by Kevin Walsh

TIME for another peek into the past through Al Ponte’s Time Machine on Facebook. This view is of the southeast corner of Queens Boulevard and 55th Avenue, across from today’s massive circular Macy’s outlet and until the 1960s…

…the house that occupant Mary Sendak refused to sell, leading Macy’s to insert a notch into the structure to clear the property line.

The building on the title card still stands and is home to a furniture store in 2022. The fire alarm has been replaced, but hundreds in this style can still be found around town. Of particular interest is the candy store on the corner. Note that the Coca-Cola swash logo is almost completely unchanged since this photo was taken. Weighing machines were frequently found at candy and drug stores throughout the 20th Century. Candy stores were often combined with stationers, and I’d like to know what connection candy has with writing paper.

For many, the Anheuser-Busch connection with ice cream may be surprising; Anheuser-Busch, now based in St. Louis, Missouri, makes Budweiser, the “King of Beers.” But note the date: 1931. During Prohibition, many beer distributors turned to “near beer” and Anheuser-Busch produced Bevo, a malt beverage that had the taste but not the effect of alcohol; similar brands such as O’Doul’s do the same today. Anheuser-Busch also distributed its own brand of ice cream as well as yeast extract with which home brewers could illegally produce beer. They also entered the automotive industry by inventing the refrigerated ice cream truck; Good Humor owes its business to the King of Beers. A-B also distributed some of the first flatbed trailers in existence, as well as frozen eggs, baby formula and carbonated coffee.

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therealguyfaux February 25, 2023 - 3:31 pm

There’s a History Channel show, The Food That Built America. one episode of which dealt with what brewers did during Prohibition to stay afloat. The episode showed that Pabst made cheese dip, if I recall correctly. The problem for Pabst was, it was exactly the same process and taste as Kraft. Kraft won the lawsuit, but instead of putting Pabst out of business, they agreed to license Pabst to make Kraft cheese dip, branded as Pabst, as long as Pabst paid the past licensing fee in arrears (I guess they had some sort of installment plan for doing so) as well as in advance.

chris February 25, 2023 - 3:46 pm

Ahh,the neighborhood candy store with its large selection of
penny candy and comic books.Where you ran into your friends
and neighbors when you went to pick up the paper on Sunday.
Do they still exist?Or have they been replaced by 7-11s?
I heard that Mrs. Sendak didnt want to sell because she wanted
to be able to walk her dog.Today in some parts of the country they’re
actually using the power of Eminent Domain to put in a shopping mall,
apartments,etc.You can always count on the real estate people to
come up with evermore new and exciting ways to get their way in
this country..

Ty February 25, 2023 - 4:35 pm

The other Macy’s on 34th street also has a notch from a holdout.

Tamaharbor February 25, 2023 - 9:23 pm

The Sendak/Macys house was right down the block from Fairyland.

Pamela February 27, 2023 - 7:42 am

Yes, remember it well.

The Chief (tm) February 26, 2023 - 9:27 am

When I was a child growing up in Jackson Heights, our family wasn’t big on shopping, but on the rare visits to the Macy’s “in the round”, the real treat for me and my younger sister was seeing if this, if *this was the time* that our 1976 VW Bus would finally get stuck underneath the impossibly-low ceiling beams in the garage.

Never happened, somehow.

Ed Greenberg February 26, 2023 - 9:47 am

Indeed, “candy stores” were combined with stationery, school supplies, etc. I remember one (out on the Island) where you could sit down and get a milkshake, malted, egg cream, simple lunch, lots of candy and snacks, paperbacck books, school supplies, basic office supplies and business forms, and probably many things that I never noticed. It was no different from what you found in the city. There was one in Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights like that.

Andy February 26, 2023 - 10:29 am

The white lettering in the lower left corner most likely means that this is a survey photo taken for the IND subway under Queens Boulevard. Its construction through this area began in 1933, when the line was extended from its initial temporary terminal at Roosevelt Avenue. From there to Union Turnpike was opened December 31, 1936. The photo is located between the Grand Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard stations on today’s M and R trains.

More information: https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/IND_Queens_Boulevard_Line

Joe Fliel February 27, 2023 - 9:47 pm

Kevin, Anheuser-Busch has always been based in St. Louis.


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