by Kevin Walsh

Sorry, folks, this building is one of the symbols of Woodhaven, and I’m going to keep saying it’s in Woodhaven. On one of the historic Woodhaven pages in Facebook, some of the good neighborhood burghers took an earlier FNY page to task because they consider everything south of Atlantic Avenue is in Ozone Park. Me, I think that line is a bit north for my taste, but whatevs. This building,on the south side of Atlantic Avenue, is in Woodhaven, no matter what they think.

This is the clock tower of the offices of the old Lalance & Grosjean (pronounced Gro-zhan) manufacturing facility. Just as piano manufacturer William Steinway built a small community to house his factory workers in northern Astoria, so did Lalance & Grosjean, the nationally renowned manufacturer that was among the first to make porcelain enamelware, a cheaper, lighter alternative to heavy cast-iron cookware under their brand name, “Agate Ware.” L&G set up business in 1863, and by 1876 had built a large kitchenware factory on Atlantic Avenue between today’s 89th to 92nd Streets, and workers’ housing on 95th and 97th Avenues between 85th and 86th Streets that remains there today.

The firm gradually expanded into a variety of products, including housewares, champagne, tinware, sheet metal and hardware. In addition to cookware L&G was one of the biggest names in tin stamping and license plate manufacturing. After sales declined in the 1950s, however, L&G went out of business.

In the 1980s, most of the Lalance & Grosjean red-brick factory buildings were razed in favor of a large Pathmark supermarket. In a similar situation to the Tower Square trolley barn at Northern Boulevard and Woodside Avenue, the clock tower, at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 92nd Street, has somehow made it through the years, and is one of Queens’ best representatives of the form.

Several miles west on Atlantic Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, two cul-de-sacs, Alice and Agate Courts, were part of a real estate development by Florian Grosjean; he named them after his daughter, Alice Marie, and the “agate ware” on which he made his fortune.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Andy May 6, 2021 - 7:12 am

Great post. I’ve passed by this location many times and always wondered about that clock tower. The Pathmark is now a Stop and Shop, since Pathmark went out of business in 2015.

I have also passed Alice and Agate Courts many times on the LIRR heading westbound to Atlantic Terminal. Thanks for uncovering the mystery of those two names. Both “courts” are home to beautiful old townhouses that stand out.

Billy Florio May 6, 2021 - 11:58 am

its totally Woodhaven

chris brady May 6, 2021 - 3:23 pm

They also manufactured Champagne?

Andy Koeppel May 7, 2021 - 1:05 am

I would assume they had a rail siding until the rail lne was placed below ground in about 1940. Did that contribute to the
closing of the business in the 1950’s?

P-j Greiner May 8, 2021 - 11:11 am

After Shoprite was built, there was still a line of red brick buildings along Atlantic Avenue. I remember buying Christmas ornaments and lights in one of those buildings about 1991. Perhaps some kind of warehouse outlet?

Rich T May 8, 2021 - 12:44 pm

woodhaven all the way. I lived down the block from there for 50 years, played sponge ball on 92 st between the 2 buildings. Great picture!!

Anonymous May 9, 2021 - 4:41 pm

Absolutely Woodhaven.

Arthur Gandolfi May 12, 2021 - 7:31 pm

When I was a little boy we lived on 95th Avenue and 88th St. My great aunts worked at a garment company in the factory complex. At lunch my grandmother used to walk me over to have a hot dog from the cart with
them. Boy do I miss them all.

We viewed it as Ozone Park.

Heiko May 17, 2021 - 11:53 am

Fascination. The clock tower seems to resemble a simplified copy of the Berlin Town Hall (“Rotes Rathaus”).


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