4930 Broadway: An Inwood Storefront

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4930-Broadway
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.  

9 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this Cole. I walked past here every day for 8 years on my way to Good Shepherd School The cigar store was 4030 Broadway . That was 1944 to 1951. Lived down on 207th St and Post Ave. Pretty sure the cigar store was always there. Could be wrong. I loved the trolley and wish it never ended.

  2. Not sure if I have the right location, but wasn’t there a bar called Costello’s (spelling ?) at that location in the early 70’s

  3. went to Good Shepherd from 1948 to 1955 and then took the subway on that corner from 1955 to 1959 and then the subway to work from 1959 to 1972 and the cigar store was there all those years. Bought the Classics comics there so I could write my book reports

  4. Went to Good Shepherd from 1948 to 1955 and then took the subway on that corner from 1955 to 1959 and then the subway to work from 1959 to 1972 and the cigar store was there all those years. Bought the Classics comics there so I could write my book reports.

  5. There was a bar called Costello’s North on the east side of Broadway just south of 207th St.. During the 1972-1972 NBS basketball deaon I use dot meet a frind there to watch the Knicks on cable TV.

  6. What I remember about the cigar/candy store at 4930 Broadway was ca. 1960 when I got off the BX 19 bus from the Bronx-I was a Fordham student-I would go in to and use the coin operated soda machine which sold a small paper cup of Coke for a nickle less than other soda machines.

  7. In my post of Jan 6,2015 above I mentioned Costello’s North where I used to meet a friend to watch the Knicks’ home games on cable TV. NYC was infected with Knicks fever in the early 1970s. The team was established in 1946 by Ned Irish as one of the fouding member teams of what would become the National Basketball Association, The original nickname is Knickerbockers, not used anymore, and is rooted in the classic mock history of the Dutch origins of New York City, originally New Amsterdam, by Washintgon Irving in his 1809 spoof “A History of New-York From the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty by Diedrich Knickerbocker” It is from Irving’s fertile pen that we get such characters of early Dutch New York as Knickerbocker, Ichabod Crane, the headless Horsman, and Rip Van Winkle. The Knicks were prety bad for almost the first quarter century of their existence, as they are again now. But their golden year were 1970-1973. They won the NBA championship in 1970 and 1973, and lost in the finals in 1972.

    Knicks road games were usually on free TV on WOR channel 9, but the home games at MSG were sold out and if not on rare occasions on national network TV, usually only available on local cable TV. Cable TV was installed in Manhattan ca.1968, so all the Inwood bars offered the Knicks home games from MSG. But it was until years later that cable TV was available in the Bronx. So when the Knicks were in the NBA playoffs in the early 1970s the Inwood bars were jammed with guys who came over from the Bronx. My favorite bar was at the corner of Broadway and W 211th St.It was so crowded for the Knicks home playoff games that tap beer was not served. It took too long to pour the beer and required too many glasses or cups. Bottled beeer was easier to serve and required no glass or cup.

  8. What I remember about that cigar/candy store was that they sold paperback books. I liked to read when I was a kid, but I got temporarily banned from the little storefront library because I kept losing my library card. Anyway, I went in that store looking for a paperback book to read. The owner said, what do you want, kid? I didn’t exactly know what paperback books were called, so I said, “I’m looking for pocket books.” The guy says, “What!? You’re looking for pocketbooks!?” I had to explain. Amazingly I still remember the book I bought, but not the exact name. It was a book on how to talk in doubletalk, and I still remember the instructions, but recently I recollect belonging to that particular underlying time period but unfortunately now more rather than less I cannot recall.

  9. This is thrilling! I am one of the Arras Family descendants. My father, George Arras was born in 1920. There is a family story of my father walking with his nanny, who was carrying a suitcase full of hooch to the restaurant. She had to make a quick phone call, so she left my three year old father sitting on the suitcase until she returned.
    Those pictures are so exciting to see. Thank you!

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