Block 2 – S7
73-15 Metropolitan Avenue
Kromm's House (Grossi - Weiss - Wulwick - Cohen - Redansky - Curcio - Kaiser's Shoe Store - Fun Stuff! - Law Office)

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!

Spencer Wulwick - Age 2 - Insert Size

Click-the-pic to see it in Photo Album

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.

73-15 Metropolitan Avenue - Fun StuffSome 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).

To see this house in the 1980’s, just click here

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One thought on “Block 2 – S7
73-15 Metropolitan Avenue
Kromm's House (Grossi - Weiss - Wulwick - Cohen - Redansky - Curcio - Kaiser's Shoe Store - Fun Stuff! - Law Office)

  1. I remember Mr. Kaiser’s store. We always bought our school shoes from him. He was a dapper looking man, meaning he was always in a suit and tie. I loved the smell of the leather aroma throughout the store. The first room had walls that held a sample selection of shoes, and some shoe boxes in back of the samples, and chairs for the customers to sit on.

    There was an indoor window with sliding glass that one would see in a Dr.’s office. In back of the glass window and door, were more shoe boxes. I guess one could call it a stock room. He had shoes on another floor. I can’t remember if it was upstairs or in the basement. I can just recall hearing him going up and down the stairs searching for more stock for his customers.

    On the counter that separated the two rooms were bronze baby shoes. After your baby outgrew their first pair of shoes he could have them bronzed as a remembrance. They were set on a bronze shoe stand.


    In 2015, these shoes will turn 70 years old

    I wouldn’t remember the cost of this, but my parents had this done for my brother and I. I still have mine, with my name inscribed on the stand.


    BONITA

    I also remember his big fat cat that usually sat in the front window. It also roamed around the store. Trying to pet it. Mr. Kaiser would gently say “No! Don’t touch the cat he might scratch you.”

    He was also said to be a photographer. I don’t know which was his primary source of income, the shoes, the bronzing or the photography. He must have been a busy man.

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