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Forgotten Storefronts in Williamsburg

06/01/2010 08:41 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm always on the lookout for the remnants of old storefronts. You can pretty much find them in any residential area that has gone through a period of economic decline, and Williamsburg is no exception. One in particular I've always wondered about is at the corner of North 5th Street and Berry Street...

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Now boarded up and most likely part of an apartment, this was clearly some sort of establishment at one time. But what?

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I was looking through BrooklynPix.com, an incredible site with hundreds of Brooklyn pictures spanning the past century, and happened to find a picture of the intersection taken in 1960 showing it as a bar & grill.

Picture courtesy BrooklynPix.com - Check out the site

for hundreds of amazing Brooklyn pictures

Incredibly, if you follow the roofline, you'll see that very little has changed on the block in the ensuing 50 years.

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Wish I could read the name of the bar. I also wish New York still had those awesome one-way signs.

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I'm curious at what point the windows were shuttered over. Are the window frames left over from the last bar on the premises?

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I wouldn't be surprised if the lanterns date back to its bar days as well:

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Next to the bar is another storefront space - perhaps a continuation of the bar? Or maybe a separate retail store:

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My absolute favorite former storefront in Williamsburg is the old barber shop on Driggs Ave btw. North 7th & 8th Streets.

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Frankly, it almost seems too perfect, like someone knowingly hung the American flag and broken barber pole. Regardless, it's a beautiful storefront, and I can only assume the owner is sitting on it until the right price is offered.

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The broken barber pole:

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I love the segmented blocks - I hope this eventually gets restored.

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It's funny where these old shops turn up. Here's one on North 4th Street between Bedford & Berry in an otherwise generic apartment...

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...But if you look closely at it, you'll see some neat details in the woodwork:

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These arches hold up the windows (though most of the design elements have been lost under smears of paint):

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Spiraling poles border the windows:

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One more I've always wondered about can be found at Grand Street and Bedford Ave. Of all the places I've mentioned, it boggles my mind that this hasn't been opened yet as a store or restaurant.

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Two enormous columns, big corner picture windows on each side...

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...and a really neat wreath encircling a window above the front door.

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And hey, while I'm in the neighborhood, one of my absolute favorite Brooklyn storefronts, and a great example of what all of the above could become with a bit of elbow grease:

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Got a favorite storefront relic in New York? Post in the comments!

-SCOUT

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