For generations, J. Joseph & Sons was a local business that occupied the entire block on Manhattan Avenue between Eagle and Freeman Streets.
Three generations ago, when Greenpointers could only afford furniture and electrical appliances in installments, the business thrived by trusting people with store credit. With its iconic orange and blue neon sign, the store became part of the fabric of local life. Though it changed hands, it did so within the family, and the owners kept the business alive even as Greenpointers began to buy more and more of their furniture and appliances elsewhere. In the back of the store, you can still see where the owner hung a portrait of his great-grandfather, the original founder.
But consider the basic math: the store was doing less business as the value of the land it stood on skyrocketed.
Recently, the owners finally cashed in their chips, reportedly selling the store for $18.5 million last November. Goodbye old neighborhood store; hello, new studios and one-bedroom apartments.
The plan is to build 90 apartments in a seven-story structure and to create more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space.
The new building is part of the boom that is transforming North Greeenpoint. Soon, the area will have several thousand new residents, which will add to the existing burden on the transportation, sewage, and water infrastructure. The sleepy North end of the area will see a spike in traffic and more riders on the already overburdened G Train.
The familiar old family store that helped its customers buy the furniture and appliances they needed will soon be just a memory.