Friday, 10 May 2013

THE UNION STREET PROJECT: 141 Union Street, Redux

This is the latest post of "The Union Street Project," in which I unearth the history of every building along the once bustling Brooklyn commercial strips of Union Street between Hicks and Van Brunt, and Columbia Street between Sackett and Carroll. 

I wrote about 141 Union Street for this series back in June 2011. Among the things I discovered at that time was that, in the 1920s, the address was the home to a lovely looking pastry shop, as you can see from the Municipal Archives photo below. R. Bottaro Pasticceria was the name of the place. I was not able to learn anything more about the shop.

Now, more than a year later, I do know more. I was contacted by the great-grandnephew of the owner. He told me the pastry shop was run by his great uncle, Pietro Bottaro. (The shop was thus called P. Bottaro, not R. Bottaro as I stated previously.) He came from Palermo, Sicily, around 1907-10, and opened the pasticceria around 1910. "His brother was my Grandfather who settled in Boston in 1907," wrote the reader. "My mother said they would always get a box of Italian cookie for Christmas from Uncle Peter. His wife was Vincenza and his children Salvatore, Anthony, Albert, and Santina. They lived at 17 1st Place in Brooklyn." The shop was there until sometime in the 1940s.

The best part of this new communication was the photo that the reader sent along, of his great uncle standing proudly in front of the store. Here it is:

Pretty natty dresser. I can attest that the brickwork and the curved pipe at the foot of the storefront are still there and look the same.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Harvey's Chelsea House Remembered by Readers

I posted last week about the bygone Olde New York restaurant Harvey's Chelsea House. Since then, a couple readers have shared their memories of the place. This has been gratifying, as I had assumed that nobody remembered the place. (I've never seen it written about since it closed twenty years ago.)

Maximum Bob wrote:

This used to be my main hangout. I used to work out at a gym a block away and would hit the bar afterwards for a burger and a beer. It was an elegant, grownup place. The night before I got married, my best friends and I came here for dinner and drinks.This was the 80's. I will never forget Harvey's and that time in general. If I could go back in time I would jettison this age of mediocrity in a nanosecond.
And Lionel said: 
It was a great place with one of the finest bars I spent time bellying up to. It had two old fashioned cash registers that were functioning and used. Some very talented artist did an oil painting that depicted the bar and was beautifully accurate. I was heartbroken when it was no more. I would occasionally see the actress Sandy Dennis in the back having a sandwich. Interestingly, many of the bartenders, and or owners, always referred to the bars that they worked at as ‘the store,’ kind of a holdover from old New York. It was a truly beautiful barroom.
Sandy Dennis was a regular?! I love the memory of the place even more now.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

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