New York City Candy Stores?

Author
Hepcat
Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 374
  • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Status: offline
2012/11/14 23:34:29 (permalink)

New York City Candy Stores?

The traditional New York City and area candy store was a combination of a more modern convenience store with a newstand and lunch counter/soda fountain. As such, they sold everything from milk, bread and cigarettes to soda pop, comic books, baseball cards, school supplies, model kits, carded rack toys, bubble gum and penny candy in a space much smaller than in a present day 7-11 store.  People on their way to work would grab a coffee and buttered bun with a newspaper at their local candy store in the mornings. Newspapers were a particularly big business since New Yorkers would buy as many as two or three newspapers per day in the early sixties. As such the candy stores were badly hurt by the New York newspaper strike of 1962-63.
 
Here's an excellent writeup by a fellow whose parents operated Harry's Candy Store on 164th Street in Flushing, Queens:
 
Harry's Candy Store
 
Do you recall any such stores in your neighbourhood, whether in New York or elsewhere? What were the lunch counters like? Which candy stores served the best hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and BLT sandwiches, milkshakes and ice cream sundaes? Do any still survive in your neighbourhood?
 

#1

16 Replies Related Threads

    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/14 23:58:01 (permalink)
    Just up the corner all sharing the block the same candy stores operate almost exactly as they have my entire life...

    Deli-Ette
    Elbaum's
    Jack Newman's
    Optimo

    We call them buttered rolls.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/11/15 00:02:17
    #2
    bartl
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1265
    • Joined: 2004/07/06 23:33:00
    • Location: New Milford, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/16 08:10:54 (permalink)
    There were several in my neighborhood (Bay Ridge in Brooklyn) when I was growing up. I recall one, in particular, where the elderly owner had a (not entirely undeserved) reputation for hating kids. It was taken over (around the time I was 11 or so) by a nice guy in his late 30's/early 40's who had a couple of his own kids our age, who would help out at the store; that became my regular place. As far as I can tell, they are all gone.
     
    When I was in college on the Upper West Side, there was a candy store with an owner who loved to talk business with college students interested in the same. Also long since closed.
     
    What remains is what we used to call "newsstands" (what we now call "newsstands" are little kiosks on the sidewalk); like candy stores but without the counter.
     
    Bart
    #3
    Hepcat
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 374
    • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
    • Location: Toronto, Ontario
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/16 15:26:16 (permalink)
    CCinNJ

    Just up the corner all sharing the block the same candy stores operate almost exactly as they have my entire life...

    Deli-Ette
    Elbaum's
    Jack Newman's
    Optimo


    Wow! So cool. Hopefully you still patronize them for your newspapers, comic books, baseball cards, bubble gum, grilled cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. Which has the best lunch counter?
     
    CCinNJ We call them buttered rolls.

     
    I stand corrected. Buttered rolls it is!
     

    post edited by Hepcat - 2012/11/16 15:28:37
    #4
    Hepcat
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 374
    • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
    • Location: Toronto, Ontario
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/17 17:12:20 (permalink)
    There was a classic New York style candy store on Richmond Street in downtown London, Ontario directly across the street from St. Peter's School where I was obligated by my parents to attend extracurricular language classes between 4:00 and 5:30 Saturday afternoons. Davis Variety was its name. It had the obligatory lunch counter which the fellow worked himself. I was never drawn to get anything at the lunch counter though (not that I would have had the money anyway of course). Unlike the lunch counters at the downtown Metropolitan, Kresge and Woolworths stores, it was pretty spartan and dingy and just didn't appeal to me. Mr. Davis himself was almost a comic book caricature of the old guy working a hot grill and his lunch counter never seemed to have any customers on Saturday afternoons. He probably got the bulk of his business frying up breakfast and lunch for the teachers at St. Peter's. And of course everybody smoked and read newspapers in those days including the teachers and the respective bishops, priests and staff at the adjacent St. Peter's Basilica and St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral.  
      
    The Davis Variety had most everything else to tempt a young boy with a quarter or two in his pocket though. It was one of the very few stores I knew that stocked Black Cat Bubble Gum which was licorice flavoured and was somehow chewier than Bazooka or even Dubble Bubble. I remember happily chewing on Black Cat and blowing black bubbles for hours!
     

     
    I also very clearly remember buying baseball cards at Davis Variety every so often:
     

     

    And I would always peruse the comic books on the wooden magazine rack that was located on the other side of the store from the lunch counter. The excitement I felt seeing certain new issues of Green Lantern and the Flash for the first time is still seared in my mind to this very day.
     

     
    In fact, I'm sure those comics are the reason why I still remember the Davis Variety so vividly. The magazine rack was also well situated to sneak a peak at the insides of the titty mags. There would of course have been something wrong with any little boy who wouldn't glance at pictures of bare naked ladies given a chance. In fact, I'm sure that the priests from St. Peter's and St. Paul's, if not the bishops themselves, would have been taking the occasional peak as well.
     
    While St. Peter's and St. Paul's cathedrals are still there, 1979 was the last year for St. Peter's School and the Davis Variety has also been gone for decades. I have a vague recollection of once getting a chocolate milkshake that really wasn't very good at Davis' but sadly I never got to sample a cheeseburger there. You never know what you've got till it's gone.
     

    post edited by Hepcat - 2013/01/30 10:15:16
    #5
    Pigiron
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1384
    • Joined: 2005/05/11 17:51:00
    • Location: Bergen County, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/17 20:37:20 (permalink)
    I can recall dozens of different candy stores/newsstands all over Brooklyn, Queens and even into Nassau County throughout my life- some with lunch counters some without.  I wasted an awful lot of time and money at those places.  The funny thing is, I wasn't aware that any of them had a name.  The all had signs above the door for a product- like Opitmo Cigars or Coca-Cola.  
    #6
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/17 21:02:36 (permalink)
    Our neighborhood candy stores never really had the lunch counter business (Optimo has a counter and does some limited items).

    Deli-Ette makes potato salad macaroni salad cole slaw fish cakes fresh roasted meats entrees for takeout...as well as the traditional candy store business. People travel many miles for a visit. A throwback that looks exactly as it did...since way before I arrived.

    Elbaum's does plenty of cold cut business bagels bread pastries & rolls from Brooklyn daily. They have everything from throwback candy individual ice cream packages...whiffle balls to sidewalk chalk to fresh barrel pickles.

    Jack Newman's used to use the slogan The Legal Bookie" because of lottery traffic. Model toys candy cigarettes 6 daily newspapers...and name anything else and you can find it there. Shoe polish? Sure. Water gun? Yes. Paddle ball? Over there. Paper clips? Of course.

    Diners are so popular here in NJ...candy stores carved their own business without that being the focus. Good decision since they all do a thriving business with very loyal customers....that have been customers like my family for four generations.

    Every weekend and all summer I had all the lists of things I had to get on envelopes. I usually handed the wrong list in at the wrong store but they knew the drill...and knew I was supposed to go to one of the other stores first. They told me to go take this here or there while they got things together. It was like a full-time job.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/11/17 21:19:13
    #7
    chicagostyledog
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3283
    • Joined: 2003/09/10 16:13:00
    • Location: Hot Dog University Chicago, IL
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/17 23:54:34 (permalink)
    I met Jerry Cohen, owner of Economy Candy on my first trip to NYC years ago. Jerry's dad opened the store in 1937 and Jerry continues the family tradition with his wife and son. The store has been voted the best variety and discount candy in the city and I can personally attest to that fact. If you're a baby boomer looking to take a walk down memory lane, this place belongs on your bucket list. www.economycandy.com
    #8
    billyboy
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2391
    • Joined: 2005/01/23 02:28:00
    • Location: New York City, NY
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 09:44:02 (permalink)
    CSD, I'm not sure that Economy is a candy store in the sense that Hepcat was asking about but it is a pretty awesome place in it's own right.  I can walk there from my apartment and they have such great deals and candies that are hard to find most other places.  Many of them are the candies of my youth I used to buy at the concession stand after my Little League games.  It's one of my "go-to" spots to take out of town guests and I've filled stocking for many years with treats from Economy and that neighborhood is a Roadfooder's dream! 
    One of my favorite candy stores in NYC is Lexington Candy Shop, at the corner of 83rd Street & Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side.  Egg creams, malteds, floats, liverwurst sandwiches, elbow worn counters, men in white coats, an actual working soda jerk handle and a staff that seems to know all the locals all make for a great experience.  
    I went here with Ayersian in August 2011 and I do regret not taking pictures of the interior:  http://www.roadfood.com/F...184&high=lexington
    #9
    Pigiron
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1384
    • Joined: 2005/05/11 17:51:00
    • Location: Bergen County, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 10:03:03 (permalink)
    Ditto to what BillyBoy said.  Economy Candy is a "worth a trip from anywhere" type place- if you're into commercial candy.  It's really a cool place.  It's literally a candy store, but, it's not a "candy store".  
     
    Also, Lexington Candy Shop is indeed a great place to take a step back in time, but the prices are firmly Upper East Side circa 2012.  I go to Gem Spa for egg creams.  
    #10
    Hepcat
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 374
    • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
    • Location: Toronto, Ontario
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 10:30:14 (permalink)
    Pigiron

    I can recall dozens of different candy stores/newsstands all over Brooklyn, Queens and even into Nassau County throughout my life- some with lunch counters some without.  I wasted an awful lot of time and money at those places. 

     
    How was that time and money "wasted"? Were you sitting in a bar drinking? Now that would have been time and money wasted. I guess buying cigarettes in a candy store would be money wasted but everything else those candy stores offered is what made life worth living for both adults and especially kids, e.g. grilled cheese sandwiches, milkshakes, Dixie cups, potato chips, comic books, baseball cards, model kits, rack toys, monster mags, etc, etc.


    post edited by Hepcat - 2012/11/18 14:44:09
    #11
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 14:01:47 (permalink)
    You'll often be able to find many of the old candy stores also called bodegas these days. Especially in NYC.

    Here's a nice site...

    http://ephemeralnewyork.w...ry/bizarre-deli-names/
    #12
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 14:07:06 (permalink)
    Scouting NY is a real gem...

    http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=389
    #13
    CCinNJ
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7778
    • Joined: 2008/07/24 17:31:00
    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 14:22:01 (permalink)
    My Mother will tell you about all the wasted money she spent when the "Spaldeen" balls fell down the sewer...every 10 minutes.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/11/18 14:25:38
    #14
    Michael Hoffman
    Double-chop Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 18255
    • Joined: 2000/07/01 08:52:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 14:56:27 (permalink)
    Spauldeens, indeed! I used  mine at John's, half a block away from my house, on the corner of Edgewood and West Rock avenues in New Haven), along with candy (especially Sportsmans Bracers), comic books, newspapers, ice cream cones with chocolate "ants" and egg creams.
    #15
    Hepcat
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 374
    • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
    • Location: Toronto, Ontario
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/18 16:16:21 (permalink)
    billyboyCSD, I'm not sure that Economy is a candy store in the sense that Hepcat was asking about but it is a pretty awesome place in it's own right

     
    Correct on both counts. Economy sounds like the Sugar Mountain or Tutti Fruitti stores in Toronto: 
     

     

     
    They're both small chains that carry old favourites in bulk bins together with exotic imports such as Necco Wafers, Sugar Daddies and Barratt's Sherbet Fountains imported from such far away places as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Missouri, Liverpool and Manchester. Awesome, yes but hardly candy stores in the traditional sense of corner kid friendly shops. For one thing, prices at these Sugar Mountain and Tutti Fruitti outlets are far too high. 
     
    billyboyOne of my favorite candy stores in NYC is Lexington Candy Shop, at the corner of 83rd Street & Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side.  Egg creams, malteds, floats, liverwurst sandwiches, elbow worn counters, men in white coats, an actual working soda jerk handle and a staff that seems to know all the locals all make for a great experience.
     

     
    Yes, yes, yes! That would be a traditional candy store!
     

    Pigiron Also, Lexington Candy Shop is indeed a great place to take a step back in time, but the prices are firmly Upper East Side circa 2012. 

    Oh boooo!!! Now that isn't right!
     
    " />
    post edited by Hepcat - 2012/11/18 16:19:25
    #16
    Hepcat
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 374
    • Joined: 2003/10/06 15:06:00
    • Location: Toronto, Ontario
    • Status: offline
    Re:New York City Candy Stores? 2012/11/20 15:45:50 (permalink)
    CCinNJ

    You'll often be able to find many of the old candy stores also called bodegas these days. Especially in NYC.

    Here's a nice site...

    http://ephemeralnewyork.w...ry/bizarre-deli-names/
     
    Scouting NY is a real gem...

    http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=389


    Cool links! Here's another view of the Lexington Candy Shop:
     

     

    #17
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1