectionary on Midwood's 13th Avenue shopping strip, has closed, a reader writes in. The sign has come down and new restaurant is in the works.

Paskesz is a kosher candy line that is widely sold. The Hungary-born company is a century old, but its products weren't available in the U.S. until the 1950s. According to the Paskesz website, the family began with a store in East New York, soon moved to Crown Heights and then eventually to Borough Park. These was the business' retail store, and it actually closed last fall, a spokesperson told me.

Bay Stationers

I've seen many examples of this sort of bulbous, boxy, yellow sign over the years. Illuminated from within, the most common varieties advertise groceries or pizzerias through the use of symbols such as a grocery cart or slice. (My vague guess is these sort of signs became popular in the 1940s and '50s.)

But this is the first I've seen that proclaimed the presence of a stationer. The silhouette of an inkwell and quill pen is quite specific and lovely, I think. And it took me a while to figure out that the top figure was a rubber stamp.

This is a ghost sign, by the way. Bay Stationers is no longer on Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay. The address is now a ballroom dancing joint. I'm told the company still exists, but doesn't have a storefront and sells directly to offices.

10 March 2011

Lost City: Pittsburgh Edition: Mancini's Finer Italian Bread

Mancini's Bakery isn't exactly in Pittsburgh, but in a small, nearby town of McKees Rocks, where it's stood on a side street of the faded mill town since 1926. It's still in the family, second generation.

The shop is connected to a bakery that pumps out 10,000 loaves a day and is open 24-7, but is nonetheless a relative hole in the wall. All the bread is made with lard, something you don't see much anymore. Twist bread and raisin bread are specialities. And they've got a line of side products, like olive oil and croutons.

09 March 2011

Standings' Pose

Standings, the sports bar on E. 7th Street, kinda pisses me off. Only a few years old, they moved in, but left the "Est. 1886" sign that was above the door when they arrived. They even put up letters for "Standings" that rather matched the font of the "Est. 1886." False advertising, I say, designed to snare rubes.

Brewsky's used to be here. I doubt they were founded in 1886 either, but the sign was there then, too. So what bar was founded at this address in 1886? I don't know. But it wasn't Standings.

Manganaro, Irascible to the Last

What the hell? Of all the old businesses in New York City, Manganaro's Grosseria Italiana and its bete noire brother restaurant, Manganaro's Hero Boy, make it the hardest to be a pure-hearted preservationist. You want to support them. You want to carry the torch. But the ornery owners are so damn difficult and contrary that half the time you want to shove that torch in their face.

Recently, an article in the Wall Street Journal reported that the Manganaro clan that runs the Grosseria Italiana (and has warred for decades with the half of the family that operate Hero Boy a couple doors down) was going to sell the building and close the business. At the time, I was amazed that the Journal actually managed to get the owners to sit down and be civil enough to willingly take part in an interview. They are, after all, widely know for abusing their customers.

But now they're back on form. Seline Dell'Orto, proprietor of Manganaro's Grosseria Italiana, told the New York Observer that they were furious with the Journal. "We're not closing!" Ms. Dell'Orto barked. "No one said that to that idiot reporter!" Nice.

A spokesperson from the Wall Street Journal responded: "While not the best [headline] we've ever written, it's meant to convey the process of closing rather than the moment of closure."

Another revelation: shrewish Seline has feelings! "I alienated a lot of people," she said. "I've said mean things. I'm not an angel, but I'm better than that. That's why I'm crying. I can't tell you how many nights I didn't sleep over something I said to someone."

Stay tuned until next week, when Seline expresses her indignation with the Observer article.

When Did You Last Have Your Lamp Repaired? Rewired? Refinished?

Let's talk about lamp repair?

Do you have a solid lamp repair outfit in your neighborhood? Do you know where to turn for a lamp rewiring job? For a new lamp shade? What do you do when you need an old, treasured lamp shade recovered?

Have no answer? Perhaps you should move to Sheepshead Bay, where Salmar Lamp Co. can answer all your lighting and lighting fixture needs. They can restore your lamp antiques. They can replace the glassware and crystal on your best lighting fixtures.

I have found out almost nothing about Salmar, the odd, dusty shop on Avenue U with the chicken wire over the window, the doleful lighting inside and the old man who leans out the doorway to see if there might be any business coming down the street.

It surely must be old. The hand-painted sign has faded down to almost nothingness.

Lost City: Pittsburgh Edition: Dee's Cafe

Carson Street, in Pittsburgh, is thought by some to amount to the longest, continuous strip of bars in the nation. I think there might be something to this. I walked down a dozen of the thoroughfare's segments, and there were three or four taverns on each block. Some, like Dee's Cafe, were saloons of obvious age.

08 March 2011

Leske's, Where Bay Ridge's Scandinavian Flame Burns Dimly

Leske's Bakery, on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, is one of the last remnants of the neighborhood's once thriving Scandinavian population. You may notice that the sign and awning bear the colors of the Swedish flag. Which is actually a bit weird, since Leske's was founded as a Danish bakery.

A Good Sign: Kruchko's Shoe Shop

In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

07 March 2011

Monte's Will Stay Monte's, Except That It Won't

Monte's Venetian Room—the century-old Brooklyn restaurant that closed in 2008 and, it was recently revealed, will reopen as a different Italian restaurant—will keep the name Monte's. Previously it was thought it would be called Dominick's on Carroll. This, I guess, is decent news. Sort of.

But that's about it. It will be a different place, with a different owner, and different food. Dominick Castlevestri, the new owner, has managed to save and restore the bar. But the rest, including the murals and banquettes, were ripped out. They were "rotted," he said.

The building's owner, Frank Perone, by the way, gave an unexciting reason why Monte's closed. "Business was slow."

Jeffrey's Meats, in Essex Street Market, Closes

Seems like just yesterday we were reading a lovely story about how Jeffrey Ruhalter, a fourth generation butcher in the Essex Street Market, and one of the last indy butchers in the area, had found a way to stay open. Now we're reading that Jeffrey's Meats has been forced to close, owning to a 29% rent hike by his bastard landlord, in this case the Economic Development Corp.

Isn't there a single landlord in the City who thinks beyond his or her bank account, beyond the next paycheck, ever thinks about the greater good? What does the EDC think it's going to put in that space? A mini Rite Aid?


This is the fourth post of "The Union Street Project," in which I unearth the history of every building along the once bustling Brooklyn commercial strips of Union Street between Hicks and Van Brunt, and Columbia Street between Sackett and Carroll.

The first three entries of the series, I tackled three successive edifices on the north side of Union Street, each right next to the other. I'm now temporarily skipping over the south side, mainly because the next few addresses on the north side—137, 139, 141 and 143—are proving to be stubborn characters, revealing little if any of their history.

About 124 Union, meanwhile, I learned plenty. The fairly unremarkable, three-story, red brick building is home today of a Stop One deli, known to everyone in the neighborhood as Mrs. Lee's. Mrs. Lee is the chatty, friendly, charitable woman who runs the store with her husband, Mr. Lee. Mrs. Lee is a big presence on the block, and well appreciated. If you're a little short of cash, she'll wave a dime or two, or just round down the amount. And if you need to pay tomorrow, that's OK, too.

Before Mr. and Mrs. Lee arrived, this was Joseph Pizzimenti's fruit and vegetable store.

On Jan. 2, 1959, the building was at the center of a bizarre kidnapping scheme in which a "stout blonde widow," Jean Iavarone, took a newborn from St. Peter's hospital. She committed this rash act in order to trap Pizzimenti, with whom she had been living, into marrying her. Iavarone had had bad luck with men. Her first husband divorced her, and her second had died. She had four children by each marriage, and was forced to give up the children to orphanages and foster homes. She couldn't get them back until she was settled. Her crazy scheme was to drag Pizzimenti to the altar by insisted the stolen baby was in fact him.

04 March 2011

Old Ad Disappearing Right Now

A distraught reader wrote in to say, "This is happening right now on west 29th street. These guys are sand blasting the old advertising on the side of the building, erasing history in the process."

No doubt to make room for a newer, prettier ad.

Lost City Asks "Who Goes to Hinsch's?"

This is my first Bay Ridge "Who Goes There?" column and it's long overdue. I thank photographer Daniel Krieger, who took the above shot, for suggesting the place.
Who Goes There? Hinsch's
The neon signage outside Hinsch's in Bay Ridge is a bit on the grandiose side, given what lies inside. This is, after all, a simple luncheonette, with a side line in homemade candy and ice cream. But 62 years in business ought to buy you something in terms of respect. So the frontage is arguably warranted.

Lost City: Pittsburgh Edition: Primanti Bros.

Primanti Bros., a singular sandwich joint, is a now a local Pittsburgh chain. But the original still stands on 18th Street in the Strip District, an industrial neighborhood where businesses once went to buy their produce and other goods.

It was founded in 1933 by Joe Primanti and his several brothers. There clientele were the truckers that serviced the Strip District. In the early days, the interior was a bar only; sandwiches were served outside on the sidewalk. The patrons were very busy and had little time for lunch. The story goes that one day a trucker, in a hurry, suggested that the Primantis speed things up by just dumping his french fries and cole slaw on top of the sandwich he ordered. Thus was born Primanti Bros.' signature item, an, over-the-top, all-in-one sandwich.

03 March 2011

A Good Sign: Bay Ridge Bakery

The vertical sign says "American. European." at the bottom. The bakery has been on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge since 1972. The sign looks older though, doesn't it? It's owned by the Nikolopoulos family.