Sunday, November 27, 2022

Buono’s Groc.

[230 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, c. 1939–1941. From the NYC Municipal Archives Collections. Click for a much larger view.]

I chose this photograph because it has everything. Everything is defined as a privilege sign, a Bell Telephone sign, an awning, a horse, an unattended child, neighborhood loafers (blocking the entrance to the upstairs apartments), a bicycle with an old-fashioned kickstand, trolley tracks, cobblestones, tattered movie posters (Don Ameche, Alice Faye, and Carmen Miranda starred in the 1941 film That Night in Rio), laundry hanging on a line, and a mysterious figure at a second-story window.

It occurs to me that so many stores in the olden days had no official name displayed. Sometimes a store was just “the store,” as in “I need a coupla things from the store.” I know the name of this store — sort of — because of a full-page advertisement listing Brooklyn purveyors of Doublemint gum. This address is listed under South Brooklyn as Buono’s Groc.:

[The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 11, 1941.]

And there’s Tony Buono, in the 1940 telephone directory:

Residents of 230 were associated with various mishaps and acts of mayhem through the years, both on and off the premises. Some incidents collected from newspaper articles available at Brooklyn Newsstand:

1886: a resident bit his brother-in-law’s lip
1887: a resident interfered with an arrest
1887: a resident was attacked and beaten
1896: a resident was in a fight and fired two shots
1904: a resident died of gas poisoning
1905: a resident was shot in “an Italian shooting bee”
1908: a resident was arrested for extortion
1910: a resident conspired in the theft of 2,000 cigars
1911: a resident died after eating toadstools, not
1931: a Buono son was stabbed by “the star boarder”

That last incident is the only one to which the Buono name is attached. George Buono had accused the boarder of being too friendly with Mrs. Buono, his mother.

A son of the Buono family, Private Valentino A. Buono, was killed in the Second World War in 1944. A Brooklyn Daily Eagle list of casualties identifies his mother as Mrs. Madeline A. Buono.

Today 230 Van Brunt is a three-family residence. Estimated value: $1,796,700. Not a horse in sight.

Related reading
More OCA posts with photographs from the NYC Municipal Archives

comments: 2

Elaine said...

Coincidentally, today's NYT puzzle has FUSES in it, clued as "Contents of a household box"

Anonymous said...