Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 4:13PM
The above photo, from the dustbowl days of 1931, shows what most likely would be one of my favorite restaurants if it was still around today. On the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street stood the original Fifth Avenue Diner, on land cleared by the construction of the IND subway. It's a classic railcar diner, complete with a penny scale and "LUNCH" sign overhanging the sidewalk.
Today, the corner is still home to one-story buildings, but the diner has been replaced by an electronics store. A giant ad still dominates the scene, except now it's for Harbor Fitness instead of the "Great Shopping Center" whose full name I've been unable to find. On the far left is Neergaard Drugs, which has been in that location since 1888 and has been open 24/7 since World War I.
Source: Brian Merlis and Lee A. Rosenzweig, Park Slope: A Photographic Retrospective.