Tuesday, November 15, 2016

(Port) Richmond Avenue between Ann and Church Streets - east side

I am not dead.

Port Richmond was still a flourishing commercial district when I was a little kid in the early seventies. From talking to folks older than myself, I learned it was even more impressive in the decades before that. There were theaters, department stores, and restaurants. To this day, if you stroll a block in either direction off Port Richmond Avenue, you can see numerous beautiful homes and churches.

In many ways, I find its current state of wear and tear more depressing than Stapleton. The latter neighborhood had whole sections wiped out, leaving nothing left except memories and old photos. Port Richmond was left to rot and fall to pieces. The Mexican community which sprang into existence over the past twenty years has restored much of the commercial activity, but it hasn't restored most of the dilapidated storefronts and the streets and sidewalks remain broken. Many of the surrounding houses and apartments look worn out and wasted.

After just having written about how much of old Port Richmond remains, the first picture I'm putting up is of a block almost completely obliterated. The only building still there is the Richmond Chandelier store on the corner of Church Street. Even that's been changed drastically, as you can see from the below street view. 

This NYC Archive photo is dated to around 1990. I'm not sure when it was covered up with the ugly, modern facing it has today, but clearly it was in serious need of updating. According to the store's website (follow the link), it was first opened in 1928, which makes the building at least 62 years old in the picture.

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