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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