Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ratner's Wall

Thanks to Roger for his tip about a newly exposed piece of the old Ratner's on Second Avenue. The Met Foods grocery store is right now undergoing a renovation that's been a long time coming. In the process, they've revealed a bit of history.



A piece of chrome trim frames a mosaic on the wall by the window, where the lettuce and salad dressing case used to be. Is this a piece of Ratner's? We know the floor of Met Foods belonged to Ratner's, with that big "R" welcoming you inside.

I wrote about the Second Avenue Ratner's back in 2008, and several family members of the Ratner, Harmatz, and Zankel clans wrote in. Maybe they will recall this lost mosaic.

Take a look before it disappears into history once again.



Also Read:
Ratner's of Second Avenue
Ratner's 1970 Menu

10 comments:

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Ratner's was a pretty exclusive place, peopled by Jewish men with their families. Us local kids, who hung out on 7th Street and 2nd Avenue, stayed out of the place just admiring the men's pretty young daughters, just as we were, and make snide remarks at them. At one time a man was outraged by what I had just said. I smirked and repeated it. He fumed and walked away.
What an asshole I was, back in the 60s. I shake my head in shame.

Artie Gold said...

A little like a flood in the Big Easy, the past floating up to the surface and all...

I think my cousin had a sweet 16 there once upon a time (my demographics were all wrong for the guest list, as I recall).

Ken Mac said...

That is simply beautiful, like a work by Klimt.

Mitch Broder said...

One of my favorite Ratner's descendants assures me that the mosaic is indeed a vestige of Ratner's. I grew up across the street from Bonnie Migden, the great-granddaughter and namesake of Bina Harmatz, the mother of Second Avenue Ratner's owners Sadie, Irving, Esther, Abe, Ceil, and Rose. "I definitely remember that mosaic," Bonnie says. "I'm a hundred percent sure that was part of Ratner's." She hazily recalls the elegant pattern framing luscious strawberry shortcakes in the window. Bonnie's father was Sadie's son Milt Migden, who married another Sadie, thus making him both the husband and son of Sadie Migden. I also spoke to his wife Sadie, who cherishes the R on the floor and hopes that it is not lost in the renovation. As for me, I remember visiting Ratner's as a child, so my cherished memories are strictly of cookies.

Jeremiah Moss said...

my tipster, Roger, assures us:

"I walked by Met yesterday and it looks like they are keeping the wall exposed permanently now that the new equipment is in. The whole corner is open and cleaned up nicely."

Goggla said...

I'm glad Met is preserving/showing this mosaic for everyone to enjoy. Now, if only they would move all the items I need below the top shelf so I wouldn't have to use the reaching-stick every time I go in there...50 years from now, I suppose that will be my fond memory.

Rori said...

My dad worked there back in the day since he lived close by...the 6pm-2am shift at takeout counter and said he saw "plenty of '70's shit." LOL. His aunt was Sadie. I showed him this article and he said "pretty amazing...I vaguely remember the mosaic. All the waiters had attitudes. Loads of famous people went there. Was a dairy restaurant with perogees, blintzes, potato pancakes and the like."

I hope they keep some of the old place alive in the renovations. I hate when they kill character.

And my dad still knows how to make a pretty awesome egg cream :-)
- Show quoted text -

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Mitch and Rori for checking that out.

"The Husband and Son of Sadie Migden" sounds like the title of a wonderfully dreary mid-century novel that takes place in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was cool.

and Goggla, who doesn't love a reaching stick?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I hope they save and showcase this detail work. Quite special, especially by today's standards of workmanship.

lr said...

mykola 7:50am yes you were an asshole. i lived across the street, im jewish & one of "those" girls. hope that mosiac will remain. by the way everyone was welcome @ ratners.