1. A Grocery Store Frozen in Time from 1939
“You’ve just stepped into 1939,” says John Cortese, the 92-year-old proprietor of Golden Gate Fancy Fruits and Vegetables, on Flatbush Avenue in Marine Park. Indeed, the old-school grocery is far more authentic than any Hollywood set designer can create It’s a true neighborhood establishment, in operation at this same spot since 1939, when John’s grandfather opened it. John is a veteran of the Normandy invasion in World War II and has stories, and stories to tell.
The wood floor, with its narrow boards is original, as is the tin ceiling. Cans of Goya beans and Redpack crushed tomatoes sit on painted wooden shelves. Produce is displayed beautifully on angled stands and atop wooden crates that line both sides of the store. Two scales still hang from the ceiling, just in case of a power outage, says Cortese’s son, John. Original Sunkist advertisements, old-school product labels that John saved, and a plethora of vintage photographs decorate the store.
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