4930 Broadway: Southeast corner of 207th Street and Broadway.

4930 Broadway: Southeast corner of 207th Street and Broadway.

Recently, a neighbor asked me to research the southeast corner of Broadway and 207th Street (4930 Broadway).   She was curious what businesses had occupied the corner through the years.

Unsure, I posed the question to some longtime Inwood residents via social media.  The responses were so chock full of history that I’ve decided to post the findings MyInwood.net.

Undated photo by William Davis Hassler shows West 207th Street between Vermilyea Avenue and Broadway, New York City- stationers, tobacconist, notary, Borden's storefront and horse-drawn cart visible. Third shot in a 3-part panorama. Probably taken from Hassler's apartment at 150 Vermilyea Avenue.

Undated photo by William Davis Hassler shows West 207th Street between Vermilyea Avenue and Broadway, New York City- stationers, tobacconist, notary, Borden’s storefront and horse-drawn cart visible. Third shot in a 3-part panorama. Probably taken from Hassler’s apartment at 150 Vermilyea Avenue.

The storefront, most recently occupied by a Mexican restaurant called La Piñata, has a rich history. The above photograph by William Davis Hassler, who once lived on Vermilyea Avenue, shows that the building was one of the first commercial structures built in the then fledgling neighborhood.

Arras Inn, 1910, Source: MCNY.

Arras Inn, 1910, Source: MCNY.

Arras Inn, 1910, Source: MCNY.

Arras Inn, 1910, Source: MCNY.

As early as 1910, as evidenced in the above photo, the corner was home to a restaurant called the Arras Inn.  The Arras Inn began as a place to grab a drink and a meal.  They were best known for their seafood—particularly their lobster.

Arras Inn ad NY Evening Telegram July 1913.

Arras Inn ad NY Evening Telegram July 1913.

Arras Inn interior from vintage postcard.

Arras Inn interior from vintage postcard.

The restaurant would go on to become a notorious speakeasy during Prohibition.

By 1919 the Arras Inn would share its space with a Chevrolet dealership.

Southeast  corner 207th Street and Broadway, 1926, NYHS.

Southeast corner 207th Street and Broadway, 1926, NYHS.

4930 Broadway in 1925, NYHS.

4930 Broadway in 1925, NYHS.

4930 Broadway in 1926, NYHS.

4930 Broadway in 1926, NYHS.

Photos taken between 1925 and 1926 show the B.F. Curry Chevrolet dealership the corner storefront on 207th Street and Broadway.

In the 1950’s through the early 1960’s local residents say the corner was home to a tobacco shop— which sold cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco blends, lighters, newspapers, paperbacks and magazines.

Photo of 4930 Broadway Courtesy of Helen Oppenheimer Katz.

Photo of 4930 Broadway Courtesy of Helen Oppenheimer Katz.

From the mid-1960’s through the 1980’s the space housed a hosiery shop called Value Hosiery.

Southeast corner 207th and Broadway in 2011.

Southeast corner 207th and Broadway in 2011.

 

Southeast corner 207th and Broadway in 2011.

Southeast corner 207th and Broadway in 2011.

Over the last two decades it has housed a Tropical Chicken restaurant, which specialized in “roasted” chicken, a  Dunkin Donuts, a steam-table seafood establishment called Marisco Express, another fish joint called Boca Chica, a coffee shop called Cafe Espresso and most recently La Piñata, a Mexican restaurant.

If you have a memory or old photo of this location that you’d like to share, please write in.  

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Happy Halloween

by Cole Thompson

Every Halloween ghosts and goblins haunt the streets, parks and apartment buildings of Inwood–just as they have for hundreds of years.

Happy Halloween from the haunted Inwood of yesteryear. Photo of pile of bones from the  New York Tribune, April 12, 1903.

Happy Halloween from the haunted Inwood of yesteryear. Photo of pile of bones from the New York Tribune, April 12, 1903.

Inwood is a spooky place where the spirit of a long dead magician might bump into the specter of a headless Hessian, where a Dutch trumpeter fights with the devil himself and cries from disturbed graves are heard by the living.

This October, the most frightening month of the year, MyInwood presents several scary tales from the past.

House of Mercy ThumbAsylums on the Hill: Choose a cell in one of three of the haunted asylums that once lined Inwood Hill. There’s the House of Mercy, The Magdalen Asylum and a home for tuberculosis patients. The frightening pasts of these institutions were so dark and scary that the ghosts of thier former residents haunt Inwood Hill Park to this very day.

Walter-Francis-Burns-portrait-from-Captain-Otway-Burns-Patriot-Privateer-and-Leglislator-1905-compiled-by-Walter-Francis-BurnsParanormal Inwood: Near the turn of the century a wealthy Inwood Hill resident named Walter Francis Burns had a horrifying dream that his son had been killed while crossing the intersection of Dyckman Street and Broadway. What happened next would haunt Mr. Burns to his dying day. Some say his frightened cries can be heard on the trails near dusk.

Houdini thumb Houdini’s Ghost Every Halloween, the anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death, his widow Bess held a seance. This Halloween, listen to a recording of the final 1936 seance and discover The Houdini Inwood Connection. Would you believe Bess Houdini lived right here on Payson Avenue? The hills of Inwood are crowded with other Houdini ghosts as well. Click the link and read on if you dare.

occult thumbA Turn of the Century School for the Occult Occultism was all the rage near the turn of the century. Join us as we explore the fascinating and macabre world of Ernest Loomis and his Inwood School of Philosophy. It is a bone chilling ride into another dimension. Did Loomis channel into a haunted Inwood?  His book, “Practical Occultism,” was published here the turn of the century.

Cemetary thumbCemeteries of Yesteryear It’s hard to imagine an Inwood with mansions on the hill, a dirt road below, and just east of that cemeteries.  Hundreds of years of population generated numerous graves. In some lay the long forgotten members of once famous families. In other plots,the fallen dead of the Revolutionary War; even Indians.

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Evidence of Native American activity uncovered in Isham Park

Thumbnail image for Evidence of Native American activity uncovered in Isham Park

Update: Less than 24 hours after this post went on-line, Jennifer Hoppa, Administrator Northern Manhattan Parks, sent the following email: “The Capital Contractor was directed to stop work as soon as the Capital Division was informed earlier today of possible artifacts being uncovered.  NYC Parks director of Historic Preservation John Krawchuk is closely coordinating with the […]

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91 Payson Avenue: An Art Deco Masterpiece

91 Payson thumb

In 1935 a new apartment house opened on 91 Payson Avenue in the Inwood section of Manhattan. The stunning apartment building, named “Payson House,” cost  $250,000 to erect. Today, the co-op building, across the street from Inwood Hill Park, is one of the finest examples of art deco design in northern Manhattan. Stepping into the […]

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Asylums on Inwood Hill

Asylums on Inwood Hill

A century ago  asylums and institutions lined the ridge of Inwood Hill.  Inside these fortress-like structures, all demolished by Robert Moses in the 1930′s, tortured, long-dead souls were kept under lock and key.  Some were criminals, some were inebriates and drug addicts, others had the mere misfortune of suffering from tuberculosis.   All were outcasts, banished […]

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From Dyckman Street to Treasure Island

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Near the beginning of the last century, Mrs. Addison J. Rothermel faced both an agonizing loss and a difficult decision.  Tuberculosis had taken her husband and doctors warned that her two teenage boys, Addison Jr.  and Royale Valray, might also succumb to the “white plague” if they continued to live in the cramped and unventilated […]

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Isham Gardens

Building detail from Isham Gardens in Inwood, New York.

Between Seaman Avenue & Park Terrace West Designed in 1924 by the architectural team of Springsteen and Goldhammer, Isham Gardens was the brainchild of builder Conrad Glaser. Glaser envisioned an uptown utopia where middle class New Yorkers could live amidst a resort like atmosphere. And, Springsteen and Goldhammer were up to the task. They designed […]

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Paranormal Inwood: The Strange Case of Walter Francis Burns

W.F. Burns logo

As a cool autumn breeze settled in on his home among the trees on the western slope of Inwood Hill, Walter Francis Burns awoke from a terrible dream.  Lost in a chilling nightmare Burns had just witnessed his youngest son, Otway, run over by an automobile not far from the family’s northern Manhattan home. The […]

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