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« Michael Hirsh, Hearing Impaired | Main | Interview With Todd Bensman »

Northeast Corridor Pastimes

I'm writing this from the train, between New York & Philadephia, from the much-coveted Dining Car (excuse me, "Food Service Car"), Now With 120V Outlets!. I had forgotten just how industrial and, worse, post-industrial the landscape is on the Northeast Corridor. Seriously, if half of what remains of the buildings weren't covered in bright, fresh-looking graffiti, the company on the train would be welcome reassurance that you weren't living through "Miri," which was bad enough as a third-season episode.

Still, it's fun to look for company names on bombed-out buildings and Google them. For instance, the long-forgotten Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate and Cocoa Company yields this, from March 1929:

Blumenthals. Famed among cocoa makers are the Hershey Chocolate Co., the Walter Baker Co. (Postum subsidiary) and the Blumenthal Bros. There are five Blumenthals, Joseph, Meyer, Aaron, M. I., and Jacob; but Joseph, the president, is more potent than his brethren. Last week he bustled busily over the Exchange. He is a small, thin man (hardly five feet tall) with a brown suit which he has worn so consistently that it is indelibly associated with him. Of German descent, he is an Orthodox Jew, and rarely visits the Exchange on Saturdays except when there is a very threatening bear market. The main plant is in Philadelphia; the New York office, at No. 16 Exchange Place, is small as to staff and scarce as to furniture. On the walls hang many photographs of family Blumenthal groups—the various Blumenthals with their wives and children and an old group picture of the five brothers. The Blumenthals are best known through their Raisinettes, a specialty consisting of a chocolate-embedded raisin. Another good Blumenthal seller is a peanut coated with chocolate. All the Blumenthals are excellent pinochle players.

"A peanut coated with chocolate." They also invented these.

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