HERE’S a classic linoleum or vinyl sidewalk sign at #251 Nassau Avenue at Kingsland Avenue in eastern Greenpoint in one of my favorite color combinations, beige and green, with “Buckley’s” in script lettering. It’s reminiscent of the old-time signage in the underground stations of the Newark City Subway (I have had a batch of photos ready from a ride I executed there in March 2021 still unused).
But what’s with the phrase “Self Service?” Aren’t all grocery stores self-service? Yes, today they are. But back when this sign was installed, likely the 1940s, stores of this type were so chockablock with goods that even regular patrons didn’t know where everything was, or they were stacked so high off the ground that customers needed help. That’s where store clerks came in, with pencils typically perched behind ears and grabbing tongs at the ready to get goods off the top shelf.
It sure looks like this sign goes back to the 1930s, but it’s newer than that, as this 1940 photo from the Municipal Archives proves. However, Buckley’s was there in 1940, and I wish I knew when the store was founded.
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