PACKARD BUILDING, Astoria

One day after giving a Forgotten NY tour in Sunnyside and Astoria in which I pointed out the former Packard showroom/dealership on Northern Boulevard and 46th Street, some stuff fell off a shelf at home. Silently cursing because I had to bend over, I picked some papers and other effect off the floor and there it was: a photo of that very same dealership from February 1929, when the place was relatively new.

Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899 and the last in 1958. Packard was founded by James Ward Packard (Lehigh University Class of 1884), his brother William Doud Packard and their partner, George Lewis Weiss, in the city of Warren, Ohio.

As the 1929 photo indicates, there used to be plate glass windows where the glass bricks are now, with autos displayed behind them. The second floor sold used cars. Even now, much of the stretch of Northern Boulevard north of Sunnyside Yards is given over to auto dealers and repair shops, including MajorWorld with its ubiquitous radio commercials. I briefly worked at Standard Motor Parts’ graphics department in the fall of 1999.

 

The building looks much the same in 2018 except that glass bricks have replaced the wide glass panes of 1929, along with the additions of billboards and cell phone towers. Another intact Packard showroom can be found on Broadway opposite Fort Tryon Park in Inwood. I found an intact sign for a repair show serving Packards in New Brighton, Staten Island. 

And, an intact Pierce-Arrow factory/showroom can be found further west on Northern Boulevard and 38th Street. 

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10/15/18


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9 Responses to PACKARD BUILDING, Astoria

  1. ny2az says:

    How ironic: Packard expired (as a brand) in 1958. Packard partner Studebaker became extinct in 1966. And now, the current tenant at that address is Mattress Firm, which has recently filed for bankruptcy. Who will be the next tenant & how long will the enterprise survive?

    • Edward says:

      It is amazing that companies that were such a big part of US industry are gone (Sears just announced bankruptcy yesterday). Auto nameplates that were common just 25 years ago (AMC, Plymouth, Imperial, Eagle, Saturn, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury) are now gone forever. Companies we all shopped at or purchased our cars from are now gone. Guess that’s the way of the world.

      • EdwardFindlay says:

        The funny thing about that? It’s constant in the auto industry since the start. Since the beginning companies start, get hot, grow, merge, get retired…

    • Peter says:

      Mattress Firm is trying to stay in business by reorganizing and closing some of its too-many stores. Its woes are due to overly rapid expansion, financial issues at its South African parent company, a dispute with its biggest supplier, and – believe it or not – online competition. A product that no one would ever have thought could be sold online, now is.

  2. Andy Subbiondo says:

    Wow, I remember the building from when I lived on 46th St as a kid. I din’t know it was a Packard store but Ill bet my Mom, an Astoria native did know. That stretch of Northern Blvd. was “Gasoline
    Alley”. My family owned some lots in that area.

  3. Jack Schwartz says:

    There was also a Packard store on E. Fordham Road, Bronx. I remember going there with my father when the new post WW2 cars were displayed. It also had large plate glass windows.

  4. S. Saltzman says:

    The Packard Building at 4660 Broadway in Manhattan was a New York City Human Resources
    Administration welfare center from probably the late 1960’s until 2006. I believe the landlord was going to put up a high rise residential building.

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