Heights History: Montague & Henry, Then & Now

The corner of Montague and Henry streets, at the current location of Andy’s Chinese, has no doubt seen a revolving door of businesses over the past 100+ years. But the actual building, constructed in 1900, has thankfully maintained its architectural integrity with surprising few changes, as we see from parallel Now & Then images from 1916 & 2008.

Long ago, on the lower level of 128 Montague was Kreinbrink & Steich Tailors. Above: John Wallace Insurance, a “New York Underwriters Agency.” Also note in this wintry image (there’s snow on Henry Street) the street sign and interesting light pole at the corner, which has certainly changed over the past 100 years.

Meanwhile, Melanie Hope Greenberg provided an image (below) of the same corner from the 1980s, first published on BHB in February 2009, which shows a cheese shop in the current location of Andy’s, and Hair Unlimited onto its left. On the upper level is Chuan Yuan Szechuan Restaurant. And across the street in the current location of Corcoran Realty are a dry cleaner and “Montague Meats.”

Next, a more modern photograph, taken in summer 2008, showing current Andy’s (which has been open for at least 17 years) and upstairs, Vegetarian Ginger—as well as the now-decimated beautiful tree to the left of the image, which was wiped out Feb. 29 when a truck swiped the corner. And finally, the corner today.

According to public records, the building is owned by Adkha Realty Corp., and has a market value of $1.6 million. Total square footage of the building, including six walk-up residential units, is 8,022 sf.

(Photos: New York Public Library, Melanie Hope Greenberg, Chuck Taylor)

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  • chris

    The store in the Corcoran’s space is “Montague Meats” The word underneath is “Porchettas” (” a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition-Wikipedia”)

  • She’s Crafty

    I had hot and sour soup for the first time ever at Chuan Yuan. And, beef with black mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Thank you Melanie for providing such memorable photographs. You’re the best.

  • Neil

    I remember when the space occupied by Andy’s was the home of Boston Laundry. I think (waiting for bornhere to pounce!) the space directly above was occupied by Boss Realty, unless it was the equivalent spot in the building just next door to the east.


    Does anyone remember Peter Reeves, the grocery across the street just to the west of the old Spector Drugs? I remember the butcher’s space in the back of the store, with its sawdust-covered floor.

    Anyway, after they expanded into a supermarket of sorts, they just weren’t the same; no more bicycle delivery cart out on the sidewalk, now that they were big time.

    When did they fold?

  • GHB

    The laundry folded?

  • Neil

    Reply to GHB (March 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm):

    Yep, their business began to shrink, and, pressed for time, they tried to renegotiate their lease. Bad move–the landlord got steamed and hung them out to dry.

  • bornhere

    Neil — I totally forgot about the Boss presence on Montague (how could I?!), but I have minimal recall of the stores there in the late 50s-early 60s; however, I do remember Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense, a great clothing store, which was in the current Vegetarian Ginger location; that must have been some time around 1964. And yes to Peter Reeves.
    We should be careful here, GHB and NeiI: these reminiscences might upset Willowtowncop; but luckily for her, blogs, unlike actual newspapers, are not really permanent press.

  • Neil

    Reply to bornhere (March 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm):

    Good one!

    And thanks for the heads up on Willowtowncop; I wouldn’t want to agitate her.

    By the way, you asked earlier:

    For the longest time, I’ve tried to remember the location of a place called, as I remember, Thompson’s (sp?) Luncheonette. I used to go there for lunch occasionally during the summer of 1957 when I was living on Remsen Street, and I’d get a grilled cheese sandwich and a Coke every time, for about sixty-five cents or so.

    Life was good. And cheap.

    I wonder if that was the spot to which you referred?

  • Neil


    Here’s what was dropped from my reply above, after “By the way, you asked earlier:” (in a previous thread about Montague Street).

    Does anyone remember a diner of sorts on Henry, maybe between Orange and Cranberry Streets?

  • John Wentling

    Neil, there were all kinds of “diners of sorts” on Henry – the Pam Pam was on Henry bet. Orange and Cranberry back in the early 60’s, and there was also the “Greek” luncheonette on Henry bet. Cranberry and Middagh.

  • 5thfloorwalkuper

    I loved that cheese store! In my early years, the only cheese I ate was Velveeta. When I finally matured into grownup tastes, that was the store I went to. They were great at giving samples, so I was able to try several kinds of cheese each week.

  • Neil

    Reply to John Wentling (March 30, 2012 at 9:21 am):

    Yes, I remember the Pam Pam, and after it moved to the northeast corner of Montague and Henry sometime in (late?) 1958, it became our fix for fried chicken.

    As for the “Greek” luncheonette. I wonder if that’s what I’m thinking of, although I don’t remember any Greek connotation, especially in my menu of choice. I wish I could remember.

  • mlo

    There was a diner in the space where the Henry St ale house is

  • RF

    I remember the Cadman, on Henry between Orange and Cranberry. Solid breakfasts, burgers, rice pudding, brassy Alice the waitress; the place was classic.

  • brklynmind

    Early 90’s upstairs location was site of the Brooklyn cult favorite – Hot Bird!

    I think downstairs was home to a discount drug store (not a pharmacy)

    Also I think Andy’s opened around 96-97 (15 years)

  • philica

    @Neil.. your comments about the laundry that folded…. really made me laugh! Thanks… :)

  • bornhere

    RF — Cadman was what I was thinking of; thanks — your description is perfect.

  • http://n/a Barbara Shernoff

    Love reading all the comments about the Heights before i arrived in 1968. Thank you all!!

  • Joy

    I remember Stuff N Nonsense – also, next to Boston Laundry was Adele’s Beauty Shop. She was English, if I remember correctly….I also remember the stray cats that were fed by an older lady on the ledge, under the bottom step at 128, right outside Adele’s.

    Anyone else remember when Ebinger’s was next door to Pam Pam’s and next to that was Bon Ton Meatmarket – but we always called it Tom & Johnny’s. They always gave me a fresh-sliced piece of what ever coldcut was on the slicer….

    Netties was originally next to Peter Reeves (Huey was the manager, Danny was in charge of the produce in the center of the store). Then Nettie’s moved up the street to a bigger store….

  • Neil


    I do remember Ebinger’s, predating Pam Pam’s arrival at the corner location.

    What I’ve been trying to recall was the name of the establishment that was there before Pam Pam. I think it was either a United Cigar or Whelan’s, and I remember seeing Hit Parade cigarettes for sale at the cashiers position at the entrance. As that brand was introduced ca.1957, it would place the store as Pam Pam’s immediate predecessor on the corner

    By the way my, preferred cigarettes were those chalk-like, pure sugar confections with the pink-tinted ends. I felt like a real man with one of those dangling from my lips, even more so than with those awful, milk chocolate numbers that couldn’t stand up to the summer heat.

  • weegee

    brklynmind –

    I remember a short-lived Dunkin Donuts in the upstairs space, likely after Hot Bird’s stay. Super Savers was the drug store downstairs.

    Ughh…my lifespan’s memories of local establishments have zero gravitas compared to everyone else’s!

  • melanie hope greenberg

    Thanks Homer and Chuck! Just received a Google Alert about this thread.