FORD NORTHERN, Queens Plaza

by Kevin Walsh

Here is that magnificent old Ford ad I was talking about on the south side of Northern Boulevard east of 31st Street. You can see it out the window of a northbound N or Q. This photo is from the flickr page of rabbit571.

ForgottenFan Joseph Colella: The building is the original Universal Ford dealer. The business stated in 1915 and stayed in that building until 1969 when it moved to a brand new building which is now a Lexus dealer on Northern Blvd. between the Hess gas station and what was pathmark. Universal Ford is no more.

So, I think we’re looking at an original ad from 1915 here, with the original Ford script logo which is much the same today, though it has been beveled off some, and standardized for print. It’s an amazing find, and you never know what’s lurking behind a building until it comes down!

4/21/13

13 comments

Gary April 21, 2013 - 2:22 pm

Was a building recently demolished next door to reveal this gem?

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Kevin Walsh April 21, 2013 - 5:07 pm

I believe so

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Gary April 21, 2013 - 2:42 pm

Another Ford sign can be seen on FNY under “Preservation By Default” I haven’t been by there in a while, so I don’t know the sign’s condition or if it’s even still there.

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Gary April 21, 2013 - 2:44 pm

Oh, I forgot. The sign was/is at Convent Avenue around 130th Street, near City College.

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John April 21, 2013 - 4:48 pm

I am a Ford enthusiast and I find this advertisement to be quite AWESOME !!!!!! Not only do I own Ford products, I’ve been studying the history of Ford for years now and have read “Ford: The Men And The Machine” by Robert Lacey many times over. I have two original copies of this book, plus a DVD of the 1980’s NBC TV movie based on this book.

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Sandy Saltzman April 21, 2013 - 6:48 pm

I started working as a civil service electrician’s helper with the NYC Dept. of Social Services in Feb. of 1974. The building at 33-00 Northern Blvd. was and still is largely occupied by that agency. The back part of this building(along the railroad tracks) has a ceiling over 75feet high. We had a job to install outlets on one wall and the easiest way was to go to the area above the ceiling. The superintendent let us in to a long disused area that had an intact overhead conveyor system that was obviously ancient . The super told us that it was part of a Ford assembly line. I always wondered if this was true.

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Jamie April 22, 2013 - 7:33 am

True, Ford shipped knock down cars to local assembly plants for build/sale. Same existed in Atlanta and i believe Nashville or Memphis,TN.

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Walt Gosden April 22, 2013 - 8:03 am

Ford was known as the “Universal car” in its early advertising when production of the model T started in 1909, so one may assume that the Queens dealership thought it was good PR for them to adapt the name to their business. Ford never built /assembled cars in New York in this time era.
Quite a few other makes of cars were built or assembled in Manhattan prior to 1915.

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Dave Oshry October 11, 2013 - 12:30 am

My family founded Universal Ford in 1915 and I worked in the second location as a teenager. It’s amazing to see a part of my family history from the original location! Thank you for posting this!

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Anonymous December 8, 2018 - 5:51 pm

TI worked for mr oshry for many years approx ten years plui always had the utmost respect for Michael oshry it was always looked Apon as the dealer. When asked who and where I worked I was always very proud to say universal Ford I was the assistant service manger there and took great pride in knowing mr Michael oshry even thaw he insisted to being addressed as mike You always had the knowledge that you worked for the very best when mike and I would many times hang out at a local pub called stablemates pub and was proud to do so with him you always felt secure with him at the helm. As he would always take the the time to properly analyze any issue you always felt safe with this awesome great person

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Ann Ryan January 15, 2014 - 11:33 pm

My Grandfather John Flynn was also one of the Founders of Universal Ford.
It was founded by 4 workers from the Ford Assembly Plant in Long Island in 1915.
Jules Reinhardt was one of the other founders, I don’t know the names of the other two.
There first premises was on Jackson Avenue. I have a photo of their original showroom.
John Flynn ran the service end of Universal Ford

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Ann Ryan January 15, 2014 - 11:41 pm

Further to my previous post, I have an article from the Daily News Business dated 15 th Oct 1990 in which Michael Oshry states that his father Harold Oshry purchased the dealership from the last remaining of the original 4 founders, Jules Reinhardt in 1952.

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The Ford Building in LIC's "Carridor" | Brownstoner Queens July 24, 2014 - 10:01 am

[…] to this enormous example of early 20th century industrial architecture as “Ford” are Kevin Walsh and myself (and possibly Montrose). Modernity knows it simply as “The Center Building” […]

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