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Bonbon Noir: 1949

April 28, 1949. "Barton's, business at 790 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Exterior." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

April 28, 1949. "Barton's, business at 790 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Exterior." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Today’s Top 5

200 million

"Millennial/Gen-Z/Gen-X milieu of Brooklyn today"

You do realize that those generations include everyone born in the fifty year span between 1965 and 2015ish, right? That's over 200 million people in the US, or nearly two-thirds of the country's population.

Or maybe that refers to the so-called "hipster" population of Brooklyn? Besides "hipster" not really being a thing now for many years, it only ever applied to two or three small neighborhoods of a borough with more than 2.5 million residents.

Authentic Retro

I do not have a sweet tooth, so my appreciation of this scene is strictly visual. The door/entrance, neon on stainless facade, reverse channel letters with exposed neon is just beautiful. Designers today are attempting to simulate this very classic look.

But what really caught my eye are the small showcards at the bottom of the interior window display placed among the candy. In large cities, small signs such as these were often the mainstay for sign shops. If you were fast and had good layout ability, you could make a living at these. The larger paper sign above was no doubt a promotional poster from some manufacturer.

I would like to see this in color to just see the neon color.

C'est si Bonbon

I can not imagine a store that only sells bonbons.

Design disconnect

I feel like there's a huge aesthetic gulf between whoever designed the neon sign and whoever designed the window display.

No bodies

In all the Gottscho pictures of commercial enterprises, he appears to follow one of the strict rules of architectural photography: no cluttering up the shot with humans. God forbid anyone should link these environments directly with the people who’d use them. Maybe the bodies would serve as distractions. In any event, whether Gottscho shoots stores from the outside like this or interiors of department stores, it always seems to be nighttime. The presence of people is naturally assumed but never shown. I don’t find it creepy, but maybe just a little bit clinical.

Would fit in today

This business would feel right at home in the Millennial/Gen-Z/Gen-X milieu of Brooklyn today.

Just one (long) sniff

I'd love to stick my head into that window display and simply inhale. Barton's bonbonniere's subliminal message: Need a gift for May 8th? We have enough for EVERY MOM in the five boroughs.

Light and dark

As brightly lit and glassy and vibrant as Barton's appears, there's the place next door with the blinds drawn, though it does proclaim a public telephone.

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