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Frosty Drinks: 1950

New York circa 1950. "Store at 513 East 79th Street." Also known as "Stopping by Deli on a Snowy Evening." 4x5 film negative by John M. Fox. View full size.

New York circa 1950. "Store at 513 East 79th Street." Also known as "Stopping by Deli on a Snowy Evening." 4x5 film negative by John M. Fox. View full size.


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This block of East 79th Street, which is way over on the far Upper East Side of Manhattan, between York Ave. and the FDR drive, is today a combination of the old and the new. On the south side of the street is a row of nice pre-war apartment buildings, with interesting roof lines, and front doors, and window details, very similar to the sort of detail hinted at in this photo, above and around the storefront. Today, the north side of the block - where the 513 E. 79th St. Grocery & Deli was located 65 years ago - is, unfortunately, a boring line-up of flat-faced, largely uninteresting 1960-1970 vintage apartment buildings, one of which (515 E. 79th St.) appears to be well in excess of 30 stories tall. In fact, I don't see any indication that there is even a 513 E. 79th St. in existence anymore. The numbering on the street appears to go from 509 to 515.

I'm guessing there was a small soda fountain in this little deli, and that the proprietor made an egg cream to be proud of. Probably cost one whole nickel.


That cow's head advertisement on the door certainly looks familiar. What product does it advertise? Anyone remember?

[Elsie the Cow for Borden's dairy products. -tterrace]

Seismotite source

I believe that this was the source of said seismotite. I was in this mine in the mid 1960s, and it is extensive.

Into the mists of history

513 East 79th is long gone. A large apartment building, completed in the early 1960's, now occupies the site. East 79th Street was once called "Hungarian Broadway" after its dominant ethnic group. Its ethnic character would already have been in decline by the time of this photo and is all but gone today.


I doubt many people knew what Seismotite was, (I didn't) it's the trade name for pumice.

I have no idea how you activate Pumice, it comes from Volcanoes so activating it sounds pretty dangerous.

Small, Dark & Comforting

I remember stores like this when I was a kid (I was 2 in 1950).

The interiors were usually small but crowded with items, dark (sometimes store owners would not turn on the lights until it got dark), but nonetheless cozy and inviting.

Since they were basically "cellar" stores, they usually had no storeroom, but often had a small exit door in the rear leading to an alleyway.

Great places for a 2-year-old to explore.

The prettiest girl I ever saw

was sipping Hoffman's right through a straw!

Where Oh Where?

Is the wheelchair ramp? Perhaps a few decades into the future?


Whether you need a pack of Fatimas, a box of Supersuds (perhaps with a dish cloth inside), or a pound of sliced Genoa, this is the place to get it. Myriad needs attended, always with a wry, mock-hostile gibe or two for the regulars from Mr. Petrocelli or Mrs. Weinstein or Bobby McMahan behind the counter.

With both Elsie the Borden Cow and the Old Dutch lady emblazoned on the door, who would not find this a most welcoming establishment?

Activated Seismotite

Discovered by Madison Ave. geologists without a doubt. The age of modern chemistry helping housewives. What an amazing modern world we live in. 1949 Old Dutch Cleanser ad.

With apologies to Robert Frost

The steps are slippery, hard and steep,
But there are no hurdles I would not leap
For Schlitz to drink or else I weep,
For Schlitz to drink or else I weep.

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