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Archive for the 'Business' Category

pho-co

Bánh mì and beef noodles are on their way to 86th Street, where Pho & Co Vietnamese Street Food is slated to open.

Signs went up recently at the 1927 86th Street storefront, and interior renovations were underway when we stopped by last week.

The spot takes over the location of Boat House Seafood Restaurant, which closed late last year or early this year. It looks like Boat House is still alive and kicking in Sunset Park, though, serving up Vietnamese-Cajun fusion seafood dishes.

Pho & Co will be a welcome addition to 86th Street’s bustling Asian culinary scene, and one of the few – if not the only – dedicated to Vietnamese sandwiches, salads, noodle dishes and soups.

We’ll keep our eyes on this one as the opening date nears. In the meantime, welcome to the neighborhood, Pho & Co.

vitaminshoppe

The Vitamin Shoppe opened its doors at 2005 86th Street about three weeks ago, looking to capitalize off the new rush of fitness fans patronizing Planet Fitness next door.

The business replaces London Fashion Shoes, which closed for good earlier this year.

It’s hard not to note the unique facade of the building. It has served as a retail location for many years, but some research reveals what many neighborhood oldtimers probably know: it’s the former site of the Benson Twins Theater. Here’s how it looked in the 1980s, as captured by the Department of Finance tax photos:

benson-theater

Although the theater once took up the entire site of what today is The Vitamin Shoppe and Planet Fitness, by the 1980s, as you can see, it was already split up for a retail location.

But just how old is it? Fortunately, CinemaTreasures has that info on hand:

Opened as the Benson Theatre on September 15, 1921, it was a 1,400 seat theatre, located in the shadows of the elevated subway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Designed by architects George Keister & Libman. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual, 6 ranks organ. It was run as a dollar theatre by the Golden Theatre chain before it was twinned by splitting it down the middle and renamed Benson Twins with seating for 588 and 400.

Subsequently, it became a first run house. In the final days, it was closed more than it was open, and was closed in 1988 for its current retail use.

According to city records, it came under the ownership of a new company called Benson Theatre Corp in 1972, which is about when it was renamed.

Unfortunately, with the overhaul of the facade by Planet Fitness, little remains of the original theater’s architecture. But eagle-eyed passersby will catch a glimps of the original “B” insignia, and the comedy and tragedy masks above The Vitamin Shoppe. Here’s a photo, but Forgotten NY has an even better one:

benson-facade

Just a BJ’s stock photo… (Source: Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr)

The opening date for the BJ’s Wholesale Club at 1752 Shore Parkway has been pushed back due to construction delays, Bensonhurst Bean has learned.

The Bensonhurst location, near Ceasar’s Bay, was slated to open July 12. But a representative for the company informed Bensonhurst Bean yesterday that they’re still putting the finishing touches on the location, and will be opening doors on an unspecified date in September.

The big box store will occupy the ground floor of a 200,000-square-foot space at 1752 Shore Parkway that will be known as the Bay Center. The center will be two stories tall with commercial units above the BJs. The project is being developed by Thor Equities and is expected to be completed sometime in 2014.

Construction kicked off in December 2012.

sodeli1

A new eatery called Sooo Delicious Food Court is now serving customers at 1801 Bath Avenue.

Set up as one-stop shop similar to a Manhattan deli, with various counters for pizza, sandwiches, coffee and baked goods, in addition to a selection of standard bodega fare, the store opened doors this week. The owner, Nick Abulawi, was previously the manager of Bay Ridge’s Gino’s Restaurant, on 5th Avenue.

The location was previously occupied by Casa Calamari, which closed in 2012.

sodeli2

Source: Natalie Maynor / Flickr

Source: Natalie Maynor / Flickr

The Bensonhurst Greenmarket at Milestone Park will celebrate its seasonal grand opening this Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

The market kicked off its first year in 2012, brought in by Councilman Vincent Gentile and GrowNYC. This year, every Sunday from June 8 until November 23, they’ll be packing Milestone Park (18th Avenue between 81st Street and 82nd Street) with a slew of vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, honey and candles from farms located just miles outside of New York City (and one from inside of it!).

Here’s the full list of vendors setting up shop this year:

  • El Poblano Vegetables and specialized Mexican herbs and vegetables from one of the last remaining farms in the city of New York, in Richmond County.
  • Goodale Farms Vegetables and dairy from Suffolk County, NY.
  • Kernan Farms Vegetables from Cumberland County, NJ
  • Nature’s Way Farm Honey and candles from Chemung County, NY
  • Williams Fruit Farm Orchard fruit from Ulster County, NY

“I like to refer to the weekly greenmarkets as our very own town square. This is where long-time residents and people new to their neighborhoods come to shop, share recipes, catch up with their neighbors and meet new friends,” said Gentile in a press release. “There are many unofficial starts of the summer but, for me, the official unofficial start of summer is the exciting weekend when we kick off the popular Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst Greenmarkets.”

The market accepts WIC and FMNP checks, EBT, food stamps, debit and credit cards. The market is open every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Bensonhurst Greenmarket previously won the seal of approval from Slow Food NYC for improving the sustainability and quality of the food supply in the area.

Aside from the food, there will also be weekly cooking demonstrations, seasonal celebrations and family-fun activities all season long.

florist

Walking past 86th Street and Bay 34th Street last week, I realized that the relative long-lived Jenny’s Flowers had closed down, and construction was underway at the 2332 86th Street storefront.

From the looks of it, they’re totally renovating the space, inside and out. Sure enough, a little search on the Department of Buildings website revealed that, indeed, they are. And the changes in the new layout are intended to make it more amendable to an “eating and drinking establishment.”

We’re looking forward to seeing what new restaurant is on its way. What kind of food would you guys like to see here?

circle2

The long-lived 86th Street video game store Circle Two Inc. closed down this month, and workers were on-site emptying the storefront out last Tuesday.

At 2364 86th Street, the business had served the community for at least 15 years or so that we can recall, weathering massive changes in the industry, including the launch of online retailing. It’s not clear why it has closed now, and the phone number for the storefront has been disconnected.

So long, Circle Two, and best of luck to its owners on their future ventures.

Beer Island in 2008. Apparently, no one on Flickr took photos of the real sites, so you get this lonely guy with a murse. (Source: laserlars/Flickr)

On the list of things that I’m way too excited about and probably flag me as less than a gentleman, Coney Island’s Beer Island is being resurrected as Margarita Island, Amusing the Zillion reports.

For those who don’t know, Beer Island was one of those places that could only emerge in the post-Thor, pre-development purgatory phase of Coney Island, when various establishments were shuttered to make way for new amusements and construction that took a few years to appear. To save face, Thor leased out a few properties to various operators, of which only Beer Island was redeemable.

Let me set the scene here: a big fenced lot. Within, someone dumped a few tons of sand, set up some chintzy tables and umbrellas, and hired some buxom dames to wear bikinis and dole out suds from a shack.

It was glorious, and it was given the boot when the city evicted the boardwalk businesses after purchasing the property from Thor.

Now, it’ll be returning, this time to Bowery Street and West 12th Street. Here’s the nut from AtZ:

The outdoor bar’s liquor license was issued a few days ago and a food truck specializing in Japanese teriyaki is already parked on site. New picnic tables are set up on the corner lot, which had been vacant since Coney Island Arcade burned down four years ago. The property is owned by Jeff Persily, who is also leasing the space next-door to [Margarita Island owner Carl] Muraco for his arcade, formerly located in one of Thor’s buildings.

Five-dollar beers? Yes, please. Check out AtZ’s scoop for more details, including the food they plan on bringing in.

la-fogata

Signs are up at 1912 86th Street, announcing the impending arrival of La Fogata Restaurant.

It’s too soon to say when it will open or even what kind of restaurant it is, but judging from the plethora of other “La Fogata” restaurants one can find on Google, it’ll be selling Latin dishes.

That’s not too much of a difference from its predecessor at the location, Las Americas, a Mexican-American bar and restaurant. The posters in the window are still from Las Americas, so it’s probably a few months off until it reopens. Las Americas closed earlier this year.

Welcome to the neighborhood, La Fogata, and best of luck!

salvation-army2

The Salvation Army officially opened the doors of its senior center at 7309-7321 18th Avenue this week, following the charity’s $12.75 million purchase of the property in March 2013.

The location is the former home of the 39,000-square-foot Cotillion Terrace catering hall, which closed up sometime in the last decade or so. Originally, the owners hoped to demolish the hall and develop condos. Those plans fell through, and the building has sat empty for several years, a haven for graffiti artists hitting up its boarded up doors.

As you can see in the photo above, which was taken Tuesday, Salvation Army still has some cleaning up to do. But from this write-up in the New York Times last week, it sounds like the senior center had to make a hasty retreat from its longtime home in Manhattan’s Bowery and relocated here.

When news first broke that the Salvation Army had purchased the property, it was reported at the time that it would become a large retail location. We hope to still see that come through, but that doesn’t yet appear to be the case.

salvation-army

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