by Kevin Walsh

Though some of my gigs haven’t ended the way I would’ve liked, I’m pretty proud of where I’ve been over the years. My longest term was two stints totaling 12 years at Publishers Clearing House, the direct mail business that runs the sweepstakes. I have also put in 4 years at the World’s Biggest Store, Macy’s; the city’s largest typographic business, Photo-Lettering, when type houses were a thing; Tiffany & Co.; and Pearson, one of the country’s biggest publishers of schoolbooks. I consider myself a good copy editor and proofreader, and my writing ability is evident from writing this website for 20 years as well as publishing two books, Forgotten New York (HarperCollins, 2006) and also, with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Forgotten Queens (Arcadia, 2013). I am available if needed for such work: contact me at

This huge building stretching along 37-18 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City is home to Standard Motor Products. SMP was founded in 1919 by Elias Fife and Ralph Van Allen, producing electric parts for the auto industry, then poised to become a major player in the 20th Century. The firm moved to Queens as early as 1921 and bought its present-day behemoth in 1936. SMP has sold the building since, but remains a tenant. 

I filled in here for just two weeks after my first layoff from Publishers Clearing House in November 1999, but I’m happy to have been involved with such a longstanding institution. Many of the interiors had seemingly been left unchanged in decades, and I especially liked the bathrooms. Why? I could look out the windows onto the Sunnyside RR yards, which are just behind the building. The city and real estate developers consider the yards a waste of real estate, and are looking to deck them over and build condo towers on them. 

For the last decade, 37-18 Northern Boulevard has had an added function: commercial farming at the Brooklyn Grange.

Please help contribute to a new Forgotten NY website

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


1 comment

Ray Palermo December 12, 2018 - 6:05 am

They bought the building in 1936, but who built it and for what purpose? Thanks.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.