It is estimated that this 2-story, 3-family house was built in 1925 and consisted of a store with an apartment behind it and two apartments on the second floor. The NYC Department of Buildings, does not list any relevant information. It should be noted, however, that according to the 1920 census, the building had been built, sold and was occupied by 1920.
According to the 1920 census (ED 41-138 – Page 9), when the address was 21-31 Metropolitan Avenue, the owner of this house was George Kromm (age 43) & his wife, Francis (age 42), who lived there with their son, John (age 9).
The other apartment was occupied by Andrew Grossi (age 42) & his two daughters, Seraphina (age 12) and Irena (age 6). Andrew and Seraphina had been born in Italy and emigrated to the United States in 1908. Andrew’s occupation was listed as a shoe maker.
According to the 1930 census (ED 41-708 – Page 30), when the address was still 21-31 Metropolitan Avenue, one of the apartments was occupied by David Cohen (age 43) & his wife, Eva (age 38) and their children, Gertrude (age 9) and Isadore (age 5). Both David & Eva had been born in Russia. Eva emigrated to the United States in 1910 and David emigrated in 1913. David’s occupation was listed as a laborer for a Florist.
The other apartment was occupied by Louis Redansky (age 55), who had been widowed, and his children, Lillie (age 25) and Ben (age 23). They had all been born in Russia. Louis emigrated to the United States in 1913 and his two children emigrated in 1920. Louis’ occupation was listed as a Florist. (Naturally, I can’t help but wonder whether that is who David worked for).
From November 1938 until August 1939, I personally lived in this building. I am certain that I was living with my mother; however, I have no personal recollection of whether – or not – my father was still “in the picture.” From everything I know, now, I think probably not!
There is absolutely no way I can leave the discussion of this building without sharing with you one of my strongest, most precious memories I have that, as far as I know, goes back further than any other. I’m sure I was not yet 2 years old when I can remember standing at the French Door (behind the high chair) and was looking down a flight of wooden stairs that went to a vacant lot behind the building. Approaching the stairs was my mother’s close friends “Frimmy” (Flo) who was coming to visit. I remember how glad I was to see her and I can only imagine that my excitement equaled that of a puppy who was about to receive a special treat. It’s a memory that I will treasure until the day I die.
I could not find any listing for this property in the 1940 census (ED 41-361 – Page 30)
Around 1960, Carlo Curcio and his “new” wife, Josephine (who had lived with Carlo at 73-11 Metropolitan Avenue, for a year or two) moved into the upstairs apartment until 1974,when Carlo passed away and Josephine lived there until she passed away in 2,000.
The first known use of this store was a shoe store owned by Harry (Dick) Kaiser (known as Kaiser’s Shoe Store) which was there until the 1960’s (perhaps 70’s). It was run by Mr. Kaiser and his wife (who also had a job in Manhattan). Harry passed away in January 1992.
Harry’s (aka Dick) brother, Alexander’s owned his own home and practiced medicine at 66-60 74th Street. I also learned that when Alexander passed away and his house was sold in August 1993, the executor was Selma Kaiser and her address was listed as 73-15 Metropolitan Avenue, this very building.
Some time during the 1980’s, the store became “Fun Stuff,” which was owned by John and Mary Weis. They sold candy making and cake decorating supplies. One Middle Villager tells us that she “used to get my lollipop molds + chocolates there every year!!! They had the best selection for every holiday!!! :-)”
Fun Stuff closed here and subsequently reopened at 75-22 Metropolitan Avenue.
The store is currently occupied by Joseph Urso Law Office.
Based on Property Transaction Records, we know that some time prior to March 2009, the property was sold to Karlos Holding Corporation (c/o Gerald M. Fleischman, Esq.) and in March 2009, it was sold to Santo Montalbano and Giuseppina Montalbano, who are the current owners (who also own the adjoining building at 73-17 Metropolitan Avenue).