by Kevin Walsh

So there I was in February 2021, wandering down Boerum Street in Williamsburg. How did I wind up there? Sometimes I just pore over online maps when I feel like rambling and pick something out that might bear some fruit, especially on sunny days. This February happened to be a cold and snowy one and at my age, gusts of cold air make my eyes water, so I have to dab them every so often. Drives me nuts. Anyway, I spied this red-colored older building at the NE corner of Boerum and Graham Avenue, which appeared to have some potential. Why?

I spied some painted words on the Boerum Street side, Graham Gas Range Co. I promptly forgot about it until I went through my shots (I have about 70,000 since beginning Forgotten NY in 1998). I decided on a bit of sleuthing as the Municipal Archives could show me what the place looked like in 1940.

Sure enough, there it is, the Graham Gas Range Company storefront. Next door is a pharmacy with a shingle sidewalk sign. Today, a nail cosmetics place and a “deli & tobacco” place have replaced these two businesses. The Graham Gas Range lettering is on the awning, and the bigger sign is a “privilege sign” paid for by the advertiser, Norge, which was a familiar brand name in my youth, a maker of various appliances especially freezers and refrigerators. No appliances have been sold under the Norge name since 1979, as it has been sold and resold over the years and is now part of the Whirlpool brand.

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John November 4, 2021 - 6:09 am

What is the name of the street sign with the cross street in “the hump”? That’s delightfully Olde Worlde!

Joe+Fliel November 4, 2021 - 7:34 pm

The sign reads “GRAHAM AVE” facing the street. The hump indicates the cross street, “BOERUM ST”.

Peter November 4, 2021 - 4:15 pm

It looks like the store moved some of the appliances out onto the sidewalk to attract peoples’ attention. It must have been quite a chore to move the appliances out in the morning and then back inside when the store closed, so apparently this type of display worked.

Joe+Fliel November 4, 2021 - 7:39 pm

Displaying wares outside a storefront was a common practice until the late 1960s to mid 1970s. Items like furniture and appliances which were to be displayed outside
were normally located in the front of the store, which made it easier to move them.

Alan November 5, 2021 - 10:03 am

Interesting to note that the cornice on the corner building is no longer there.

Joe+Fliel November 6, 2021 - 1:10 am

It’s more common than you would think. Lots of buildings which have been renovated had their cornices removed by the owners.


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