Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Queens ice cream institution closes

After 110 years, Jahn's Ice Cream has closed up shop. Saturday was their last day.

Jahn's is no more

Last Jahn's Standing Isn't in Richmond Hill

A sad day for Richmond Hill and all of Queens.

Photo from Ed's Mobile Blog

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

A sad day for the whole of NYC !

Just as the owners of Flessel's (College Point)
had betrayed their community.....
so do the owners of Jahn's sell out their's!

Michael said...

My mother was a single parent and we never had much money growing up but every year on my bitrhday she would take me to Jahn's for a "kitcken sink" and I used to get a quarter to put in the music machine (which has a name that I cannot recall).
The last time I was there was in 2001 and I remember how empty it was, it made me sad.
This is the crappiest of all.

Anonymous said...

Coming soon - a Bangaldeshi Noodle Shop with a breathless review by head tweeder Vickie!!

The Queens of tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

This place was great, I can't believe it couldn't make enough money to stay in business. Were people not going there anymore? If the community was not giving it business, then the owner is not betraying anyone.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Jahn's is that the quality of the place went downhill with the new owners, food was crappy....ice cream was crappy and the place had no feel to it. the owners never got into the community the way they should have. Community people did try to solicit the place, but it was hard after a while to eat at this establishment.
A place like that could have worked with the right promotion and getting involved with the area..like early bird specials, two for ones, free sundaes on your birthday, (a Jahn's tradition). Of course a good chef also would have helped. Jahn's in the 50's and 60's had a doorman outside in a beaver coat, letting people in when there was room....that was how incredibly popular this place was..and all it served at that time was ICE CREAM! It is a sad day for Richmond Hill. These owners were never part of Richmond Hill. They were outsiders and remained so.

mazeartist said...

My first time at Jahn's was a decade ago, when the Richmond Hill Library sponsored a local history trivia contest. The prize was a coupon for Jahn's. The promotion worked, and my family enjoyed their ice cream.

Unfortunately, we found the interior to be too dark, having more of an old-pub look in comparison to the brightly-lit Fuddruckers, Baskin Robbins, or Tasti-D-Lite.

110 years is a pretty good run, but all things are mortal. As an alternative, consider Eddie's Sweet Shop, while it's still in business.

taxpayer said...

Somewhere in the Midwest there will be a replica of the Jahn's I enjoyed as a child.

Maybe someday, some other birthday boy will sit in the booth where I carved my initials and the date (an idea promoted by Jahn's).

Happy Birthday, young man!

who walk in brooklyn said...

1) I almost had a heart attack thinking this was about Eddie's...

2) Michael, thanks for the story.

3) Anonymous on Jahn's decline is sadly right, I think. I know the restaurant biz can be tough but I didn't get a good feeling about the quality or spirit of Jahn's the last few times I've been out there.

4) Everyone reading this should get to Joe's in Ridgewood-- the original one, not the fancy version up the block. I'm pretty sure they're doing fine but, for great Queens institutions, I rank this one waaaay up there. (Try the sausage & brocolli rabe for starters.)

Regards,

Zyczymy Smacznego
WWIB Food Writer

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to go to Jahn's in Jackson Heights on 37th avenue and 81st street. The food is great and you can still get great ice cream. The waitresses are friendly and very accommodating. Don't let the last Jahn's die. Patronize this establishment. It is the last of the good ones.

Anonymous said...

isn't there still a jahn's on 37th ave in jackson heights?

who remembers the one on queens blvd in the lefrak building ?
now the tung shing house i belive

Anonymous said...

Another reason to spit in the eye of the landmarks commission. Every opportunity to make Richmond Hill great, from its remarkable homes, to local institutions like Jahns, is systematically being undermined by refusal to designate.

What kind of message is getting out there?

Everytime you read in the paper about some Indian festival, its in 'Richmond Hill' (although its really 'Ozone Park' - just like when the Columbians act up, its not 'Elmhurst' or 'Corona', but always 'Jackson Heights'.)

The press does racial and ethnic steering, now, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

i used to live across from the jahns in the lefrak building. i used to go there when i was a kid. now jahns has gone the way of horn and hardet.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #7 - racially ignorant and overall nonsensical. What does this have to do with landmarking? The place went out of business, nothing happened to the building.

Queens Crapper said...

Racism has everything to do with landmarking.

nancy said...

This Jahn's was opened in 1929 or later...when the Keith's was finished, it was 1929.....and Jahns was not in any of the pictures...it was not even built yet...altho it is a Richmond Hill ICON, it is not 110 yrs old...PAPA JAHN's ideas were 110 yrs old.
The Landmarks Commission poo poo'd The Proposed Historic District of Downtown Richmond Hill.Where can you find within two blocks, The RKO Keith's, The Carnegie Library, The Church of the Resurrection, The Triangle Hofbrau (RIP), The Republican Club and the oh so campy Salerno's? Try to find ALL THAT in any other area....Queens is always crapped on, and Richmond Hill is the crying poster child.

Anonymous said...

the interior of jahns COULD have been landmarked...it was so unique.

David M. Quintana said...

Back in the late 60's and early 70's, Father Lutz from St Matthews Church in Woodhaven each Xmas would take all the acolytes to dinner and a show...We'd usually go to Jahn's...it always had a friendly staff and was a great place to eat in the neighborhood...I'd always get the chocolate ice cream soda in a flower vase...They used to have a place in East Meadows, too...

ken said...

if you access the situation strictly from a logical standpoint while ignoring half a dozen other variables you'd also think it odd for Jahn's to go out of business at this time as some of their competition has been decreased by the Mayor's jingle restriction law baring ice cream trucks from piping out music to attract customers.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Eddie's on Metropolitan Avenue likely will be the next to close. The last time I went there about two years ago, the *Edy's* I get from the supermarket had more taste than the ice cream that was served there (and once upon a time, it was really good). I won't shed a tear though when (and not if) Eddie's closes.

Anonymous said...

Queens Crapper said...
Racism has everything to do with landmarking.


How is the Sunnyside HD based around racism? Or the new Crown Heights North? Elitism I'll buy...but what race is being discriminated against?

Queens Crapper said...

No you fail to grasp the tweeding concept. The red lines are drawn around 2 types of communities. The first type is the one that's going to be vanillafied. They landmark it, then watch all the people of color get pushed out (and probably move down south, which is the latest trend). That's why Sunnyside and Crown Heights got designated, not because of how great they look or their history.
Then there's the other type of community - the one that's been redlined to house the immigrants that work below minimum wage and live 10 to an apartment. Here they'll take a relatively stable working class mixed-race community, like Richmond Hill, and deny landmarking to it so that it becomes a neighborhood full of immigrant warehouses (usually of one race) and absentee landlords.

Anonymous said...

Jahn's went out of business. What does this have to do with landmarking? Did you want to landmark the furniture?

Queens Crap really does talk out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to immigrants. Half the time he rants about "tweeding" and is anti-immigration, then in the post on parks funding, he talks about how the immigrants deserve more services.

Queens Crapper said...

Tweeding is what's anti-immigrant not calling attention to it. Unless you think living 10 to an apartment is a great humane way to allow people to live.

And as for your first comment, there are several landmarked interiors in NYC.

Anonymous said...

So you think that Jahn's "interior" should have been landmarked? And that would have kept it in business? That makes absolutely no sense.

Anonymous said...

Yes, because of its sanctuary city policy, the city needs to allow certain communities to turn into cesspools. It's in the best interests of our economy...

Queens Crapper said...

No, it means the interior would have to retain its historical look. Go to what was up until recently, TGIFriday's in Downtown Brooklyn. When it was Gage and Tollner the interior was landmarked. It's fantastic. And apparently, this restaurant thinks so too.

Soul food to Gage & Tollner site

georgetheatheist said...

I scream. You scream. WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Are you not going to blame Dennis Gallager for Jahn's closure?

who walk in brooklyn said...

anyone who thinks landmarking doesn't have a LARGE racial component isn't paying very close attention.

1) would any of ya'll care to name tell me the landmarked neighborhoods in the Bronx?

2) next tell me about the 'hood there that has visible red brick paved streets & more nice architecture than, say, Sunnyside, or Crown Heights?

3) i won't criticize anyone who doesn't know because it is NEVER written about that way; you'd have to be a real Bronx scholar or stumble into it to go-- wow, this is really quite remarkable.

4) why is 19th century Gowanus (for one example) almost totally ignored, even by idiots who claim to live & blog there?

5) wait for a few more condos to open & watch that change, unless the city just lets real estate raze the whole fucking thing, every Spanish speaking person & every ** working business ** (i.e. jobs that last longer than a goddamn shoddy construction site) be damned.

6) re: Eddie's... say it ain't so!

Regards,

Zyczymy Smacznego
WWIB Food writer

Anonymous said...

Had anyone ever proposed Jahn's interior for landmarking? You can't complain if it was never proposed. Regardless, landmarking was not going to save the business.

Anonymous said...

Good God, Crappy, this is a brilliant blog - you are exploring new areas and discussing things that no one else dares or things of.

You are the best thing for preservation and are the Margo Gale or the Jane Jacobs of your generation.

I tip my hat and nod my head to you!

Anonymous said...

It seems there are a lot of antique items
from Jahn's historic interior
that went "missing" between owners
that used to be displayed high on shelves
to the rear approaching the rest rooms.

#1. A "Hires Root Beer" dispenser; high glazed
white porcelain syrup dispenser with logo etc.
(nickel/chrome pump lid)

#2. "Ward's Orange Crush" syrup dispenser
(nickel/chrome pump lid)

#3. "Ward's Lemon Crush" syrup dispenser
(nickel/chrome pump lid)

#4. "Ward's Lime Crush"syrup dispenser
(nickel/chrome pump lid)

(The above 3 items were matte glazed
orange, yellow and green colored porcelain....
each one appropriately shaped).

The "Coca Cola" stained glass hanging lighting fixtures are repros.

There were one or two (by now priceless) originals
that haven't been there for quite a while.

The "Liberty Bell" hanging glass lighting
shade (towards the rear room) is original.

Did anyone strip the interior
of some very expensive items ?

Who knows.

P.S.
The impressionist style paintings in each booth
are by Frank Jahn.

Anonymous said...

Dont worry about the poor people - if the machine wants to keep them in a community so they dont want to loose it, they bring in those churchs groups that are front men for developers with the 'affordable housing' cannard.

Sunnyside Gardens may go non-ethnic, but no problem. Just roof over the Suunyside Railyards next door and put in several thousand apartments of 'affordable housing.'

Anonymous said...

Democratic Dictionary:

Affordable Housing - a community that votes the 'right' way.

John said...

So sad to see this one close. I have so many memories of coming here even recently (as I moved back nearby to Glendale). What could have been a real charming area with that old time feel has steadily declined as NYC and to be honest the residents have neglected the area.

With Jahn's closing I don't think there's hope to stop the destruction of the rest of Victorian Richmond Hill. Simonson's, the Hofbrau and all the other "landmark" quality buidlings will be replaced by crap. Probably even the library before long.

A shame that this area couldn't become revitalized but when you start putting stuff like the Outreach project in the area who wants to be there?

Anonymous said...

Did youread that last comment Nancy ?

I guess that it'll be the usual...."tsk, tsk, tsk".....
and little else on behalf of the "Society" !

Anonymous said...

Note to all you narrowminded, know nothing, pea brains out their:

To clear up your nonsensical assumptions about the realities of the restaurant business

First off, Jahn’s is closing because the community has shifted. Second are the greater realities of economics- food prices are up, few restaurant businesses even break even on a yearly basis. Customers expect everything for free… you want ice cream sundaes for free, what the hell do they look like to you? Government food hand outs? Face it- nothing is free anymore, everything has a price.

How about mortgages? Lights, gas, electric, labor? How about having to dig into your own pockets to pay for it all?

I think the only way Jahn’s would have really survived is if they charged tourist admission prices. Note to Ms. Nancy Cataldi who told the Times Ledger that “It’s a sin that Jahn’s is closing.” No Ms. Cataldi, it’s a sin that all those groups you took into private property barely purchased a single ice cream cone. It’s a sin that people who moved out of the neighborhood 30 years ago decided to grow and move on with their lives. It’s a sin that when they come back the one time they do forty, fifty, sixty years later, they come in for a quick glance and a long story and leave without purchasing a thing. That’s the real sin. You want to talk about loyalty, talk about the lack of it.

The Haufbrau closed, RKO Keiths turned into some low budget trash magnet.

People who don’t mind blowing cash on bingo cards had the nerve to say “$2.50 for an ice cream cone?” Have you been to Baskin Robbins or bought some Ben and Jerry’s lately? Some nerve….

If anyone knew anything about the original opening plans of any Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlour would know that they always opened next to thriving movie theaters, roller rinks and most had easily accessible parking. They would also know that when the theaters closed, by default Jahn’s closed.

Take Edy’s Sweet Shop- across the street from a theater. Peu Bella on Austin Street… across the street from a theater… should I continue…

Next you have the transportation… Lirr that used to stop right there… a train that used to stop right there… this used to be the “it” neighborhood… is no more!!!! Get over it!

Jahn’s did the Richmond Hill Community a favor by staying open this long; they have been in a long decline since the community failed them. When realtors approached RKO Keith’s management to purchase the property and restore it, they adamantly refused because the cash-scam they are running there would promptly be ended. This community could have been saved. The Historic Society planted a tree outside and expected the neighborhood to change? Give me a break…

Jahn’s was thankful for the loyal customers, those they knew by face and name. I was one of those customers. My order was embedded as much as my soul in this establishment. The staff was like family, friendly, caring, and considerate. On many visits there I saw what the true failure was with Jahn’s, that same community that now screams “betrayal” was the community that spit in the face of this family establishment. Those tourists I saw on a daily basis, those redundant stories of “I was here 50 years ago… my mother.. my grandmother… my dog….” Everyone left a piece of their life in Jahn’s. The operative word being “left”…. And never came back.

So if you want the answers as to why it’s closing…. Look within yourselves, think twice before you speak about your thoughts on its closure. Think about how you are paying your bills, why you aren’t going out more frequently, and what impact you have on business… That is your answer.

If anyone is sad, I am sad for Jahn’s.

Anonymous said...

But I thought all the immigration into Richmond Hill was supposed to be great? You mean these newcomers fail to assimilate and patronize hundred year old community institutions? There are more of them now than old timers in Richmond Hill.

Anonymous said...

"Think about how you are paying your bills, why you aren’t going out more frequently, and what impact you have on business… That is your answer."

Yeah I don't because I am being taxed to death. In the meantime, the "up-and-coming" neighborhoods are getting trendy new restaurants. What does that say about Queens?

ken said...

"Note to all you narrow-minded, know nothing, pea brains out there:"

maybe we're not as up on the ins and outs of the restaurant industry as you are
but all of us, here, are as disheartened about Jahn's closing as you are. So why insult us?

Anonymous said...

Wow. My mom worked there my whole life. We're talking close to thirty years, I believe. That's a lil part of my childhood gone.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is as insulting as the insults that the restaurant gets for closing. Everyone can open their mouths when the restaurant closes and blame the owners for its demise, but the truth of the matter is that people came there, said how beautiful it was and walked around and then left. Do you expect a business to stay open like that?

The business was great until the people lost its appreciation. Sure, fond memories of the place are great, but regurgitating them upon a visit doesn't make the restaurant any more successful. The neighborhood's deterioration, aging of the population, and loss of traffic in the area were the main catalyst's in this unfortunate event....however, life goes on, and you all will too....so stop crying about it and move on...it didn't bother any of you within the last 50-60 years, so why bother you now?

I guess it's true what they say...you never know what you got until it's gone.

Anonymous said...

That pish-ox joint in Jackson Heights
has no authenticity!
Calling it "Jahn's" is an insult.

But you know those JH types
easily impressed......
living a sequestered existence!

Anonymous said...

Judas is Judas.....and the betrayal role
belongs to all who let it happen1

Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody will place a bronze plaque....
ha, ha,.....in front of the site.....
to remind us of what we lost....eh Nancy!

Let's convert the RKO into a Guyanese
wedding factory.......(choking with laughter) !

Anonymous said...

The owners "BETRAYED"
the community....pure and simple!

If I had owned Jahn's....
I would have sought out a sympathetic buyer
who has the imagination for creatively
re-using its interior !
(It didn't have to remain just
an ice cream parlour).

I would have put a clause in the selling contract
that the interior must be preserved !

I wouldn't have just cashed out and run!

But....that's me....I'm not a scum bag!

Anonymous said...

well you're not a scum bag but you're an idiot...if you had any idea on running a business you would know that not everything is all rainbows and butterflies.

You can't just search for a sympathetic buyer. Its easy for you to sit at the computer screen and say "If I were the owner..." but the truth of the matter is, you are not an owner, you either lack the creativity or the drive to open up a business, so why call someone else a scum bag?

In order to make a business work, people like you should get off their asses, and go visit the place, give it business so that it could service you, and provide feedback that they need to let them know how they could better serve you. Talking through a computer screen just proves how ridiculous you are.

Finster said...

Oh, I like this guy!! (Or gal??) He or she tells it like it is! Stop whining people, it wasn't all just the owner's fault for having to close Jahn's. Only your typical Starbucks sipping, artsy fartsy liberal would call struggling business owners "scum bags" for not finding the "right" person to sell out to.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Jahn's is that the quality of the place went downhill with the new owners, food was crappy. That is a bad business plan.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that in that prime location, the best offer came from a Mexican restaurant. Want to make a bet as to how long that place stays in business?

Anonymous said...

So....angry anonymous poster
(Jahn's former owner....perhaps?)
I may not be a "scum bag"
but I seem to be an "idiot"?

That's OK by me
and I thank you for this "genteel" concession....
which was barely a dent in my fender.

You're entitled to your opinion
as I'm entitled to mine.

But let's not waste time going into detail
in discussing your ignorance.
That has already been well demonstrated
by your comment in which you've assumed
that I'm inexperienced in business matters.

For your info....
I have run a successful retail business
for most of my life and am fully aware
of all the ins and outs of the endeavor.

I leave the "butterflies and rainbows"
for you to embroider on your jacket.

But I regret I won't be able to reveal
the actual name of my establishment
for in doing so I would reveal who I am....
and I prefer to remain anonymous.

You can choose to believe what I've said or not.

If not .....I couldn't care less.

The point I'm making here is
when I retired and sold my old location....
I instructed my attorney to place a
DEED RESTRICTION into the contract
requiring the new owners
to retain 90% of the key architectural
integrity of this historic interior......
which they happily agreed to do.

I found this sympathetic buyer
by contacting various organizations such as
the National Trust For Historic Preservation etc.
and the process wasn't all that difficult.
It took a little longer, I must admit,
than if I had just dumped the property....
but it was well worth it in the long run.

The result being.....
today the new business owners
benefit from their unique surroundings
which have enticed and encouraged
patrons to enter and spend money in their store.
It is certainly successful by anyone's standards.

That, "my friend" is
all around GOOD BUSINESS SENSE
which worked well me, the new owners
AND THE COMMUNITY!

And I sleep well at night
knowing that I've done my bit to preserve history and beauty which will continue to survive
for many years to come.

Now....
if you just part your legs a trifle
and bend over backwards and upwards.....
you may be able to find your brains
up inside there.....
somewhere in the dark.

I leave you with a parting teasing hint ....
my former business establishment
was located somewhere in the west Bronx.

10-4....over & out!
No further discussion necessary.

Anonymous said...

I was there the end of June 2007, I had no idea they closed....I was thinking about going there soon, guess that won't be happening.