Behind The Scenes

Where Were Brooklyn’s and Queens’ Butcher Shops 100 Years Ago?

There are still a few good butcher shops left in this town, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to know where to look. That did not seem to be the case in 1910, when butcher shops could be found all over the city, and the butcher sections of supermarkets involved actual counters, not just sad, colorless hunks of meat wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam. But what did these markets look like?

In the New-York Historical Society Library’s Print Room sits this amazing collection of photographs of butcher shops in Brooklyn and Queens, taken ca. 1910-1919. The album belonged to W.V. Staib & Co., a company that made butcher blocks, located at 639 Atlantic Avenue. The album appears to be a collection of interiors of butcher shops, including independent stores and the meat departments of chains like H.C. Bohack and Popular Market. (All photos credit: Album File, PR2-420; Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.)

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Unfortunately, these butcher shops seem to have gone the way of W.V. Staib & Co. itself. However, we created a map so you can see where they once were, and what took their places.

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