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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Every Egg Guaranteed: 1936

Every Egg Guaranteed: 1936

December 1936. "Store at which Mrs. Hotchfield does her shopping. Washington Avenue, the Bronx." Home of the guaranteed two-day egg, as well as "greatest literature." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.

 

The shop around the corner

The building in this photo (numbered 489) would not have been located on Washington Avenue, because the lowest address number on that street was, and is, in the 800s. However, on cross-streets in the Claremont and Tremont neighborhoods of the Bronx, buildings that faced south, immediately east of Washington Avenue, have numbers at or very close to 489. At that point, many of those cross-streets also have a gentle downward slope toward the west like the one reflected in this photo.

All it's cracked up to be

The idea of a 2 day old egg was that it was fresh off the farm. It had to get to the Bronx from NJ by truck or train, and that was fast. Until the 1980's there was an egg store on East 7th St in NYC, that was only opened on Thursdays that had eggs fresh from the NJ farms.

Bakeries abounded, so bread was baked on premises, so it was fresh today, day old tomorrow. Day old bread today is meaningless.

Essen Family Empire

This is where it all began when young Delica T. opened her first lunch counter.

Eggs guaranteed

What? Try to bring back a cracked egg? And how about 2 day old eggs? What about 3 day old bread?

Hoffmans

Hoffmans Beverages came from a plant in College Point Queens. They were Hoffman's in the early 1980s and then the compamy changed hands a few times. I am pretty sure the plant now bottles for Coke and Schweppes.

Before e-Books

Not only could you obtain fresh eggs, but you had a selection of newspapers to keep you informed - and one of them, the New York Journal, offered its readers the opportunity to read a book a week of the "Greatest Literature". Not bad considering they were still in the Great Depression.

Hoffman Beverages

They came in a distinct fluted bottle. For a while the jingle was:

You don't have to go to university
To know what you should do when you are thirsty.
Call for Hoffman. Drink Hoffman.
It's the best thing you can do when you are thirsty.

Which was superceded by:
The prettiest girl I ever saw
Was sipping Hoffman soda through a straw.

Lovely curtains

I wonder which owner also lived upstairs. The apartment looks warm and inviting in the midst of a (probably) struggling neighborhood.

Ebling's Beer

It's not surprising that the deli carried Ebling's Beer, as that was a local Bronx brand that had been around since the 1860's. Its schtick was the use of natural caves to age its beer. Within a decade of this photo's date, however, the brewery shut down. The cave entrances were covered over and their very existence forgotten over the years.

Until just a few years ago, when a construction crew was most surprised to come across the old caves, sealed off for over 65 years. People first thought that the caves were Cold War-era fallout shelters until some research revealed their true purpose. Alas, the caves were empty, with no decades-old brewski to be found.

Home-Made Hot Dogs!

If I am reading the Yiddish in the delicatessen window sign correctly, it says "kosher sausage factory." I guess they make them on the premises.

Breyer's Ice Cream

Between the "Soda" and "Candy" signs on the upper right, we see the still-familiar (and still-delicious) name of Breyer's Ice Cream. They even provided the hanging sign visible from the sidewalks.

I don't know anything about Hoffman's Beverages, as advertised on the right-side door kick, or the apparently popular Tom's River Farm Eggs of New Jersey, but thank heavens Breyer's endures.

 
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