I’ve longed been intrigued by the New St. Clair Diner, which was at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street in Boerum Hill. The name was slightly evocative of something sophisticated — it had a whiff of old New York — and the fact that the sign said it had been there since 1920 made it all the more intriguing.
But for one reason or another, I never got around to going. And now, it’s too late. The St. Clair closed in early January, and the site has been purchased by developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities. Its future as a glitzy retail space works in tandem with the increasing chichification of Atlantic Avenue and thereabouts.
The St. Clair, the Brooklyn Paper reports, opened in 1967 and was renovated in 2008 when it switched ownership. Well then, what to make of the “since 1920” business on the now vansished sign? Well, it’s safe to assume this was a restaurant for many decades prior to its incarnation as St. Clair.
The removal of the signage offers proof: Now visible for all the world (or, well, Atlantic Avenue) to see is a very old old sign for “RESTAURANT.” From the color to the font to the simple decision to go with “RESTAURANT,” instead of some glitzier branding, this sign clearly predates the 1960s by several decades.
The sign has not been hidden for decades though. As Lost City points out, it briefly surfaced in 2008 during the restaurant’s renovation.
Take a good look at this relic of another Brooklyn before it’s covered up again.
Or, let’s be honest, see it before it’s destroyed.
— Rolando Pujol
Staubitz Market, serving Cobble Hill since 1917. The neon sign in the window displays the shop’s number in the old-school format: MAIN4-0014. That is still its number, though now we write 624-0014. #neon #vintage #retro #brooklyn #cobblehill #butcher #meat #retail #phones #telephones (Taken with Instagram)