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photo: Flatbush Gardener

The word came this week over at Jeremiah’s that the grand old M. Gordon Novelty facade, on 929-933 Broadway just south of East 22nd, had now been covered up in plywood; either its façade is being dramatically altered, or the whole shebang is going down. A drastic alteration was to be expected; pictures from the summer showed that the locale had been purchased by Thor Equities, the folks who are merrily dismantling Astroland as I write [2008]. Though M. Gordon, a magic supplies/costumer/toy distributor, had moved out in 2002, its ancient window signage hadn’t changed since 1935, when it moved in; only the tiled lettering was “new” and from the looks of things, that had been installed in the swingin’ Sixties, when the world turned color.

According to the Indispensable Walter Grutchfield, Jacob Gordon, a Russian immigrant, founded Gordon Novelty about 1928 and it had existed at two other addresses before settling here on Broadway just south of Madison Square in 1934, and I’d have to think those window signs go back almost that far. Jacob’s grandson, Mark Gordon, changed the name to M. Gordon. Supposedly, the place has moved, since 2002, to 52 West 29th Street, but I haven’t actually checked that out. photo: Frank Lynch from the M Gordon Flickr page.

That is one scary clown.Killer Klown, perhaps. photo: W. Grutchfield, from 1988

It used to be a rule that stage magicians had pencil mustaches. Mandrake had one. Zatara had one. Oddly, when Vincent Price was the Mad Magicianhe didn’t have his trademark pencil mustache. photo: W. Grutchfield, from 1988

The Halloween items, St. Patrick’s day items, New Year’s supplies, canes, masks, grab bags, party hats, lanterns, wigs, beards, balloons, 5¢ and 10¢ items, tricks, puzzles, joke items, novelty hats, noise makers, decorations, carnival items, novelty toys, dice-games, and bingo supplies have been removed from Manhattan as the Starbucks, Rite Aids, and Beds, Baths and Beyonds have rushed to fill the spaces.

Page completed December 4, 2008.

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