Some Sites Along 13th Avenue in Brooklyn
In our first photograph at the corner of 39th Street and 13th Avenue, a once elegant building has been neglected and altered to detract from its original beauty. Portions of its roofline have been unmercifully lopped off at the building’s corner. Some of the ornamental features are still there, even the original building name. You just have to look for it. Near the roosting pigeons on the faded red roof just below what was certainly once an ornate cupola: The Abels and Gold Building.
Simon Abels and Louis Gold were Brooklyn real estate developers at the turn-of-the-century. The Abels Gold Realty Company developed and controlled buildings around the Borough Park and Bay Ridge neighborhoods. By the 1930’s Abels Gold Realty were gone. This building is the sole reminder of their real estate legacy.
Next, if you look down at the street at the same intersection, you will notice there used to be a trolley running along this stretch of road turning from 13th Avenue on to 39th Street. This small section of track was peeking through the asphalt.
Now the city talks about bringing back light railway (electric trolleys) to Brooklyn in areas that have limited transportation options like Red Hook along the Brooklyn waterfront. It’s a shame that taxpayers will fund a project costing billions of dollars for something that never should have been ripped out to begin with. Thank you, General Motors for years ago conspiring and bribing our elected officials to destroy the interurban trolley system.
Further up 13th Avenue near 42nd Street is Brach’s Sportswear whose sign looks like it is from the 1920s. Their motto “A well informed consumer is our best customer,” seems awfully similar to the now defunct Syms clothing stores motto, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” I wonder who was first with the saying? Brach’s apparently sells a lot of white shirts, a necessity in this neighborhood which has dozens of Yeshivas and synagogues where white shirts are the de rigueur for Hasidic Jewish boys and men.
What was amazing was that before demolition it seemed no one was going to salvage the well preserved mid-century neon sign for Stride Rite / Red Cross Shoes.
Mike and Frank from American Pickers would have been very excited by this beauty.
By 2016 the boarded up stores were gone and in their place was an empty lot, ready to built upon. Did someone save the sign? I hope so.