Sunday, January 20, 2008

CBS Construction once Asimov Candy Store
















This is an attractive store front, I've often paused there hoping to see more than the very well crafted radiator covers that appear in the window. In a piece on Isaac Asimov, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn mentioned that the Asimov family had a candy store at 174 Windsor place, and right away I wondered if it were the spot that now houses CBS construction. Well, there really aren't any other options on Windsor between 10th and Fuller.

CBS has kept the old world feel to this place, and because of that it's easy to imagine it as a family candy store that also sold comic books which I'm sure influenced the writer as a child. I wonder what kind of candy they sold. Was it packaged back then? If so, I bet the packages were beautiful.

When we want a good selection of candy we go to Krupa on Prospect Park West, and even now a sizable chunk of their store is reserved solely for that. When I was only in second grade and lived by Columbia I was somehow allowed to go to the local candy store by myself, what joy. It would be very hard for me to let my kids do the same. That's the fear disease in action. The more people stay inside, the more they have to stay inside because it's lonely out there.

It's usually lonely when I pass by CBS, I never see anyone coming or going. But when I was taking this picture, I did see a man entering 172 Windsor. I asked him if he remembered when this place was a candy store. He said no, but he could recall that it used to be a thrift store. The man was from Croatia, and he and his family arrived here in 1962. I asked him how he liked it here. "It's the best," he said. He also owns a place of Fuller, and it's true, that's As Good As It Gets around here. Interesting that like the character played by Jack Nicholson in that movie, which was filmed in part on either Howard or Fuller, Asimov was a claustrophile. I'm sure he found many small places to comfort him in the family house, which according to dithob was across the street from the store. So it probably was one of these bow fronts.

Thanks again, Brooklyn Beat, for illuminating the history of this place, which always seemed to have more going on than I could account for.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Very interesting. I bet someone from my Blog would probably know about the candy store.

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Alex Richman said...

I was always curious about CBS, thanks for the history lesson.

Anonymous said...

If he could fix channel 2 and 702 on my cable box, then he'd truly be running CBS!

Anonymous said...

It was called "Buggy Bill's" and for a dime we could get a 7 cent chocolate soda in a filthy glass and a 3 cent "loosie" cigarette.One of the guys from the neighborhood worked for him and we would steal cases of socda from his basement for parties. We were about 12-14. When we went to high school, we would have our own cigarettes and hang out in Wetters on the avenue.Can't tell you what happened to Bill. Guess the lack of profit from our dimes drove him out of business.

amarilla said...

Thanks anonymous. When was it Buggy Bill's? What is Wetters? I wonder why Bill was called Buggy.

Anonymous said...

When I used to go there, I was in holy name in the 8th grade or B'klyn prep for freshman year. that was 66-67. Wetters (not sure if I'm spelling it correctly, was the hang out on PPW between Windsor and 16th st. Everyone used to go there to hang out. Most made the trip across the street to Farrells when they were 18 (males that is). Females were not allowed at the bar, only in the back at the tables. Bill was called Bill the place was "buggy" the association was by the conection but come to think of it, Bill was not the most dapper of men.

Mitch Wagner said...

I believe a candy store was what we now call a convenience store - I grew up on Long Island (near Brooklyn) and we had a place we called a candy store nearby. It had a big candy display, but that was only a small portion of the store: It sold magazines and comic books and cigarettes and paper goods and had a small selection of toys.

luvthacanes said...

My grandparents lived at 153 Windsor Place for over 50 years. They lived there when the Asimov family did. My Dad grew up closer to the park end of Windsor Place and both my Mom and Dad knew the Asimov's. They were a very frugal family and made Isaac go to the public library to study so they wouldn't "waste" electricity.

Jeff B. said...

I found this via a link from Fred Pohl's blog, The Way the Future blogs. Pohl is one of the last living great science fiction writers and editors, and knew Isaac Asimov personally. This blog post about the one-time candy store Asimov's family owned is a very nice bit of history. The only thing I'll note is that at the time Asimov would have been working there, comic books would not yet have come into their own; he would have been reading the pulps that dominated magazine racks at the time. They ran across a wide spectrum, from adventure to Westerns to boxing to spies to, of course, science fiction. They would begin to decline about the time comic books began to take off, in the late '30s. It's fascinating to know that the building is still there.

amarilla said...

Thanks for shedding a light on the pulp/comic transition.