Mondays on Memory Lane: YORKVILLE’S SCHALLER & WEBER’S DELICATESSEN – At the turn of the century from 1890 – 1910 one third on New York City spoke German, today hardly anyone does and instead you hear Spanish, Russian and Chinese. I was born in 1955 and as a child we would go to the German section of the city named Yorkville. Yorkville’s center street was East 86th Street and it’s surrounding streets. In this area you could still here strains of “wunderbar” and ooom-pah-pah ♫♪ all around you. You could buy everything from back home: Mecki books, Salamander shoes, Zarah Leander and Heino records, teewurst, Loden coats, Tyrolian hats, beer steins, wooden nut crackers, Lübeck Marzipan, German magazines and newspapers and all the wiener schnitzel and beer you wanted.
That was then, today there are only 2 establishments left that I know of. The Heidelberg Restaurant (1648 Second Avenue) where today the little dark haired Guatemalan waiters wearing (much too big) lederhosen tell you the day’s specials in a heavy Spanish accent. But…there is one staple that has remained – Schaller and Weber, opened in 1937 at 1654 Second Avenue/86th Street, a German delicatessen where the white haired old German butchers with German accents still politely slice the fresh deli meats daily.
When I was a little boy, this place was heaven to me and still is. You can just lock me up behind the deli counter and leave me in there for a week. Ahhh! The smoked hams, the dozens of salamis, the stuffed peppers, stuffed veal, weiß wurst, Westphalian ham and my obsession – roladen! Roladen are very thin slices of beef, rolled up with spices, bacon and onion inside, pan fried with a rich dark gravy, add boiled potatoes and you’re set. Then there are also the wonderful chocolates, sauces, white asparagus, smoked fish, hearty breads, Bahlsen cookies, Maggi and Knorr spices and a fine assortment of cheeses.
In 2013, for a person born in to an all German family, Schaller and Weber is that one place I can still retreat to and relive my childhood, inhale deeply and feel at home. The store, (thank god) has hardly changed. They are struggling to hang on throughout the great disruption of the second avenue subway being built. There were rumors of them not being able to afford to stay open, but when I reach the corner of 2nd Avenue and 86th Street – they are still there – a sight for sore eyes. I go inside and it is Christmas/Weihnachten 1962 and I’m standing in line with my numbered ticket to be called as I am fixating on all the goodies I hope my mother will buy for the Christmas holidays, always topped off with the treat of a Lübecker marzipan bar. Some kids dreamed of being locked up in toys stores and candy shops – I dreamed of being locked up in Schaller and Weber!
Here is a partial list of their goodies and a link to their web site:
Spaetzle (German Noodle)
Imported Brands Maggi, Panni, Bechtle, Riehle (Manager’s Favorite)
Pickles & Sauerkraut Gundelsheim, Hengstenberg, Pickled Herring
Mustard & Ketcup Lowensene, Handlmaier & Thomy, Feisner & Hela (Ketchup)
Honey (Honig) Bihophar & Langnese (Assorted Flavors)
Soup & Gravy Mixes Knorr, Maggi Potato Dumplings & Pancake Mixes
Jams /Jellies Darbo (Austrian), Vavel (Polish), Landsberg (Germany)
Breads Landsberg, Mestemacher
German Cheeses Limberger, Harzer Kase, Tilsit
Coffees Jacobs, Tchibo, Dallmayer
Syrups Darbo (Austrian), Marco Polo (Hungarian), Adro, (Many more & assorted flavors)
Assorted Cosmetics 4711, The oldest brand in Germany, Fa, Nivia, Kamille
Sweets & Treats Haribo: Gummy Bears (Large Variety), Swedish Fish: Abba (Assorted Flavors), Bahlsen Cookies: Kipderl, Waffelette, Butter Leibniz, Kopper’s Chocolates, Marzipan: Maker, Mozart Kugeln: Reber
June 17, 2013 | Categories: DAILY PHOTOS WITH STORIES OF NEW YORK CITY | Tags: 1654 Second Avenue/86th Street, 1937, Bahlsen cookies, beer steins, East 86th Street, food, German childhood memories, German deli, German foods, German goods, German immigration, German magazines and newspapers, German neighborhood, German nostalgia, German shopping, German tradition, Hans Von Rittern, Lübeck Marzipan, Loden coats, Maggi and Knorr spices, Manhattan, Mecki books, New York City, New York photo, old world Germantown in New York, Photo of the day, restaurants, Roladen, Salamander shoes, Schaler and Weber, Schaller & Weber delicatessen, schaller and weber, smoked hams, Teewurst, The Heidelberg Restaurant 1648 Second Avenue, Tyrolian hats, Westphalian ham, wiener schnitzel, wooden nut crackers, Yorkville, zarah leander, Zarah Leander and Heino records | Leave a comment
Photo of the day: A STREETCAR NAMED FRANCET
– A trip Brooklyn go to the supermarket/grocery store is more of an unusual experience than you think! The local Fairway Supermarket chain has turned the Red Hook Brooklyn waterfront into an day-trip shopping experience. Built into an old industrial building and site, it has become a day at the beach.
On the back patio are three wonderful old trolley cars from a bygone era in New York. They were supposed to be part of a planned waterfront trolley from Red Hook to the Brooklyn Bridge that has been debated since the 1980’s. About a decade ago they were restored by trolley buff Bob Diamond, who hoped to run them on a line on Columbia Street and Furman along the waterfront for a proposed Trolley Museum and restoration project that has never happened. (He was also was the guy who found the first tunnel in NYC under Atlantic Ave.) He actually got some tracks built before the city pulled the plug. They have been left to deteriorate in back of Fairway since. Further ravaged by hurricane Sandy, their streamlined beauty remains.
As for Fairway – many were skeptical (and quite vocal) back when Fairway planned to open a store in Harlem. And then for their fourth store to be in industrial Red Hook, Brooklyn, well, people thought they were just plain nuts. But how could they resist the gorgeous waterfront with a view of the Statue of Liberty? The Red Hook location ended up being a diamond in the rough, having the advantage of space and size (the largest store at the time at 52,000 square feet), plus all of the qualities that made them a star in Manhattan – on premises-roasted coffee beans freshly ground to order, the largest artisanal cheese counter around, the best of the best deli and appetizing organic and natural foods at competitive prices, the highest quality USDA Prime Beef from their Butcher shop including our own USDA Prime dry-aged beef, the freshest seafood, the largest selection of daily-delivered produce, traditional groceries, kosher selections, and a made-from-scratch bakery. Oh, and the specialty imports – olive oils, exclusive artisanal oils and vinegars, tapenades and sauces, spreads to perfectly complement your perfect cheese, it’s the stuff you dream of. Red Hook is a one-stop-shop that holds a special place in the Fairway Market family of stores. The word ‘cavernous’ comes to mind – IT’S HUGE! !
With café seating for 50 and a waterfront view, Fairway Red Hook is a joy for people to come to shop and for lunch! Customers can set their carts aside, order a scrumptious meal, and in no time be sitting facing the Statue of Liberty having a nice chat with a friend. Surrounded by up-and-coming housing developments and an artist community, the Red Hook store has a unique opportunity to be involved with the community. They donated $30,000 to help rebuild the hurricane Sandy ravaged community. The store itself was completely wiped out inside – a total loss. But they are back stronger than ever in such a short time. Grab your flip flops, sun tan oil and go – – – to the supermarket!
June 5, 2013 | Categories: DAILY PHOTOS WITH STORIES OF NEW YORK CITY | Tags: 1980's, A Street car Named Desire, artist community, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn waterfront, cheese counter, Columbia Street and Furman Street, Fairway Supermarket chain, ferry, food, Hans Von Rittern, Hurricane Sandy, kosher selections, made-from-scratch bakery, Marlon Brando, New York City, New York photo, old trolley cars, on premises-roasted coffee beans freshly ground, Red Hook Brooklyn, restaurants, seafood, Statue of Liberty, streamlined, traditional groceries, transportation, trolley buff Bob Diamond, waterfront dining and views | Leave a comment
THE RUM HOUSE: It’s been a long day. The train was late, Bergdorf’s was too crowded and the help was slow, the dress was no longer on sale, the family never called – perhaps it was yesterday’s argument over tea. Getting a cab was impossible. Must keep an eye on the watch, the cat at home will want dinner soon. Maybe there’s interesting mail today – maybe not. Maybe brunch with the girls tomorrow – maybe not. Here’s to the ladies who lunch. Does anyone still wear a hat? I’ll drink to that.
January 18, 2013 | Categories: DAILY PHOTOS WITH STORIES OF NEW YORK CITY | Tags: "Company", "Here's to the ladies who lunch", 228 West 47th Street NYC 10036, Bergdorf Goodman, brunch, cat at home, drinking, drinking alone, Hans Von Rittern, ladies who lunch, lady with cat, loneliness, Manhattan, New York City, reflections, reflections in glass, restaurants, Sondheim, Sondheim lyrics, store window, table for one, The Rum House, woman alone in bar | Leave a comment
COFFEE SHOP STILL LIFE: Americana is the classic local coffee shop with the Coke machine, the cake tray bearing the last croissant, the classic pewter coffee shop water pitcher, the calculator to add the take-out order’s total. This little corner of Americana is the New Post Coffee Shop on Queens Blvd and 40th Street. It is comfort. Having stood still in time since the 1960’s, it is reassuring that the hectic pace of change can go away, just for that time you spend here. The classic ketchup bottle on the counter, those wonderful thick white coffee mugs, the cake trays with the plastic domes, the sizzle of the gridle, vinyl covered counter stools that twirl, laminate counters with plastic menus offering a wide variety of comfort food to make that awful boss, that annoying subway ride or that really bad day just go away.
October 3, 2012 | Categories: DAILY PHOTOS WITH STORIES OF NEW YORK CITY | Tags: classic dinner, Coke, food, Hans Von Rittern, New Post Coffe Shop, New York City, Queens, restaurants | Leave a comment