Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Forest Avenue

   Sorry I've been so lax here for the longest time.  I'm going to try to get back in the saddle and all that jazz and start writing/posting again.  Here's an appetizer - Forest Avenue, 1917 from Greenwood Avenue all the way west to Bement Avenue.
   It's a pretty amazing transformation over the past century.  In the east there's the south extent of Sailors' Snug Harbor.  Hart Boulevard running north from Forest served essentially as an entrance road.  Now it's lined with houses.
   The lot where the Starbucks sits at Bard and Forest (and before that, the much missed standalone Carvel Ice Cream - I like the iconic design much better than the same as everybody else storefront of present day Carvels) was the property and large home of one "H. O. Rambout".  Most noticeably, though, was the absence of much housing at all.  Most of that stretch of Forest, long a commercial hub, was tree lined and sparsely populated.  Hard to imagine - if I didn't have the picture below you might just find it impossible.

Intersection of Bard and Forest Avenues


Bob Miller said...

When I was a kid in the 1950's, there was still a remnant of your pictured stone wall on Forest Ave. east of Bard Ave. That wall resembled the one on Castleton Ave (north side) east of Bard near the hospital. My father's parents and sister lived in a stucco house at 548 Bard one block south of Forest at Baker Place, a couple of houses from Carvel. Carvel's opening was a big deal. My mother said it would offer frozen custard, a really good type of ice cream, and it was!

The Wasp said...

When I looked at this picture again the other day I suddenly worried that it was that same wall from Castleton Avenue. Then I decided the NYPL could never be wrong and risked posting it.

I loved the older, smaller and greasier King's Arms as well.

Bob Miller said...

More stream of consciousness:
The short stone wall section I remember from Forest Ave was between City Blvd and Metropolitan, where the supermarket lot (originally Food Farm) now is. There was a Paul Miller dry cleaners facing the supermarket. Pal Joey's pizzeria started between Oakland and Pelton, then moved to the corner of Davis. Earlier, the Davis location was George Guth's meat market and a barber shop next door. Further down that block were Barth's delicatessen and Racenstein's pharmacy. Smiling Sunny's toy shop at Oakland replaced a Times Square Store and later annexed the next store. Charm's Delicatessen was on the south side of Forest between Oakland and Bement and later moved across the street (later this was Jahn's). The SW corner of Bement & Forest was Cellini's restaurant. Sid Crohl had a candy store with soda fountain, and originally Marli's Liggett Rexall drugstore down the block at Bement (SE corner) also had a fountain. Sid charged 5 cents for a chocolate soda (syrup + seltzer), 6 cents for an egg cream (the same soda + milk) and a quarter for an ice cream soda. Other stores between Oakland and Bement included De Jong bakery, Taft cleaners, Miller hardware store, Verkuil optician. We had milk (Middletown, later Delwood) and bread (Dugan's) delivered to our house on Davis. My grandparents on Bard got deliveries of pressurized seltzer bottles in wooden crates.

Bob Miller said...

Charm's Delicatessen was on the north side of Forest between Oakland and Bement and later moved across the street

The Wasp said...

I'm only old enough to remember the second Pal Joey's location (and I was never a fan of their pizza which always managed to arrive cold). Smiling Sunny's was where I bought all my D&D books in the late seventies. I can't remember the dairy we got our milk from (delivered by Mr. Mahoney in a big blue panel truck until 1989 when they stopped using glass bottles).

Thank you for the amazing details!

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.

Bob Miller said...

There was once also a Safeway food market on the south side of Forest between Oakland and Bement. This may have become Charm's second location later on. In the late 1950's, the Safeway sold the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia one volume at a time as they came out, so that's how we got our set. A yearbook came out after Alaska and Hawaii became states. Across the street was a woman's clothing shop, Suzanne's. Johnny Lucci's appliance repair shop was at Broadway and Forest for many years. Weinstein's Deli operated for a time on Forest west of Broadway.