WEMPLE WINDOW SHADES, Greenwood Heights

by Kevin Walsh

I was wandering around in that nebulous area of Brooklyn between the waterfront and Green-Wood Cemetery, between about 24th and 36th Streets. This area had never been identified as part of Park Slope to the north or Sunset Park to the south, but in recent decades real estate people have been calling it Greenwood Heights, so that’s what I’ll go with. I had just left the Cemetery — I plan on visiting once per month for awhile. I feel at peace in the place. I have given six Forgotten NY tours there, and we’ll visit again once the Covid crisis lets up.

At 4th Avenue and 32nd Street I found a lengthy unadorned brick building, #132 32nd, that has some faded printing on the 4th Avenue side that is matched on the other side of the building further down 32nd Street. I make out “Jay C. Wemple, Window Shades” and the no linger used word “warerooms.” There is also a palimpsest, or overprint, of other printed words on top, as well. Frank Jump at Faded Ads has a newspaper clipping for the Wemple shades.

If you look at the 1940 photo of the building in the Municipal Archives, you see the words “Grand Corrugated Paper Co.” at the roofline, with no trace of the Wemple window shades ads. Here’s what I think happened:

— The Wemple ads appeared first. Later, the entire brickface was painted over and the Grand Corrugated ad was painted at the roofline.

— Later, the more recent paint, which was of lesser quality, faded away or flaked off — revealing the Wemple ads once again.

As usual, the Indispensable Walter Grutchfield comes through in the clutch like Mike Piazza, and has the dates 1892-1917 when the Wemple firm was in the building.

As website readers and people on the tours know, I’m a fan of these unadorned brick factory or warehouse buildings. I live in one such the looks similar in a garden apartment complex in Little Neck.

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

9/28/20

3 comments

Jerry Friedman September 28, 2020 - 9:37 pm

I love that Wemple Window Shades sounds like something out of a Ben Katchor story…..

Reply
Mike October 1, 2020 - 8:50 pm

Levy Pants. “He does?”–Confederacy of Dunces

Reply
Andy Koeppel September 28, 2020 - 9:51 pm

This is another example of why your research is greatly appreciated.

Reply

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