Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Shults Bread Company and company

On Cary Avenue and Taylor Street in West New Brighton (edging perilously close to Port Richmond), stands an old factory built of red brick. In my time it's housed the Art Network (who remembers that now?) and then, in one form or another, a church for the last decade or so.

Apparently, formed from the consolidation of several bread wholesalers, for a few years the Shults Bread Co. was one of the most prolific bakeries in NYC. They operated a dozen factories in and around the city (six in Brooklyn, their home, alone). In 1923 they were acquired, in a stock deal, by the United Bakeries Corporation and were no more. UBC renamed itself Continental Bakeries, and became one of the biggest bakers in the country.

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I've posted this theater before, but here's it's in a larger neighborhood context. It was the first movie theater on Staten Island and until recently it maintained much of its original facade (see the googlemaps' picture) though its present Pentecostal owners have finally fixed up the building and covered it over.

The intersection of Castleton and Broadway and several blocks around seem to have been an entertainment nexus a century ago. There was an opera house (!) on Henderson and Broadway and a movie theater on the corner of Broadway and Noble. Now there's projects, dollar stores and scary delis.

Tell me again how were things improved when the projects replaced older working class apartments? Am I wrong in thinking that people aren't meant to live piled together in giant apartments like ants? How many people and neighborhoods suffered because Corbusier offered a cheap way out for packing in the poor like rats?

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