BUCKLEY’S SELF-SERVICE, Greenpoint

by Kevin Walsh

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.

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

4/25/22

7 comments

Edward P OBrien April 26, 2022 - 6:40 am

When I was a young boy living in the neighborhood, that was the store my mother shopped at, no big supermarkets.

Reply
therealguyfaux April 26, 2022 - 12:44 pm

So, basically a bodega before such stores were called that?

Reply
Anthony Picco April 26, 2022 - 2:20 pm

I tried emailing you some pix of faded signs but I could not get past “Kevin@forgotten-ny.com”
How can I get the pix to you? Faded sign on the side of a building at 17 & 7th in Manhattan

Reply
Kevin Walsh April 26, 2022 - 10:51 pm Reply
Peter April 26, 2022 - 3:28 pm

In a way we’re heading back to that system, as more stores (especially drug stores) keep some products in locked cases to stop shoplifting.

Reply
Michael Lagana April 26, 2022 - 4:50 pm

TheTrolly pole from 1940 is gone

Reply
moose April 26, 2022 - 5:56 pm

At the old Jefferson Market in the village you had to ask someone to get down a lot of stuff.

Reply

Leave a Comment

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