By Nicholas Kalis
Sixth in a series of glimpses into industries or warehouses that made for interesting freight operations on the Long Island. Information presented has included, where available, a brief history of the firm, how it was served by the LIRR, and what commodities were received or shipped from this facility.
Phone directories of the 1960s list its address as 33-00 Northern Boulevard which would place it near 33rd Street. This building was built by Henry Ford in 1915, it later became the Roto Broil factory, owned by Leon Klinghoffer, who was shot to death and pushed into the Mediterranean by terrorists aboard the Achille Lauro. By 1973-74, the local phone directory no longer listed Roto-Broil. Page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings (June 1966) puts Roto-Broil (Spot 19a), located in Long Island City, facing Yard A while with its own track it shared a spur with Extrin. Roto-Broil was flanked by Speed Queen (former Standard Plumbing - Could this be the Standard Sanitary Co. in Photograph 1 below?) or Spot 18 to its West and Seggerman Slocum (Spot 20) to its East. Roto-Broil is South of Extrin Foods and just East of Honeywell Avenue. I have been unable to identify any auxiliary buildings associated with this building as is the case with some of its neighboring businesses.
J. Reselike's 1937 photo from the Frank Zahn Collection may hold the answer to the mystery of how the Roto-Broil building appeared. The photo refered to shows Kohler (Spot 21) to the right and Spots 20 amd probably 19a to its left. According to Carl Fabrizi, an open-sided freight shed probably belongs to the PRR and is not connected with any local industry. Is a taller building with a skeletal structure for a sign Roto-Broil? Is a shorter building between Kohler and the taller building Seggerman Slocum?
I would guess commodities shipped into this facility by rail were assembled kitchen appliances carried in box cars and originated from the central factory of Roto-Broil. Can anyone identify in what city or town this manufacturer's plant was? I assume Roto-Broil warehoused, distributed, and serviced appliances from this location but only empties left this facility by rail. Roto-Broil was once a household name in America as a Mr. and Mrs. Roto-Broil Cookbook dated 1955 evidences. Roto-Broil's fame was so great famed artist Roy Lichtenstein made a Roto-Broil appliance the subject of one of his artworks.
I have built a foam core mock-up in HO scale of this building.
Thanks to Carl Fabrizi, Bob Miller, and Bill Myers. An early draft of this article was sent to Richard F. Makse for review.
Author Unknown Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings (Reprint) June 1966
Please send photographs that show how Extrin appeared in the 1960s and direct any comments on or corrections to this manuscript to: