Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Moment Back In Time: When Behrens' Ice Cream Parlor Was The Most Popular Spot In Town

Behren's Ice Cream Parlor

This photo is for all of my Carroll Gardens friends and readers who are as fascinated with Carroll Gardens history as I am.
A while back, I found this wonderful photo postcard of the Behrens Ice Cream Parlor. It is a glimpse of life in the neighborhood in the 1940's, during World War II. Two servicemen in uniform can be seen sitting next to the ladies.
The inscription on the picture reads: " The Most Popular Spot In Town."
Armed with my camera, I tried to located the address indicated, 338 Court Street. But no luck. The address does not exist anymore. It should have been between Union and Sackett Street. Where Behrens' Ice Cream parlor used to be, there is now a big hole in the ground, the stalled development site of Clarett Group's "Collection At Court Street".
But the building that housed the parlor at 338 Court Street was demolished years before that, in the 1960's, to make room for the Anthony Anastasio International Longshoremen's Association Building, which later became the Long Island College Hospital Ambulatory Care facility at # 340 Court Street. The building was sold to Clarett by L.I.C.H. in 2007 and taken down in 2008.
(The only other building still on that block now houses Apple Bank at number 326 Court Street.)

That block sure has seen a lot of changes.
If anyone remembers anything about the Behrens Ice Cream Parlor, recognizes any of the people in the photograph or has any photos of that block from before the 1960's, I would absolutely love to know.

The Clarett Group's Stalled development on
Court Street between Union and Sackett Street today.

The Anthony Anastasio International Longshoremen's Association Building
shortly before it was taken down in 2008



Batman said...

Just another indication that things can, do, and will continue to change. Losing the LSA building was a huge loss, but I'm sure there were plenty of people who were upset by its construction and who were upset to see this place and others like it go.

Caputo's Bakery used to be on that side of the street also.

Geri said...

Court St between 1st & Carroll maybe. The owner was an older man with white hair and an accent. Maybe swedish and that's where the name Swede came from.I will put it out on Old school Carroll Gardens

Maureen said...

Does anyone remember the Ice Cream Parlor that was on Smith between DeGraw & Sackett ? I can't remember the name of it....
I do remember something about them closing when a kid & the owner ( I think - I was young then lol) had a fight, someone pushed someone and they fell and cracked their head open on the curb.

Anonymous said...

Check out the new (old fashion) Ice Cream Parlor on Sackett and Henry. Called the Farmacy I think. It looks like it is right out of the movie set of It's a Wonderful Life.

terrapinie said...

I just found this page after searching online for Behrens Ice Cream Parlor. I just saw this postcard this past weekend - real postcard - in one of my grandmother's photo albums.
Behrens' Ice Cream Parlor was my great-grandparents ice cream shop. The girl all the way to the right in the photo is my grandmother, Helen (Behrens) Coyle - she just turned 95 years old yesterday. I have one of the old ice cream scoops/scrapers at my house, and my mom has one of the original table & chairs sets that my great-uncle held onto over the years.
Behrens is German, not Swedish.

Katia said...

That is too cool. I love the fact that you still have one of the original scoops as well as a table and chairs. How fantastic.
Please tell us more about your family's ice-cream store and your grandmother.
I would love to share it with the rest of the neighborhood.
Do you perhaps have a photo of the store from the outside?

John Scalici (369 Sackett St) said...

Comment for Maureen

Yes, there was an ice cream parlor named Breran's, located at at 271 smith St. Mr. Breran was German and had his children Clara and Agnes working there. His son, Roy (???) sometimes helped out. During the summer, Mrs. Breran turned their back yard into a beautiful flower garden which also had a swinging set. You also could be served out in the garden.....just beautiful. Mr Breren made all his own creamy ice cream fresh... which was the BEST in the entire world!!! Breran's was a daily meeting place for us as teenagers, a real oasis.

During the later 50's, Mr Breran sold the business to Mr Bayer (the son of a friend of mine)who then later changed it to a luncheonette. Sadly, Mr. Beyer was killed during an altercation with a much younger man who knocked Mr. Beyer to the ground, hitting his head on the curb, killing him.

Anonymous said...

My dad's birth certificate lists his father and mother as living at
568 Court Street when he was born. He was born in April of 1934.
I have done research and found that 568 Court Street is no longer
there. It appears have probably went away when the Gowanus Expressway
was built. Does anyone have any old photos or information about
the former 568 Court Street? It looks like it probably existed right
in the area of where Hamilton and Garnett both intersect Court Street.

Much Thanks. Vanessa

Katia said...

Vanessa, it does appear as though this was one of the houses taken down to build the BQE. In the 30,s the city photographed all New York City buildings for tax purposes. Perhaps you can find the one of your grandparents' house? I think it is the Department of Finance in lower Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Katia. My dad lives in PR and has been there since he was about
21. He was born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn. My mother brought
me here in the 1960s when I was six years old. I have been in the Atlanta
area the whole time. My husband and I are planning to visit the Northeast
in the next couple of years, and we will pursue that lead. Do you think
there is a way to request and obtain information from the Depart of Finance
through the mail or online?

Thank you so much.

Katia said...

Most definitely. Here is the link to ordering the photo, if it exists.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Katia. I will give this link a try and will fill you
in on how it goes. When I was searching for photos, I was
thinking most of the time that 468 Court Street was in Carroll
Gardens, but now it's looking like it may be in the Red Hook

On a different note, I have a photo of my dad when he was
enlisted in the army in the mid 1950s, and he was wearing a hat
that looks identical to the hats that the military men are
wearing in one of the ice cream shop photos that I saw from
338 Court Street online :).

Thanks again. Vanessa