History hidden in plain sight

Valley Stream Historical Society: Weisbarth and Newman


Have you ever wondered what the initials “W.N.” engraved above this store’s yellow-bricked edifice stood for? The initials represent two surnames – Weisbarth and Newman. David Weisbarth (1880-1963) and Irving Newman (1905-1989) were Eastern Europeans who immigrated to New York in 1896 and 1920, respectively.

In 1938, Weisbarth, originally a tailor, teamed up with his son-in-law Newman, an attorney, to form the New-Way Building Corporation. Between 1938 and 1948 they built homes in Valley Stream on Casper Street at Shaw Avenue; Roosevelt Avenue at Mill Road; Central Avenue at Lutz Drive (Central Homes); and lastly, brick veneer houses on Molyneaux Road, Birchwood Drive and Central Avenue. All this construction necessitated a local shopping area for the new residents.

In the late 1940s, New-Way purchased a parcel of land from the Joseph March family, owners of a large farm on the east side of Central Avenue. New-Way’s L-shaped shopping strip was completed in 1951, fronting Central Avenue and wrapping around Hendrickson Avenue. Although the initials were engraved on all three corners, only those on Hendrickson Avenue and Salem Road remain visible. Favorite long-time tenants included Everbest Bakery, Joe’s Fish Market, Harry and Flo’s, Dan’s Supreme, and Central Pharmacy – amongst others.

Steven Buscemi, the director and actor from Valley Stream filmed a scene from his 1996 film “Trees Lounge” in front of the pharmacy. Irving Newman’s children, Stephen (Stephen Place, located west of Central Avenue was named after him), Cynthia and Rona are the principals of Newman Realty Company, the family-run enterprise that still owns the property – and one that has been in the family for over 65 years. Location: 421 Hendrickson Ave.