L & H Stern were Ludwig and Hugo Stern. Hugo Stern (1872-?) was in business in Brooklyn in the Cigars and Tobacco business as early as 1899. Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) emigrated from Germany as a young man, worked for a time for the Metropolitan Tobacco Co., then founded L & H Stern in 1911. They were originally located in Manhattan on East 10th St. (Ludwig Stern, president; Hugo Stern, vice-president & secretary; and Benjamin Zeichner, treasurer) and moved to Brooklyn in the area now called DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) around 1920. They manufactured “smoker’s articles,” with a specialty in briar pipes. They remained in business at this location until the mid-1960′s. – Walter Grutchfield
On Instagram here.
Often Vincenzo or I will snap a hand-painted sign and a whole history will reveal itself. Sometimes the past is a bit more elusive and the juxtaposing hints belie the writing on the wall. Last year I posted Vincenzo’s images of the Hemley Supply Company thinking it was a sheet metal supply. Earlier this week I received this e-mail from Debbie Hemley:
I came across your book today and was thrilled to find it. What a wonderful collection of images and great thing to document!
My father’s old warehouse for mattresses and bedding supplies, in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn had that type of painted ad and none of us had been down there in almost twenty years. We’re all in Massachusetts now. Earlier this year my sister went to the location at 300 Meserole Street and we were thrilled to discover that the painted ad was still there and hadn’t faded! Attaching photos that she took.
Loved too to learn that you’re a long-term survivor of AIDS. I’m a long-term survivor of Leukemia and there’s something so unique and transforming about longterm survivorship–that not everyone quite gets.
As fate has it, not only did Debbie’s e-mail solve another mystery, but it confirms the transformative nature of survival. Why some of us die after diagnosis and treatment and why some of us endure will still remain a mystery.
- The Loyal Order by Debbie Hemley – Hippocampus Magazine
Joseph John Friel was born on March 15, 1853. He emigrated from County Donegal, Ireland in 1875 to the United States with five dollars in his pocket. Soon, Friel got a job as a ditch-digger in a construction company in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. When digging a ditch one day in the hot sun, he looked up at a beautiful house at 699 Willoughby Avenue and proclaimed that he would one day own it. His supervisor thought Friel must have been suffering from heat prostration and made him sit down and rest. After being a ditch-digger, Friel worked faithfully for several years for a pawnbroker on Grand Street. Friel had made arrangements with his boss to buy the business from him “on time.” By the time his boss died, Friel had begun to grow this brokerage company into million-dollar business.
According to the Brooklyn Genealogy Website, J.J. Friel ran a pawnbroker business within the years 1880 – 1890 at 86 Myrtle Avenue off of Duffield Place[i] where the new Metrotech Building high-rise casts its shadow on the Flatbush Avenue extension. An additional office was listed at 989 Myrtle Avenue between Sumner & Throop where there is now a NYC Housing Project. Both addresses no longer exist. In a New York Times obituary, it states that Joseph John Friel started in the pawn brokerage business on Grand Street in 1870.[ii] Numerous signs for this business can be found from Park Slope, Brooklyn to Jamaica Queens. This sign on Coney Island Avenue in the Kensington section of Brooklyn however no longer sees the light of day.
Recently, a family member of Friel, Michael Hughes (great-grandson), of Detroit Michigan contacted me about the whereabouts of the Park Slope J.J. Friel sign I had posted on my blog. Hughes spoke about the possible restoration of the sign and he got me in touch with his aunts, Friel’s surviving grandchildren – DeDe Burke of Mt Kisco, NY and Aileen Schaefer of Islip, NY. Almost of all the historical and genealogical information on Friel was gleaned through these telephone interviews with Friel’s descendants.
In 1898, Friel married Frances Noonan, and by 1903 at age 50, he and his wife had a daughter Mary Margaret Friel. J.J. Friel died in May 1914 at age 60 from pneumonia in his home at 699 Willoughby Avenue. Mary Margaret, who inherited the family fortune upon her father’s death, went on to graduate from Manhattanville College in 1924 and to marry Henry Mannix in 1926. Henry Mannix became a partner in the law office of White & Case, which was already a legendary Wall Street firm. Mary Margaret Henry Mannix had ten children, nine of whom lived to adulthood. According to Friel’s granddaughter Aileen of Islip, NY, the Friel business continued to be run by the family well into the 1970s. Friel was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.
After getting off of the phone with a family member and realizing how closely Friel was buried to where I lived, I immediately cut some flowers from my garden and headed over to the cemetery on my Vespa. After a three-minute ride, I picked up a map from the cemetery office where they had kindly written the names of the family members buried at the plot with the years of their birth and death, and placed the flowers on the Friel – Mannix family burial ground. It seems almost unfathomable that this man, whose name I’ve known for over 15 years, and about whom I knew next to nothing, was buried 1.2 miles from my home, and I now have contact with his family ninety-seven year after his death.
Solemnly, I stood in front of the Friel tombstone while “Taps” was played at a funeral procession nearby. I cannot begin to describe how deeply profound and moving this experience was for me. The tombstone bore the many names of the Friel – Mannix family, beginning with the Friel’s first child, a son named James who died at birth in 1899. Mary Margaret Friel, was thereby their second child and their only child, having lost her father at the age of ten, lived a rich and full life with 48 grandchildren to recount their great-grandfather’s legacy. I returned home and spoke on the phone with the eldest living daughter of Mary Margaret, Aileen Schaefer. We spoke about faith, trust and surrender. We spoke about the remarkable circle of life that brought us to this telephone conversation and life’s mysteries. I feel honored to take part in the telling of their story. Perhaps one day in the next century this sign will be exposed again and the story of J. J. Friel will come to light yet again. – Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, Nov 2011)
These are pictures I shot today on our way to comfort family in Howard Beach who got flooded out during last night’s storm surge. On the way into Howard Beach, we took Linden Blvd going east. Two cyclers were drag-racing down Linden, all the way to South Conduit. When we got to Howard Beach, the scene was solemn. Residents who had access to generators and sump-pumps were siphoning water out of their basements, while others were using buckets. Evidence of the power of the storm-surge is clearly illustrated by the cars that were lifted and moved onto curbs as the water levels retreated. The Army Corp lined Cross Bay Blvd, and cars were being directed by traffic police since the power was out in the neighborhood.
The canal that runs up along Cross Bay Blvd in Howard Beach began to rise above flood stages at about 7PM on Monday night and the ankle deep water was cascading throughout the entire neighborhood on both sides of Cross Bay Blvd. By high tide at around 8PM the seawater was rushing through the entire community and was waist deep in areas closer to the canal. Old Howard Beach, which is between the canal and Jamaica Bay suffered worse than the rest of Howard Beach, although the Rockwood Park area, which to locals is called “New Howard Beach” was also badly flooded – with water coming from both the bay and canal. Hamilton Beach, which is the only designated area in Zone A – was naturally devastated, as was Broad Channel. Residents in Zone B, adjacent to the canal should have been warned to evacuate or vacate their basements. Many basements in and around the canal area had water up to the ceilings, some only receiving a foot or less.
The house adjacent to the rear of Waldbaum’s parking lot had an electrical fire the moment the seawater entered the basement and burned to the ground in minutes, the residents escaping with only moments to spare. Personal effects like family photographs and religious items mixed with seawater, leaves and other debris as they quickly inundated basement apartments.
In Broad Channel, it was even more depressing. Most of the residents had already put their waterlogged furniture on the curbside. A boat had drifted into the median of this small island community that has witnessed many devastating floods in its history – but Sandy will be a hurricane that will long be remembered as the storm that uprooted their lives.
By 1908 William Howard owned 137 acres of land west of Hawtree Creek. The dredging had raised his land above the high water and more dredging would be on the way. Within the next decade the Shellbank Canal and East Hamilton Canal would be built and Hawtree Creek and Basin deepened. This was due to a government plan to build submarine pens within the sheltered creeks inside Jamaica Bay. The plan was eventually cancelled, but only after the dredging added more sand onto previously flood-prone marshes.
Bill Howard was now in a good position, even after the tragic loss of his hotel, the City of New York was debating various plans for Jamaica Bay area improvements and Howard stood to gain regardless of which competing plan was adopted.
The Bay Harbor Plan was the most ambitious. It called for construction of shipping ports, terminals, customs and warehouse facilities on the bay islands, the deepening of channels to support ocean going firefighters and the creation of a new port to relieve congestion in New York’s inner harbor
In addition, this plan called for the construction of twin Cross Island Canals from Flushing to Jamaica Bay. This would allow ocean-going ships to travel from Long Island Sound to Jamaica Bay and back without having to circumnavigate all of Long Island. The twin canals were surveyed to run just east of today’s Van Wyck Expressway.
The Tompkins Plan, in comparison, favored private and residential construction instead of a second port. These plans were proposed before the invention of the airplane. The Tompkins Plan meant more dredging and the bulk heading of waterfront property and encouragement of private real estate development. Howard couldn’t lose by either of the two plans; he could build either homes or port facilities.
The Tompkins Plan was approved in 1912 (while Tompkins was NYC Commissioner of Docks, making the Cross Island canals a footnote to Queens history. This decision gave a green light to William Howard for home construction; Howard Estates would soon become a reality.
Developers flocked to the area after the Tompkins Plan was approved. E.E. Meacham & Sons advertised in the New York papers to sell lots at Ramblersville starting at $59! Signs were erected in Ramblersville and South Aqueduct announcing the development of “Marcella Park. ” But the locals on the creek lived in Ramblersville and had no need to change their name to suit developers. It seemed that everyone now wanted a piece of the action, but Howard was already in place with the acreage in hand; none of the newcomers would catch him now. Home construction was about to begin in earnest on both sides of the railroad.
The first project for the Howard Estates Development Company was construction of Sand Beach and a private park for residents of Howard Beach Estates. Howard would build his beach and park (now Frank M. Charles Memorial Park) before he built his first home! - Howard Beach dot com
- American Institute of Graphic Arts [AIGA] – Lettering Grows in Brooklyn