Still going with all homemade ice cream Eddies is a real treat! You can’t help but appreciate the place, and unlike the now departed Jahn’s you won’t be scratching your name into the table here!
Enter a classic ice cream parlor that is an architectural and cultural cornerstone of Forest Hills and America:
It is one of few countrywide that are family-owned, and remain in continuous operation in a virtually unaltered, ornate state since its earliest days.
Eddie’s Sweet Shop is the ultimate public institution, which bridges generations. It is a place where memories come alive. Some of our country’s most skillful architects and craftsman designed ice cream parlors with intricate wooden built-ins, marble or wood counters, mosaic floors, pressed tin ceilings, leaded glass, nickelodeons, and chandeliers to convey ambiance to the patrons, making them feel at home and fulfilled.
Attention to detail is evident from the entrance to the desserts to the view, as customers sat elbow to elbow at the counter or in dimly lit wood-paneled booths. These are family-oriented places, complete with interpersonal cues, where the owners and patrons develop bonds.
According to city records, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. (at 72nd Rd, formerly Lucy Place) had a New Building application filed on June 24, 1925 for a 2-story brick building, consisting of shops on the first story and dwellings on the second.
A Certificate of Occupancy was issued on September 10, 1925 to J. Rosenberg. Isidore Solomon would be the owner, and Seelig & Finkelstein of 44 Court St., Brooklyn drafted blueprints. They also designed Forest Hills apartments including the Town House, The John Alden, The Raleigh, and The John Adams.
The first known business name is “Witt’s Ice Cream Parlor,” and it is unclear whether it dates to the building’s erection or sometime thereafter. The shop was owned by William Witt, until he retired to Florida in 1967. He sold the shop to the Citrano family, who renamed it “Eddie’s Sweet Shop” that year, although there was never any Eddie. Father and son Giuseppe (Joe) and Vito Citrano coined the slogans, “Take your children to the place your grandparents had ice cream” and “A Forest Hills tradition for four generations.”
The interior evokes the turn of the 19th century. It is dominated by a honeycomb pattern inlaid mosaic floor, and a painted stamped tin ceiling with a rose-accented molding.
Patrons come upon an elegantly paneled dark wood and marble counter with a marble top near the west wall, with cast-iron swivel stools. Also of great historical significance is the marble-topped soda fountain and classic double-door Frigidaire freezer.
Approximately 20 homemade flavors are prepared in the shop’s basement, served in pedestal ice cream dishes with fresh whipped cream. Patrons sitting at the counter face friendly employers, and the timeless backdrop of an ornate wood built-in. It features 3 variation arched pediments, enhanced by floral gold leaf designs, with a hint of red and green.
Two arched mirrors are inlaid and framed with wood, featuring a vertical floral pattern as a border. The central space has ice cream flavor wood holders, and 2 display cases, which are on the left and right-hand sides.
Sitting on top of the built-in is an antique register manufactured by The National Cash Register Co. of Dayton, Ohio.
The uppermost window panes feature leaded glass reading “Candy” and “Ice Cream.” Just beyond the window are 2 leaded glass panes bearing a sunburst motif with tulips.
The 72nd Rd. elevation’s window has been partially obscured, but the leaded glass is preserved beneath, as evident from the interior. An embossed vintage plexiglass and metal sign circa 1970 is in front, which reflects the business name change. It reads “EDDIE’S SWEET SHOP” on the Metropolitan Ave elevation, and reads “ICE CREAM” on the 72nd Rd. elevation; both with Coca Cola insignias. The vintage, but not original signage, shows how history has evolved, marking the classic parlor’s tenure.
In an age of commercial chains, some classic establishments feel they cannot compete. Such places are in jeopardy if sold to an owner who isn’t creative enough to maintain the operation, isn’t interested, or if the land exceeds the value in a landlord’s or developer’s eyes.
Unfortunately, 2008 marked the loss of Jahn’s in Richmond Hill. The first Howard Johnsons in Queens was built at the time of the 1939 World’s Fair, only to be imploded for Rego Park’s black glass office tower. Fortunately, Eddie’s Sweet Shop is still a fully-operational jewel on Metropolitan Avenue.
Via Forest Hills Patch