Monday, March 04, 2013

A Moment Back In Time: A Stretch Of Smith Street In The Late 1960's

Back in the late 1960's, early 1970's
The same stretch of Smith Street today
Just recently, I came across a xerox copy of a black and white photo of the stretch of Smith Street taken in the late 1960's.  The image shows numbers 349, 351, 353 and 355 Smith Street located between Carroll Street and Second Street.
Though grainy,  one can see that the four buildings have not changed much.  This is no doubt due in part to the fact that #349, #351 and 353 fall within the Carroll Gardens Landmark district, the smallest in all of New York City.
What is more fascinating are the commercial spaces and the former businesses that occupied them then and now.

349 Smith Street
No doubt, many remember Joe's Superette and its famous prosciutto and rice balls.  Sadly, after 50 years at the same location, the business closed in 2011 when second owner Leo Coladonato passed away.
Avlee, a new Greek restaurant just opened up there last month.

351 Smith Street
When I moved into the neighborhood in 1985, Venuti's, a small hardware store, was still open.  Mr. Venuti, a heavy set elderly man, operated the business with his son and his daughter-in law. (I believe her name was Michelle, but I could be mistaken).  I remember the owner most for his custom of pouring a shot of rather harsh brandy to all his customers at Christmas time.  I must admit to leaving the store with quite a buzz once, when my mother and I stopped in to buy a few of the wooden ornaments Mr. Venuti had added to his inventory during the holidays.
I still have them.
Mr. Venuti and his son passed away one after the other just a few years later and the store closed.
Ting Hua, a Chinese restaurant, has been operating here for quite a few years.

353 Smith Street
When Frank's Italian Delicatessen opened two doors down from Joe's Superette, it created  a bit of a stir because,  from what I gathered from neighborhood old-timers, Frank at one time worked for Joe, Joe's wife Ann and their two sons, Joseph and Steven.  When Frank opened his business so close to his former boss'  place and competed with Joe's Superette,  many were cross at him.
At one point, Frank's moved to the corner of Smith Street and 2nd Street, across from the subway station, where it is still to this day.
A Korean deli has occupied the storefront at number 353 for a very long time now.  Though the deli has remained virtually unchanged for the last decades, the Korean owners have changed at least three times since I have moved here.

355 Smith Street
A laundromat has operated at this address for a number of years.  I must admit that I don't really remember what was there before.  It would appear that in the late 1960's, it was either an office or a social club.  

Does anyone remember more about these stores? Its owners?  I would love to hear your memories and stories about them and other businesses in the neighborhood. 


Anonymous said...

Katia..the building at 355 was a American Legion Aunt lived right on top of fact it's amazing that in the 60s shot she's in there alive again!!! We lived right round the corner at 260Carroll from 1961 to 1973. I can tell you stories of the most wonderfully strange events that happened here. It was the greatest childhood any kid could have!!! Joey Vento

Anonymous said...

I grew up here, so I remember Smith St. back then very well. When Franks opened, it was a little problem. When he opened later down Smith it wasn't at first a deli - it was a bar on the corner and a coffee shop next door. It became a deli later.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1 & 2, and Katia-- thank you!

Gary Dolan said...

Katia, I can only echo your comment about Venuti's. I also delightedly accept an offer of a holiday shot at Christmastime. It struck me as such an old fashioned, neighborly thing. You also just reminded be where I got my little toy wood airplane ornament.

Anonymous said...

The current grocery/fruit shop on the corner of Second and Smith Streets was originally Dugan's Bar. It was a beautiful 19th century building. It was owned by the Dugan family. The same Dugan family that contributed so much to the community, and continues to do so. It was altered by Frank of Frank's Deli.

Katia said...

Was this the family of Eileen Dugan, our former Assemblywoman? That block of Smith Street is named in her honor.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Eileen grew up on Second Street. She was a terrific person and representative. Eileen and all her brothers and sisters graduated from St. Mary's school on Court Street.

Anonymous said...

355 smith st was the martin j fiore post he was my uncle all the members got old and sold the building they sent the flag to the main post as a kid we use to have partys there once a year it was sad to lose the place my grand parents were hurt

John Cerrato said...

I'm writing this for my wife. 351smith street that was my house. My name is Christina Annunziata. My grand farther my farther and my mother owned the hardware store. Those were the best times sitting in front if the store eating ice cream and watching my grand father water the flowers in April. I use to help him make the hand made palms for Palm Sunday and I remember checking the light bulbs and making sure they all work for Christmas time. My grand father made all of the Christmas ornaments by hand. Thank you for sharing your thoughts miss them very much

Katia said...

Hi John and Christina,
Thank you for sharing your memories. I remember the owners of the hardware store well.