2330-2342 Broadway

View of 2330-2342 Broadway from north west; Courtesy NYC Municipal Archive

2330-2342 Broadway

by Tom Miller

In 1909 architect George F. Pelham designed a one-story store at the southeast corner of Broadway and 85th Street.  Known as a taxpayer, it most likely was intended to be temporary.  But in May 1917, the property’s owner, Gripp Realty Corp., hired Pelham to double its size by adding a second story.  The Real Estate Record & Guide reported that the $7,500 in renovations resulted in a “store and restaurant.”

In fact, there were several stores at street level.  In 1918 the Wasself Pharmacy occupied 2232 Broadway, and the Malanga Bros. laundry was in 2338.  By 1919 the Service Tire and Rubber Company’s main store was located at 2334.  The Sun published a regular column titled “Notes of the Row,” referring to Automobile Row, the long section of Upper Broadway lined with automobile-related businesses.  On December 21, 1919, it reported that Service Tire and Rubber Company had inaugurated “a novel plan to sell high grade mileage guaranteed tires on the partial payment plan.”  The article noted, “The main store at 2334 Broadway, at Eighty-fifth street, is popular with the autoists.”

A Service Tire and Rubber Company advertisement in the New-York Tribune on December 11 supported the report of installment payments.  “Pay for your tires while you are riding.  Reliable Automobile Owners can buy the highest grade tire with the largest guarantee on the installment plan.  25% down and the balance in weekly installments.”

It appeared the end of the line for the long and low building was near in 1983, when a demolition permit was granted.  Instead, however, the façade was updated. 

The building went through several more reconfigurations.  In 1923 it was renovated to accommodate six stores on the first floor and offices above.  At some point after 1941, the second floor was removed—possibly the result of a fire.  The second story was restored in 1965 when another renovation resulted in stores and a restaurant at sidewalk level, and a bowling alley on the second floor.  That was not the last of the remodeling.  Another renovation completed in 1973 resulted in three stores and a restaurant (Birdies Luncheonette) downstairs and a clothing store (Morris Bros.) upstairs.  Morris Bros., which stocked men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, remained through 1982.

In 1975 Szechuan Taste Restaurant replaced Birdies Luncheonette.  The same year the Peter Pan Cleaners operated from 2342 Broadway.

It appeared the end of the line for the long and low building was near in 1983, when a demolition permit was granted.  Instead, however, the façade was updated.  The restaurant space became Ancora Fair in 1985, described by The New York Times food critic Bryan Miller as “a cavernous, Italian restaurant specializing in grilled foods, salads and pastas.”  It was replaced by Nova Grill in 1996, at which time Kleinsleep mattress store took over the second floor.

In the first years of the 21st century, a Wells Fargo bank branch occupied the corner space.  But all the tenants would soon have to find new quarters.  The structure was demolished in 2018 to make way for The Apsley, an 18-floor senior living facility.

Tom Miller is a social historian and blogger at daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com


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