Whatever happened to? I know you’ve had enough of this from me, like mustard plasters, iceboxes and dumbwaiters. But recently my wife and I were thinking about big prominent stores that have disappeared over time, and it really makes one wonder how very successful enterprises disappear off the face of the earth.
Whatever happened to the hugely successful Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company? The A&P was the ultimate prominent large food store in NYC. Right there with it were Safeway stores, which have disappeared. A great prestigious delicatessen specialty store was Gristedes. In Long Island, there was Bohack. Then, all of a sudden along came the humongous Food Fair chain. I worked my first job with window trimmers from the Jacob Ruppert Brewery (later Knickerbocker Beer) decorating their aisles with multi-color crepe paper archways.
The first giant Food Fair I recall was in the incredible housing complex in the Bronx called Parkchester. Parkchester is an enormous city of modern apartment houses within the Bronx with its own movie theaters, R.H. Macy’s, and specialty shops, still prominent today. As successful as Parkchester was, its subtle racial bias was secretly renowned. If you were Jewish, black or even Italian like myself, you were politely turned away as a potential renter. It shows you how far we've come from not so long ago when prejudice was still unchallenged.
Whatever happened to all the Pathmarks and great Shopper's Paradise? How about 5- and 10-cent stores like Woolworth or S. Kress? My all-time favorite stop was outside Yankee Stadium where you could enjoy a crushed orange drink and a hot dog in the great citywide Needick's chain, long gone. Lastly, whatever happened to the hugely popular Eight Jewish Korean Veterans home furnishings store? It was better known by its prominent initials, E.J. Korvettes?
Gene Casella, Queensbury