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Regarding the location of the Starr St. pretzel factory (mentioned earlier), I received the following information from one “Bobby I.” :
“The pretzel factory was located on the even side of Starr Street, between Wilson and Knickerbocker, closer to Knickerbocker Avenue. I lived on Starr between Wilson and Central, and my brother and I used to buy pretzels and sell them on Knickerbocker Avenue. We used to pay 2 cents per and sell them one for 3 cents or 2 for a nickel. There used to be a candy store around the corner from St. Joseph’s church and after 9:30 mass on Sundays, we would go to the candy store and buy all loose candy for a penny or two.”
The name sounds familiar, but I’m not sure if that’s the place.
I remember a typical diner setup in the front (booths, counter) with a dining room in the back. The menu was typical diner fare with, perhaps, a couple of German dishes as was typical in the neighborhood at the time (over 30 years ago). The place was definitely under the tracks. Does that sound like Maasbach’s?
According to this Excel document I found on the web, the 9G opened in 1964 and closed in 1985.
The same document makes tantalizing references to two other local drive-ins: the Fishkill Drive-In (1955-1980) and yet another one in Hyde Park called the Auto Vision (1949-1961).
Is yet another piece of old Ridgewood about to slip through our fingers?
I drive past the Middlehope every now and then. It looks more and more deteriorated every time I pass, a depressing sight on a depressing stretch of route 9W.
This drive-in screened porno movies in its later days. This was possible because the screen was not visible from the highway. Sneaking in on foot through the woods was a popular pastime for the local teenagers.
To the best of my recollection, the 9G drive-in closed down sometime around the early or mid ‘80s.
I can verify that the two drive-ins near me (Overlook and Hyde Park) do a bang-up business in the summer, so there’s definitely a market for drive-ins. Now let’s bring back the automat and the drive-in restaurant!
I believe a handful of drive-ins have actually OPENED in recent years, in a modest reversal of a long-time trend. I don’t have corroborating data at the moment to back that up, but I distinctly remember reading that somewhere within the past couple of years
I have no money to offer to this worthy cause, but I can offer my expertise if it ever gets to that point. I design and build audio and video systems for a living—mostly television studio/broadcast type work, but I have done a couple of auditoriums and theaters.
Like its sister drive-in in Hyde Park, I love this place and have been going there for years. Long live drive-ins!
I’ve been going to the HP Drive-In for years and years. I’m so glad it’s still around… We almost lost it a few years ago.
There’s not just a local audience for “ethnic” acts, but also for “indie” films and music, with all the hipsters moving into the Bushwick area. It could work!
NFH, I’ve sent an email to you and Al. I wish you the best of luck, and I’d be happy to do what I can to help although I’m short on money, resources and connections ;)
As someone whose family roots in Ridgewood go back a century or more, I feel sick about this. I really hope the theater can be saved. It would be great to see it reborn as a venue for indie films, plays, live music, etc. And the Museum of Sound Recording was still looking for a home last time I asked (after they lost their space at RKO Keith’s in Richmond Hill).
Since the subject of pretzels has already come up a few times, do any of you remember the location of the pretzel factory on Starr St.? This is just to satisfy my idle curiosity. I asked my Pop but he doesn’t remember.
I noticed that the quality of NY street pretzels in general took a big dive sometime during the Giuliani era. But after a lot of trial and error, I’ve been able to produce a very satisfactory old-style pretzel at home. Here’s my recipe for anyone who wants to give it a shot:
I was blown away to learn of Jahn’s closing. I ate lunch there on November 24th and saw no indications that it was to be their last day in business!
I was bringing my Mom to visit our old neighborhood, her first visit in 30-odd years. Although I had planned for us to eat lunch in Ridgewood, I happened to get off the expressway at the Hillside Ave. exit and as I made my way to Myrtle Ave., I passed by Jahn’s and was seized by the urge to stop there. It turned out to be a good decision; I’m glad I got to see it one last time before it faded into history. I’m pleased to report that the food and ice cream were very good even at the end.
I posted about this in a “Death of NYC Culture” thread on the Coney Island message board and a fellow who calls himself “Switchback” offered the following uncorroborated info:
“BTW, here is what I was told happened to Jahn’s by someone in Richmond Hill. When the original Jahn’s decided to close up business they instead leased the store to someone else who operated it as Jahn’s. A few years back the family that owned the building sold it to a different owner who was the one who decided to wait out the lease, auction off the Jahn’s artifacts ( which belonged to the building and not the person leasing ) and to lease the storefront to a corporate chain restaurant who could afford a larger lease. So for the first time in Richmond Hill’s history they will have a chain restaurant. In the case of Jahn’s the chain that has the lease is Montezuma’s.”
So there you have it. Pretty lame, if that’s how it really went down.
As a teenager, my old man worked as a skate guard at Hillside in the ‘50s, I’m sure he must have run the “Rink to the Sink” gamut a number of times! I’d ask him about it but I don’t want to bum him out by reminding him of things that are gone.
Heh heh… No, not the same computer. I’m 40 years old; it would be pretty sad if I were still living at home ;)
Do any of you still live in the neighborhood and have a digital camera? It would be interesting to get a current photo, taken from the same perspective, and compare the two scenes—almost exactly 60 years apart!
What was the fate of Gottlieb’s deli? Someone on another message board indicated that they moved to Kew Gardens, but the only Gottlieb’s I can find listed currently is in Williamsburg. I don’t know if there’s any relation.
I showed the picture to my father, and he remembers his Pop bringing home chocolate (I think that’s what he said) Easter eggs from Koletty’s.
The reason I think it’s pretzels is because if you look closely at his basket, there are round objects stacked up on the side, possibly sitting on a stick. This is consistent with my Dad’s recollections of selling pretzels on the streets of Ridgewood as a boy in the early ‘50s.
On the other side of the street, note the signs for Gottlieb’s deli and Koletty’s. I’m too young to remember these places, but I’ve heard of them.
The long exposure gives a ghostly appearance to the people walking by, which seems eerily appropriate.
Ron S. is my Dad. I guess his ears must have been burning :)
Hello, all. Amongst my modest collection of Ridgewood memorabilia I have a great photo of the Madison’s marquee and Myrtle Ave. from 1947. I’ve made a high-resolution scan of the photo and uploaded it here for your viewing pleasure:
It’s a 558kB JPEG. I wanted to keep the resolution high so one could make out the details, including the signs of businesses on Myrtle Ave. and the boy selling pretzels (I think) in front of the theater!
BWay, could you post an ISBN or other info on that “Our Community…” book? It sounds like something I’d like for my modest collection of Ridgewood-related ephemera.
By the way, I’ve got a great photo of the Madison’s marquee (circa 1947) which I’ll scan and post sometime.
Thanks to all for the warm welcome—and to Warren, my apologies. I just posted an on-topic message over on the page for the Grandview Theater, so I hope that redeems me somewhat.
I do have memories of going to the movies in Ridgewood; but since I was so young at the time, I couldn’t tell you if it was at the Ridgewood Theater, the Oasis, or someplace else. I remember a large, old-style theater—single-screen, of course—with baroque decorations, balconies, a loge, and smoking permitted in the “side” sections!
Here’s one last off-topic comment from me: I was in Ridgewood last summer, as I was taking the “scenic route” back north from Coney Island and I wanted to stop at Ehmer’s to pick up some jars of my beloved Bauer’s mustard. Since I was in no big hurry, I drove over to Grover Cleveland park and spent a very pleasant hour just hanging around. The park has been renovated and I’m pleased to report that it’s very nice, or at least that was my impression on that particular summer afternoon. The “sprinkler pool” has been replaced by a sort of jungle-gym village with fountains. As they have for decades, the kids of Ridgewood can enjoy frolicking in some cool running water in the heat of summer—without having to crack open a hydrant ;)
A lot has changed but Ridgewood still seems like a pretty nice neighborhood.
Please drop me a line at electronic (underscore) dave (at) hot mail dot com if anyone should manage to start a Ridgewood forum. I won’t have a lot to contribute but I’d love to read the messages.