relax

Author Topic: Vanished Astoria  (Read 101793 times)

Offline neo11

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 781
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2007, 04:30:49 PM »
The 31st Street/Newtown Avenue intersection has changed a lot.   

The the southwest corner has been and remains Finkelstein's a Goodyear tire place.   

The northwest corner is now the Zodiac lounge/restaurant/cafe. I'm not 100% sure about this but that building I think was part of Finkelstein's tire dealer and looked underused/unused until the building was renovated and the Zodiac opened in the 1990s.    There are actually apartments about the Zodiac that are supposed to be quite nice, at least that is what the "New York Times" said when they wrote about them when the building was remodeled and the Zodiac opened.

The northeast corner now features a candy shop, not yet open, that replaces an Internet cafe that seemed to open and close in about a New York minute.   When I walked by a week or two ago the Internet cafe had closed and the food was still in there mouldering.   The place had been a print shop that had been there since I moved to Astoria in '87.    There is another little convenience store on the block called "The Himalaya" and that just closed and I think they are moving operations to the corner where the print shop/short-lived internet cafe was.

The southeast corner is currently under renovation and, according to this board anyway, a bank is moving in.   When I first moved here the place was a Volvo dealer or a Saab dealer or a repair place for a European auto manufacturer.   I can no longer remember if it was even open when I moved here or opened and then closed.   In any event, a cafe opened (I forget the name) -- roughly at the same time as the Zodiac opened -- and I thought it did well, at least in the warm weather months when the tables were moved to the sidewalk.    At one point the cafe closed and renovated and reopened but the renovation didn't work and the place went under.   

There are a number of residential developments are Newtown between 31st and 21st.   There are at least six under various stages of construction or completed that I can think of off the top of my head.

There is an Italian restaurant on Newtown, two blocks east of 31st on the north side of the street that I don't think was open when I moved here.   Right next door was a steak house that I assume was owned and run by the folks who run the Italian place.   That has closed fairly recently and the Italian place took over the space.    I've never been to the Italian place and never went to the steak house.  I would like to go to the Italian place, though.     


Before Zodiac came in 1997 or so, the building was actually closed for many years, but I believe it used to be a parking garage.  It was not used for anything though as far as I can remember in the late 80s and up to the mid 90s.  Across from Zodiac, the cafe that was there was called Byzantio.  That's gone and a bank is going to come in. 

The Italian restaurant that you are talking about is named Momento, and I believe the same owners have it which previously had Amici Amore and the Butcher Bros. Steakhouse, which were at the same location.

Long before that, the place was a Greek lounge which offered low-key live music and appetizers.  It used to be named "Akroama" but then changed its name to something else which I can't remember now.

BigBryan

  • Guest
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2007, 09:54:54 PM »
The Zodiac building was a large auto repair type place and later expanded into RV sales. The owner Mr. Manginello was shot dead in front of his house near Bryaant HS.It was quite a shock. I recall the police said it was some woman who shot him, loke it was acrime of passion. Others said it was a mafia hit. I don't think the killer was caught. The business tried to make a go of it with his son running it I believe, but it sunk. The building was empty for a while till Zodiac.

Offline DogBert

  • Activist
  • ****
  • Posts: 177
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2007, 09:58:35 PM »
I believe the building still has little terra cotta tires with wings on them on the side.

Offline Chris

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 617
  • Gender: Male
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2007, 08:52:28 AM »
One quickie:  On the east side of 35th Street, between 31st and 30 Avenues (but close to the corner of 31st), is a Baptist Church or some sort of evangelical church.   When I moved to Astoria is was a synagogue.   One day I walked by and it was a church.

Another intersection that is changing is what someone told me was the "old center of Astoria"  the intersection at 21st Street where Newtown Avenue and Astoria Blvd. converge.

The southeast corner hasn't changed as far as I can recall.   There is some sort of no-name fast food joint on the corner, but that side of the block is interesting.   If you walk east on Newtown there is one new apartment building that has gone up and that is occupied and what was a car repair shop on the corner of Newtown and whatever the street is that runs parallel to 21st (one block east).  The business closed and no doubt the building will be knocked down to make way for an apartment building.   One other interesting tidbit of information about that block -- or that side of the block -- is that the other auto repair shop on the block -- located mid-block -- years and years ago (long before I moved here) was a movie theatre believe it or not.   You can still see the projection booth above the entrance.

The southwest corner of the block has changed.   When I moved in and for years after there was a general store or convenience store called Fishbein's, which closed.   I never went in there so I am not 100% certain what kind of store it was.   Next to Fishbein's was a liquor store or "bottle shop" as New Yorkers call them.   I think the bottle shop relocated further south on 21st Street, just above 30th Avenue, into a building that was a tire repair shop.   The tire repair shops on 21st Street are rapidly disappearing.  I am not sure what the business is that replaced Fishbein's/the bottle shop, but it might be a medical facility.

The northwest corner of the block is a now closed gas station.   I assume they will throw up another apartment building.   There is an apartment building currently being constructed next door to the closed gas station.  A single-family wood-frame house was there.

On the northeast corner of the block was until very recently a gardening shop.   That closed and has been replaced by a convenience store.   There used to be a butcher shop and a Korean deli/green grocer, among other businesses, on that block fronting Astoria Blvd.   When the gardening shop closed I thought they were going to take the building down, but I guess not.   Right next door on 21st is a relatively new senior citizens housing complex.   That was a parking lot/used car dealer when I first moved here.   

On the west side of 21st, between Astoria Blvd./Newtown, is a real interesting looking building.    The property is shaped like a pie wedge with the skinny end facing east.   That affected the design of the building so it is kind of interesting looking.    There is a Chinese take out place and a convenience store on the first floor.  I assume apartments are located in the apartments above.   On the western end of that block is a new apartment dwelling.   I thought it was an odd place for an apartment building because that area isn't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing part of Astoria.   But there is much development in that part of Astoria.

And on the east side of 21st, between Astoria Blvd/Newtown, is another odd piece of property that houses a used furniture store on the western end and what was a parking lot on the eastern end of the block right across from the Catholic School/Church complex.    There is another apartment building going up on that site as I write.

Offline Chris

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 617
  • Gender: Male
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2007, 09:26:34 AM »
One other vestige of the old days, from the Cold War actually, is the "Fallout Shelter" signs you still see all over Astoria.    I chuckle when I see them.    I wonder if people even notice them.   They are yellow and usually attached to the larger apartment buildings.    They are just there and probably not even noticed.

I didn't grow up here, but was in grammar school, starting in the mid 1960s when we were in the height of the Cold War when the Commies ruled Russia.    The morons who ran the country had us -- this is unbelievable when I think about it now -- doing drills to prepare for a nuclear attack.    They had us hiding under our desks as if that would help if the Russkies lobbed a nuclear bomb on our heads.   Then they changed the policy and had us file out into the corridor and press our faces against the wall.   I always remember this, but the first time they opted to move us out of the class into the corridor one guy hid under his desk and wouldn't get up and come with the rest of us into the corridor.   We had this old woman as a teacher and she got all upset because they guy refused to get out from under this desk.

In any event, as part of that lunacy the government had set up fallout shelters all over the country, actually stocking them with food and water.   I don't know exactly when they came to their senses and ended the drills I had to suffer through -- probably late sixties -- but you still see the vestiges of that era throughout Astoria in the form of the air raid shelter signs.

Offline Chris

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 617
  • Gender: Male
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2007, 10:41:17 AM »
Another corner I know well is Steinway & Broadway.   The corner doesn't look all that different from when I moved to the neighborhood almost 20 years ago, but all four businesses on the corner have changed.

On the southwest corner is a Chase Bank.   It looks exactly as it did when I moved here, only it was a Chemical Bank back then.   Chemical Bank has since merged with Manufacturers Hanover and dropped the "Mannie Hannie" name as we used to call it and used the Chemical brand name.   Chemical then bought Chase Bank (though they kept the Chase name for the combined bank).  Since then Chase and J.P. Morgan have merged and Chase is now called Chase/Morgan, but I think they still use the Chase name.   My most distinctive memory of this corner is that back in the day -- late 80's/early 90's -- some homeless alcoholics used to sit on the Steinway Street side of the bank.   They were there for years and I recognized their faces, but they disappeared.

On the northwest corner of the block is now I believe a Commerce Bank branch or some bank if not Commerce.   For years it was a branch of the Wiz, an electronics chain that went belly up.    It was before my time but someone mentioned that before it was the Wiz there was a branch of the Stevens Electronics/Appliance chain.   That chain is also defunct.

On the northeast corner is a restaurant/cafe, but it is a different restaurant/cafe than the restaurant that was there when I moved here.   It has been renovated and upgraded, but hasn't changed all that much.   The north side of Broadway between Steinway & 40th has changed significantly.   There used to be a tiny record store there much like the one that still exists on 30th Avenue between Steinway and 40th, but it closed long ago.   There is also a new apartment building on the block.

The most interesting corner is the southeast corner that now houses a Duane Reade or an Eckerd or one of those types of stores.    When I moved here it was a Pathmark drug store, but that chain was sold and either DR or Eckard or one of those places that took it over.    That isn't why the corner is interesting.  The defunct Drake Business School was located in one of the upper floors of the corner building (or the building next door).   I never really noticed Drake until it appeared in the papers because it went out of business leaving its students "school-less."   I think the State Dept. of Education shut the school down because of financial chicanery.   And the school's president, owner or someone affiliated with the school was shot right outside of the school near the entrance to the subway station.   I don't think he died, but the incident did make the papers.   I'm not sure they ever caught the person who did it.

Offline neo11

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 781
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2007, 03:31:54 PM »
Another corner I know well is Steinway & Broadway.   The corner doesn't look all that different from when I moved to the neighborhood almost 20 years ago, but all four businesses on the corner have changed.

On the southwest corner is a Chase Bank.   It looks exactly as it did when I moved here, only it was a Chemical Bank back then.   Chemical Bank has since merged with Manufacturers Hanover and dropped the "Mannie Hannie" name as we used to call it and used the Chemical brand name.   Chemical then bought Chase Bank (though they kept the Chase name for the combined bank).  Since then Chase and J.P. Morgan have merged and Chase is now called Chase/Morgan, but I think they still use the Chase name.   My most distinctive memory of this corner is that back in the day -- late 80's/early 90's -- some homeless alcoholics used to sit on the Steinway Street side of the bank.   They were there for years and I recognized their faces, but they disappeared.

That corner has also had street vendors selling stuff from tables for as long as I can remember.  I used to love purchasing basketball trading cards from a vendor there in the early 90s, who I think is still there from time to time.

Quote
On the northwest corner of the block is now I believe a Commerce Bank branch or some bank if not Commerce.   For years it was a branch of the Wiz, an electronics chain that went belly up.    It was before my time but someone mentioned that before it was the Wiz there was a branch of the Stevens Electronics/Appliance chain.   That chain is also defunct.

Was it ever a Crazy Eddie's? I can't recall but I think someone told me once that it used to be there.

Quote
On the northeast corner is a restaurant/cafe, but it is a different restaurant/cafe than the restaurant that was there when I moved here.   It has been renovated and upgraded, but hasn't changed all that much.   The north side of Broadway between Steinway & 40th has changed significantly.   There used to be a tiny record store there much like the one that still exists on 30th Avenue between Steinway and 40th, but it closed long ago.   There is also a new apartment building on the block.

For years that used to be the Steinway Coffee Shop, one of the last true "greasy spoons."  I actually ate there a few times.  I think it was even pictured in "All in the Family."  It closed not that many years ago and I think different ownership turned it into what it is now, Lite Bites & Grill.  Next door to it was a little cigarette/convenience store which had a nice magazine collection, then a health foods store (probably one of the first in Astoria) and a furniture store, which are now all gone in place of that large new building.

Quote
The most interesting corner is the southeast corner that now houses a Duane Reade or an Eckerd or one of those types of stores.    When I moved here it was a Pathmark drug store, but that chain was sold and either DR or Eckard or one of those places that took it over.    That isn't why the corner is interesting.  The defunct Drake Business School was located in one of the upper floors of the corner building (or the building next door).   I never really noticed Drake until it appeared in the papers because it went out of business leaving its students "school-less."   I think the State Dept. of Education shut the school down because of financial chicanery.   And the school's president, owner or someone affiliated with the school was shot right outside of the school near the entrance to the subway station.   I don't think he died, but the incident did make the papers.   I'm not sure they ever caught the person who did it.

I remember the old Path Mark pharmacy.  I think it became a Rite Aid in the early 90s and has remained so ever since.  That side of the street has changed the least, as the only other establishment on the Broadway side is the Queens Library, where I spent much time during my childhood.

BigBryan

  • Guest
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2007, 03:48:51 PM »
The vendor with the sports cards and comics is my friend Glenn, I believe.
He is still there,  I think Sundays  and Mondays. Stop by and say hello,  pick something up. I used to sing with him on drums and his brother on guitar.

Offline DogBert

  • Activist
  • ****
  • Posts: 177
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2007, 10:08:52 PM »
TSS, where the dollar store is now, Bway btw. 36th and 37th.

Strand movie theater... strand bowling alley... bway btw. cresecent and 29th...

Dirt Mall where the Trade Fair is at Bway and Crescent...

I forget what Sac's was before it was Sacs... anyone care to jog my memory? I do recall going in there when it first opened. It was just a regular pizza place. Not fancy at all. Same good food though.

Oh and there was an exterminator across 29th st. from it. They had some funny name I can't recall... I think...



All of them fallout shelter signs... I have one from my parent's building here. There were survival rations in the basement. Drums of water and boxes of crackers. I think they cleared it out in the late 80s...

The movie theater on 35th av. was a parking lot for Kaufman studios. There was apparently an old army bunker under it (small, nothing too fancy) with a ping pong table (relative worked there and found it)

RR running on the el... Then the R... Then the B during rush hours... then the switch to the N and actual clean graffitiless trains that didn't break down every single day.

Hell Gate getting painted for the first time since it was built, mid 90s.

Peter Vallone Sr.

114th pct. at 30th av in what became the hanac building west of crescent.

Astoria General.

261 (well, they were closed just a few years ago).

Typin Steel (now CostCo).

L.I.C. H.S. & those new houses land as one huge empty lot with scattered abandoned cars and trash.

"Yonkers Construction" and that ridiculous project on 31st av where they dug a huge hole for miles in either direction (or so it seemed) taking up parking spots and attracting bugs and rats and trash.

Vigilante neighborhood people setting the yonkers construction trailer on fire july 4 night @ 31st av and 30th street. (it was like 3 or 4 AM...)

the old houses at 31st av and 30th street. then the empty lot, the demo of the house next door... (and now them new fancy ones put up there...)

The 'Slayer' abandoned house, 31st. av south of crescent...

I'll think of more later...

Offline DogBert

  • Activist
  • ****
  • Posts: 177
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2007, 10:37:39 PM »
When Fishbine's  @21st and 30th closed, the health dept. eventually found a few hundred pounds of dead fish in there (no joke). A girl in my class lived over it and I think was out sick for awhile due to the stench.

Years later her mom, very nice woman, was killed by some jilted ex lover or something on the E train in jamacia...

'and so it goes'...

Offline DogBert

  • Activist
  • ****
  • Posts: 177
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2007, 10:54:20 PM »
more...

'Berlin' goth night at that bar club space at 35th and steinway...

I mentioned july 4 before... there were so many spots to get fireworks. the 'crumb' house by broadway and 37th, the lady further down 37th by 34th av... crumb house was amazing. there was this family sitting in their kitchen playing cards and chainsmoking, with a huge assortment of explosives behind them.Eventyally nypd came and put an end to all these fireworks vendors... back then you just had to learn about it, word of mouth...

can't recall the name of the pizza place on bway and 30th offhand, but they used to be in a bummy location across the street. opposite corner going west at the gyro place, there was this crazy old toothless guy that'd make the gyros. Best damn gyros I ever had...

the apartment building at Bway and 30th having a 'rent strike' - with rent strike signs in all the windows. guess the landlord wasn't fixing things so the tenants banded together and refused to pay until he did. I can't imagine something like that happening today...

the gang hanging at the corner of bway and 31st, or the dunkin doughnuts, or that parking lot - during the crack years...

ah... if i don't stop I'll be here all night.

BigBryan

  • Guest
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2007, 11:38:47 PM »
When you mentioned the Strand it jogged some memories.
As a kidI saw Tv host Chuck McCann make an appearance there with his puppeteer. He did a whole show including his "Little Orphan Annie".

This reminded me of personal appearances I saw at The Loews Triboro - a truly grand movie palace which was made up like a Greek (or was it Egyptian?) ampitheater.The ceiling was made like a sky with twinking lights and aa smoke machine made clouds to create a sky show.

There I saw Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges (Although the 3rd Stooge then was "Curly Joe".


Offline nancy_in_dutch_kills

  • Activist
  • ****
  • Posts: 125
  • Gender: Female
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2007, 11:51:52 PM »
There still are some old stores on Broadway that have been there as long as I can remember. There's a bunch of them on the northern side of the block between 35th and 36th Streets across from Quinn's funeral home: Walter's Hardware, a fabric store, an Italian Deli, and a Polish Butcher who specializes in homemade smoked meats. For some reason, that block has so many businesses on it that have been around for at least 50 years. I can only assume the families that run these businesses long ago had the forethought to buy the buildings the stores are housed in.

Offline Chris

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 617
  • Gender: Male
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2007, 09:15:20 AM »
I mentioned july 4 before... there were so many spots to get fireworks. the 'crumb' house by broadway and 37th, the lady further down 37th by 34th av... crumb house was amazing. there was this family sitting in their kitchen playing cards and chainsmoking, with a huge assortment of explosives behind them.Eventyally nypd came and put an end to all these fireworks vendors... back then you just had to learn about it, word of mouth...


I think I know what who you are talking about.   There is this corpulent woman who is always sitting on her porch on the west side of 37th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues and they have a perpetual yard sale.   I think they have some dogs.   The place doesn't look too clean.    She's been there as long as I can remember and probably could be a candidate for "seen on the street."   That house is weird.

There still are some old stores on Broadway that have been there as long as I can remember. There's a bunch of them on the northern side of the block between 35th and 36th Streets across from Quinn's funeral home: Walter's Hardware, a fabric store, an Italian Deli, and a Polish Butcher who specializes in homemade smoked meats. For some reason, that block has so many businesses on it that have been around for at least 50 years. I can only assume the families that run these businesses long ago had the forethought to buy the buildings the stores are housed in.

Walter's Hardware is great, great, great.   No matter what you need they have it.   I heard  that Quinn's Funeral Home was an old Con Ed office building.  It has been Quinn's since I moved here, but someone told me this.

Meanwhile, another corner I'm familiar with is Broadway & 33rd Street.

Omonia has been there since I've been here on the southwest corner.    It has expanded/renovated a couple of times.   Way back, probably, late 1980s, the "Times" rated it the best dessert place in the city.   

Across Broadway on the northwest corner is a pizza parlor/restaurant that is actually pretty good.   I think has also renovated/expanded since I've been around.

There is a Dunkin' Donuts on the northeast corner.   I was something else -- a drugstore maybe -- when I moved around the corner in November '87, but by '89 it became a Dunkin' Donuts.   

On the southeast corner now is another cafe similar to Omonia.   When I moved in there was a Korean-run green grocer in the space.   Shortly after I moved in they moved across the street in the storefront right next to the Dunkin' Donuts.   Then another green grocer moved in that was run by Greeks and to compete with the workaholic Koreans they attempted to stay open round the clock as well.    As time went on they were closing earlier and earlier and finally gave up the ghost and went out of business.   I remember the mother of the guy who opened it was always in there and she was always dressed in black.   Then I think there was a cafe similar to the one (or maybe even the one there now) that opened.   I think it was different cafe, though, and it went out of business.  I think the new one then opened.

Offline firelight79

  • Running for Governor
  • *********
  • Posts: 1953
  • Gender: Female
    • Fan Firelight Jewelry & Designs on Facebook!
Re: Vanished Astoria
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2007, 10:33:36 AM »

I think I know what who you are talking about.   There is this corpulent woman who is always sitting on her porch on the west side of 37th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues and they have a perpetual yard sale.   I think they have some dogs.   The place doesn't look too clean.    She's been there as long as I can remember and probably could be a candidate for "seen on the street."   That house is weird.


its on 38th (i live on 37th) the house smells. And all she has is crap hanging off the fence. it's an eyesore, but she probably owns the house and ain't goin anywhere.


 

Visit our sister site Jackson Heights Life