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Jun ,2016

At Golden Gate Fancy Fruits in Brooklyn, A Grocery Store From 1939 Frozen In Time

06/28/2016 at 10:00 am

Posted In Arts & Culture, New York, News

by michelle young

13-Golden Gate Fruit Market-Marine Park-Brooklyn-NYC-Untapped Cities_9Inside Golden Gate Fancy Fruits and Vegetables

“You’ve just stepped into 1939,” says John Cortese, the 92-year-old proprietor of Golden Gate Fancy Fruits and Vegetables, on Flatbush Avenue in Marine Park, Brooklyn. Indeed, the old-school grocery is far more authentic than any Hollywood set designer can create and it’s located way off the beaten path. It’s a true neighborhood establishment, in operation at this same spot since 1939, when John’s grandfather opened it. John would do the deliveries after school and recalls getting surrounded by stray dogs who would surround the produce upon hearing the squeaking of his cart.

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John is also a World War II veteran who served in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge as part of the 551st Field Artillery Battalion. No detail escapes his memory, from the names of towns he passed through in France and Belgium to the model number of the metal detector he used in the war. Part of his job as a sapper was to identify landmines, a task he says he was chosen to do but was given only two hours of training, one month before D-Day. He was expecting a classroom, but instead the soldiers were trained on a live minefield.

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He talks of the pre-war era as the “good old days,” and recounts the prices back then. Newspapers were two cents, a hot dog (onions, ketchup, and all) was five cents, as was a subway or trolley ride. Though prices have changed, the inside of the grocery remains virtually the same as it did when it opened.

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The wood floor, with its narrow boards is original, as is the tin ceiling. Cans of Goya beans and Redpack crushed tomatoes sit on painted wooden shelves. Produce is displayed beautifully on angled stands and atop wooden crates that line both sides of the store. Two scales still hang from the ceiling, just in case of a power outage, says Cortese’s son, John. Original Sunkist advertisements, old-school product labels that John saved, and a plethora of vintage photographs decorate the store.

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In the back room are some true gems: a pot belly heater, a wooden cold storage room, a Triplex gas stove, all still working. Even the exterior sign, with its faded hand painted lettering, dates to the mid-century. Take note of the old telephone number, ES-7-2581, a format used from the ‘40s to the ‘60s. The sign is not the original – an old tax photograph from the ‘40s displayed inside the shop shows one with Art Deco flourishes.

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Though you might assume everything is kept for the nostalgia, John assures us it’s not. He wanted to do redo the storefront decades ago, but his accountant told him that as a result, they’d need to get new floors, new stands, new everything. So they just kept it the same.

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Four Staten Island properties designated as landmarks

By Rachel Shapiro on June 28, 2016 at 4:17 PM, updated June 28, 2016 at 7:25 PM

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate as New York City landmarks the George William and Anna Curtis House at 234 Bard Avenue; the St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton; the 92 Harrison Street House; and the Prince’s Bay Lighthouse.

They were among seven Staten Island properties that were on a short list of backlogged buildings that were “prioritized for designation” by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

George William and Anna Curtis House

The house was built in 1859 in the style of a pattern-book-inspired Italianate style country residence. It was the home of George William Curtis, a distinguished author, editor, essayist and lecturer. He addressed major political issues of the time, such as slavery, women’s suffrage and civil service reform. His wife, Anna Curtis, was active in local organizations and came from a like-minded family of reformists.

St. John’s Rectory

St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory is located at 1331 Bay Street in Clifton, and is an early free-standing Queen Anne style residence. The church was formally organized on September 23, 1843, at the home of William B. Townsend, to serve the needs of the Protestant Episcopal worshipers in Clifton. A new rectory, located to the south of the church, was built in 1881-1882 by the builder John W. Winmill. The church was built from 1869 to 71.

92 Harrison Street

The house at 92 Harrison Street is a 2 ½ story, wood-framed building in the Greek Revival style. It was built around 1853-54 for Richard G. Smith, most likely as an investment property. It’s located on a large lot at the corner of Harrison and Quinn Streets, making it a focal point of the neighborhood. It is one of 10 houses built on Harrison Street prior to 1860, and represents the first period of development as the Stapleton area was transitioning into a denser community.

Prince’s Bay Lighthouse

The Prince’s Bay Lighthouse is one of New York City’s oldest surviving lighthouse complexes, built in 1864. Historically known as the Red Bank Lighthouse, it is located on the shore of Prince’s Bay and stands on one of the highest bluffs on the southern shoreline, overlooking Raritan Bay. The designation also consists of the two-story brownstone Keeper’s House, built in 1868 next to the lighthouse and connected by a 15-foot long passageway; and the one-story fieldstone Carriage House, built in 1869, west of the Keeper’s House.…

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Photo flashback: Whatever happened to Honeywood, Staten Island?

By Carol Ann Benanti
on June 26, 2016 at 12:23 PM


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Great Kills is the South Shore’s northernmost community, according to many local geographers. Also tagged Staten Island’s largest neighborhood, it is bordered by Richmond Town to the north, Oakwood to the east, Eltingville to the west, and the Great Kills Harbor to the south.

Interestingly, Kil, is an archaic Dutch word with various popular translations, including “creek” and “channel,” inasmuch as many small streams dot the neighborhood —  and the name can be interpreted as meaning that a great number of such streams can be found there.

Once a mecca for fishermen and noted for the fine seafood served in its hotels, the shoreline was called Cairedon and the inland was known as Newtown.

The area was later named Gifford’s (as in Giffords Lane, which bisects the community), after the local commissioner and surveyor of roads, Daniel Gifford. The name, derived from the above-mentioned Dutch word kil (creek), was adopted in 1865.

Another name associated with the neighborhood is Honeywood, which survived as the name of the telephone exchange for many South Shore communities through the late 1950s.

Today, Great Kills is home to a thriving marina and is part of the expansive Gateway National Recreation Area.

The neighborhood is represented in the New York City Council by Joe Borelli.

It’s Poillon-Seguine-Britton House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The neighborhood is home to Great Kills Little League, one of the eight little leagues on Staten Island.

Actor Rick Schroder lived in the community as a child, as did actress Alyssa Milano, comedian Bob Levy and new ESPN anchor Joe Engle.

At the southeastern corner of the neighborhood is Great Kills Park, a national park site that is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. The park includes a beach, marina, trails, fishing and bird-watching areas and sports fields.

Sadly, the area suffers from a heroin and prescription drug problem and is sometimes referred to as “the drug capital of Staten Island.”

FDNY Engine Company 162/Ladder Company 82 and Battalion 23, serve Great Kills from quarters on Nelson Ave and Barnes Intermediate School is one of Staten Island’s middle schools. Firefighter Scott Davidson, lost in the 9-11 attacks, attended Barnes.

Myra Barnes Intermediate School was named after an educator and civic activist, also known as “The Fighting Lady of New Dorp.” Barnes was well known for her contributions to the New York City Council.…

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from ThoughtGallery:

Join a rare opportunity to enter the reconstructed Hessian Hut in our backyard. See how the Hessian soldiers lived during the Revolutionary War and how the original portion of the hut survived.


Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in Dyckman House Museum
4881 Broadway at 204th Street

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Start Date : 07.11.2016
History Weeks Summer 2016

Session One: Ages 9-12, July 11-15, 8:30 AM—3:00 PM

Children explore life in 19th-century New York City via historic crafts and games, behind-the-scenes tours, old-fashioned cooking, scavenger hunts, and a field trips to another historic site. On the last day, campers create their own exhibits and lead their guests on a tour of the museum. Please bring a brown bag lunch. Mid-morning snack provided.  Camp Fee: $275; 10% discount for Family Level Museum Members

For registration form or additional information, please call the Museum at 212-838-6878 or email

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Session Two: Ages 6-8, July 18-22, 9:00 AM—12:00 PM

Young campers become history detectives in the Museum and grounds as they explore daily life in New York City in the 1800s. Children learn through interactive activities such as making ice cream, writing with quills and ink, and historic children’s games. Mid-morning snack provided.

Camp Fee: $200 10% discount for Family Level Museum Members

Concert at Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden


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Summer Garden Concert: Harp


Sarah Loveland Gill, Juilliard and Mannes College of Music, will perform classical and Celtic music on her harp in the Museum garden. Just for fun, she’ll also play a pennywhistle tune for us. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included.
$15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

To purchase tickets call the Museum or go to Brown Paper Tickets.  Get all three concerts for the price of two!

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Summer Garden Concert: STOUT


Frank Hendricks and Bob Conroy of STOUT will perform an evening of tavern tunes, combining hearty vocal harmonies and acoustic instruments. It will feature traditional American music, including popular songs of the 19th-century, drinking tunes, war tributes and sea chanteys, all encouraging you to sing along. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included.
$15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

To purchase tickets call the Museum or go to Brown Paper Tickets. Get all three concerts for the price of two!

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[URL=”″] Ice Cream Garden Social[/URL]

June 18, 1pm – 3pm
Explore a uniquely early 19th Century New York City past time, Ice Cream Gardens. Join us for a Path Through History Weekend afternoon of ice cream making, period toys, games, and historical tunes in our garden.
$15 Adults; $10 Museum Members and Children under 12
At the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden…

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It’s hard to believe, but before the 1980s there was no real barbecue in New York City. Sure, we had places that served chicken and ribs cooked in gas rotisseries slathered with sweet, tomato-based sauces. Sometimes called “oven barbecue,” it was only a beat or two better than something you cooked in your kitchen at home. But though the surface of the product could be crisp and the flesh flavorful, this treatment lacked the smoky savor associated with “real” barbecue. The majority of those gas-fired places are now gone, but half-century-old Royal Rib House in Bed-Stuy is one of the venerable old-timers that still practices this style, and does it well.

The 1980s saw the advent of several new barbecue restaurants that actually slow-cooked their product over hardwood or charcoal for hours on end, imbuing the meat with an intense smokiness. Located in a Soho frame house, Tennessee Mountain specialized in ribs; Brothers Barbecue, a honky-tonk way west on Houston Street, offered multiple meats and barbecue styles; the Upper East Side’s Brother Jimmy’s focused on North Carolina ‘cue; and best of all was Smokey’s, run by two University of Texas alums at 24th and 9th in Chelsea. At Smokey’s you could get great Texas-style pork ribs, though, disappointingly, the beef brisket was only available chopped rather than sliced.

But the real breakthrough came in 1992, when Mod British hairdresser Robert Pearson moved a barbecue that he’d founded in Connecticut down to Long Island City. Soon, the first stop into Queens on the 7 train was disgorging rabid barbecue fans to his place, successively called Stick to Your Ribs, Pearson’s Texas Barbecue, and, when he left the business to his pitmaster and it moved to Jackson Heights, Ranger Texas Barbecue. It persisted there until 2009 — quite a run! Like Brothers Barbecue, Pearson’s menu was eclectic, doing pulled pork barbecue with a vinegary sauce for those who favored the Carolina style, as well as the sliced brisket and beef ribs characteristic of Texas pits. There was no doubt, though, that Texas barbecue was his favorite.

Pearson also believed that a barbecue should reflect its terroir, so he made a few modest improvements of his own, cementing his place in barbecue history. Instead of importing North Texas hot links, Kreuz Market beef sausage, or Georgia sage sausage, he got kielbasy from a Greenpoint butcher. Instead of using hamburger buns or sliced white bread for sandwiches, he deployed tapered rolls from a Portuguese baker in Newark. And these tweaks, plus his fanatic use of hardwood to cook the meat “low and slow,” made Stick to Your Ribs the best barbecue the city had yet seen. He eventually spun off a larger branch on the east side of Manhattan, but it soon burned down.

Once Pearson gained a toehold and showed New Yorkers how great barbecue could be, others followed suit. Danny Meyer was early on the bandwagon with his Blue Smoke (2001), pairing his restaurant with a jazz club and showcasing pork ribs in such Midwestern styles as St.

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