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very old continuously operating businesses

From The New York Times:

A Glasses Menagerie

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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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From Gothamist:  http://gothamist.com/2015/03/23/rip_caffe_dante_4_real_though.php

100-Year-Old Greenwich Village Staple Caffe Dante Has Closed

 

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(Joanna Purpich/Gothamist)

Despite assurances to the contrary, MacDougal Street stalwart Caffe Dante has closed. Calls to the restaurant went unanswered this morning and construction workers wearing face masks were seen going in and out of the space today. The sad news was confirmed by a note apparently left by whoever will be taking over the space.

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(Joanna Purpich/Gothamist)

A tipster who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity says owner Mario Flotta told him that the initial rumors were true and that the business had been sold to an Australian group, as previously reported. “Supposedly the…

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