ATLANTIC AVENUE is one of the lengthiest streets in New York City, divided about equally between Brooklyn and Queens. It runs from the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights all the way to the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica and indeed, was lengthened slightly to meet 95th Avenue just recently. Its existence seems bound up with the Long Island Rail Road, which has run above it, along it and under it since the 1830s; there’s an abandoned section of tunnel beneath it in Brooklyn Heights, rediscovered by the late Bob Diamond, who ran successful tours there before the FDNY and other agencies shut him down.
I have never walked or bicycled its entire length and have only traversed it in a motorized vehicle rarely; frankly, much of it is boring, especially east of my old high school, Cathedral Prep, on Washington Avenue. East of that, you get into the land of gas stations, collision and tire repair shops that are fairly unrelenting well into Queens. However, one such shop can retain Forgotten NY attention.
In the flat fix joint on the NE corner of Classon Avenue, where Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant meet (I had to pick one as the neighborhood designee) there’s an ancient billboard that’s been there for years, and it has nothing to do with the flat fix shop. It advertises a home heating oil shop that was at the address before the tire shop arrived; they never took it down. Forgotten Fan Ricky Viola pointed me to a well researched article by Anne Kadet that tracks down the current owner of the moved-away fuel oil dealer.
No one, though, knows the true origin of the lipsticked, crowned dinosaur named Sherita who appears on the ad. I imagine she was a mascot cooked up by the original fuel oil firm to get eyes on the billboard. What I find unusual is that while I snapped this photo way back in 2007, the top part of the billboard has been relettered despite the fuel oil place moving away. The bottom of the ad has been worked over by local street artists who don’t come close to Eduardo Kobra’s mastery.
Who was Sherita? Only she knows, and dinosaurs have been extinct since 66 Million BC.
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