462 Columbus Avenue
B&W NYC Tax Photo of 462 Columbus Avenue

View of 462 Columbus Avenue from south east; Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives

The A.S. & I. Market Building

by Tom Miller, for They Were Here, Landmark West’s Cultural Immigrant Initiative

In 1891, F. H. Walker erected a one-story “brick, frame and glass store” at 462 Columbus Avenue, designed by architect T. E. Thomson.  He quickly sold it to Adolph F. Ellison and his wife, who apparently already had a tenant for the building. 

On October 25, 1891, an advertisement in the New York World offered space in “the Astor Market, 462 Columbus Avenue,” to a fruit and vegetable stand.  There were two Astor Markets, this one and another at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.  Run by brothers Arthur, Samuel and Isidore Bloch, the butcher stores were high-end.  During the summer months, when well-to-do New Yorkers were away from the city at fashionable resorts, they ran a branch in Saratoga Springs. 

On July 26, 1902, The National Provisioner profiled Arthur Bloch, saying he was “senior proprietor of the well-known ‘Astor Market,’ which, until recently, stood at Sixtieth street and Fifth Avenue.”  Now, at 437 Broadway, that store was the only one of the Bloch shops still to be called the Astor Market.  The Columbus Avenue store was known as the A. S. & I. Market, as were three newer branches.

Well-heeled female shoppers did not carry packages.  Delivery was expected not only from department stores, but from markets like this one.  To meet their customers’ demands, in December 1898 the Bloch brothers hired the architectural firm of Buchman & Deisler to design a “two story brick and stone stable, to contain 17 stalls and also living-rooms for stablemen” on 90th Street near Amsterdam Avenue.

In 1982, 462 Columbus Avenue was given a new storefront for the new tenant

An advertisement in 1907 boasted, “Choicest Meats, Fish, Philadelphia and Western Poultry, Game and Provisions, Birds of every description.”   A decade later, the neighborhood had greatly changed, as reflected in a 1917 ad in the Columbia Alumni News:

Once upon a time three men well versed in the Meat business decided to open a market between 82d and 83rd Streets on Columbus Avenue.

Many years have passed since then, changes almost unbelievable have taken place in the neighborhood, new buildings have continually taken the place of the older structures, and yet that old landmark still remains, though, of course, its interior has been remodeled to make room for modern apparatus and appliances.

A business as old, as reliable as this, is surely worthy of your patronage.

The A. S. & I. Bloch Market remained in the building at least through the early years of the Great Depression.  By the early 1940s, it was home to Westwood Market, a grocery and butcher store.  The storefront was given an Art Deco remodeling, with a stepped parapet outlined in neon-tubing.

Salvatore Acqursta ran a Schwinn Bicycle Store here in the 1960s and 1970s, selling new and used bikes.  The city experienced a crime wave of bicycle thefts starting in 1969.  In May the following year, Acqursta told a reporter from The New York Times, “last year he began to receive a call a day from someone describing a stolen bicycle.”

In 1982, 462 Columbus Avenue was given a new storefront for the new tenant, The Original Ray’s Pizza, run by Sicilian immigrant Rosolino Mangano.  The Art Deco parapet was removed (or covered) by a billboard-like panel emblazoned with the pizzeria’s name.  And, despite the confident “Original Ray’s” name, this was one of several Ray’s Pizza shops throughout the city that claimed to be “the original.”

Four decades after moving into the surprisingly surviving building, The Original Ray’s Pizza is still here.

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


462 Columbus Avenue


Be a part of history!

Shop local to support the business currently at 462 Columbus Avenue:

Let's Keep in Touch!

Let's Keep in Touch!

Want the latest news?
Care to share about something in the neighborhood?
Be the first to hear about upcoming events?

Join the LW! email list!

You're Subscribed!

Share This