Sunday, April 30, 2017

It’s Check-Out Time for Shoreway Motel

Vintage postcard of the Shoreway Motel in happier times
Lorain’s certainly not wasting any time demolishing the Shoreway Motel on West Erie Avenue. I noticed last Thursday that a big red dumpster (below) had taken up residence there. That ominous sign is as good as hearing the fat lady sing.

Sure enough, when I drove by there today, the demolition was well underway.
I resisted the urge to grab a souvenir cinder block for my collection.
Oh well, here’s hoping the great signs out front get a new home.
Remember when the Shoreway Motel was for sale back in 2010? It still looked pretty good back then.

Friday, April 28, 2017

We’ve Got Souse! – April 28, 1967

Now here’s something you’re not going to see in the newspaper these days: an ad promoting the availability of Sugardale souse. It ran in the Journal on April 28, 1967 – a mere 50 years ago today.

What’s that? You don’t know what souse is? (The ad asks the same question too, in fine print.) Then I guess you didn’t have any Germans in your family.

During the Depression, my father’s family had to move in with his German grandparents. Consequently, he was exposed to German language and culture – including food. Grandpa Esterle did his own butchering and made his own head cheese – which is also known as souse.

We grew up eating it in the 1960s because Dad still liked it, although I was never crazy about it – probably because of the way it looked. There were just too many strange-looking things in that speckled, gelatin-like mass. (Dad liked pickled pig’s feet too.)

Then a few years ago, I happened to be in Hansa Import House in Cleveland on Lorain Avenue (near where I work) and impulsively bought a 1/2 pound of souse to bring back to work and gross out my co-workers. None of them would go near the stuff. But after nibbling it all afternoon, I discovered that after all these years I thought it was pretty good.

Just another example of a good idea that took a while to catch on.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lions Club Ad – April 22, 1957

From Lyons to Lions (sorry, it just worked out that way)…

Here’s a cute ad for the Lorain Lions Club’s 6th Annual White Elephant Sale. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on April 22, 1957.

Early 1920s version of the logo
The Lorain Lions Club was formed on April 24, 1922, according to an article in the July 18, 1959 Lorain Journal. The article noted that the club “is best known, as are its state and national counterparts, for financial contributions to the blind and sight-saving programs.

“Among its local projects to aid this cause are the annual sale of fruit cakes and a white elephant sale. All proceeds go to eye research in Ohio.

“More than 2,500 tree seedlings planted in Longfellow Park as a club project on March 9, 1945, still are being replanted in parks throughout the city.

“Three men, Louis Carek, Paul Kleefeld and Harry Getrost, were responsible for formation of this club.

“The original charter was granted by Lions International October 12, 1922, and signed by 37 Lorain businessmen."

I wrote about how the club helped to beautify Washington Park after the infamous 1924 Lorain Tornado here.

Lorain’s Lion Club had an office in the Hotel Antlers beginning in the 1920s.

Anyway, I wonder if the term ‘white elephant sale’ is still in use today? If you’re wondering (like me) how that expression came into being, check out this Wiki entry.

And, happily, the Lorain Lions Club is still around! Click here to visit its blog.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jimmy “Two-Gun" Lyons Murder Case Revisited – Part 2

Here’s Jim Lyons' own story of how he escaped from jail and eventually turned himself in, as it appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on April 13, 1926.

It’s a fascinating look inside a criminal’s mind. He’s actually a pretty good writer (and at least up to blogger standards).

I still think this tragic tale would make a good TV movie.

“Two-Gun Bad Man,” Sent
Back to Jail by Wife to
Face “Chair,” Tells Story

Escape from Cell “Easy,” Asserts James Lyons, Who
Eluded Posses, Troopers and Returned Self
to Custody of Sheriff

EDITOR”S NOTE: James Lyons, youthful confessed killer, has written his own story of his escape and surrender for the United Press. The story follows:

(Copyright 1926 By United Press)

NORWALK, April 12 – A woman – my wife whom I hadn’t seen until yesterday for nine months – sent me back to jail to face the electric chair.

I was not outside of Norwalk all day Monday.

I walked about the streets, passing persons I knew well.

I took this occasion to visit a few of the boys who had been talking too much, and to leave them a little message that I might be back to see them most any time unless they did less talking.

I found out 10 days ago that I could unlock the jail door and escape.

I walked around the bull pen, I studied the locks and found I could pick all of them.

I was going to wait until later to make my get-away but last night I decided they might place a guard in the cell with me after the trial started so I made up my mind to leave.

With a little piece of wire I threw the bolts on the bull pen door.

Picked The Locks
After I opened the bull pen door, I picked the lock on the outside door. Then I went back to my cell and put on my clothes. Hugh Burdue, the guard, came up and looked into the cell but I was in bed.

I fixed up a dummy in the bed, put on my clothes and walked out.

When I got out to the bridge of sighs I found a Yale lock on the door to the courthouse and because this would take too long to fix, I went back to the jail and got a blanket off my cot.

When I came back I struck a loose bar in the bridge and it rang out like a bell. I thought sure I was gone. I tied the blanket to the bottom of the bridge and crawled up to the roof thru a hole I had noticed when they took me over for arraignment.

I slide down the blanket and started to run out of the alley and east on Seminary-st.

Fled To Wife
I decided to go and see my wife. I married her two years ago.

I knew what would happen when I saw her. That she wouldn’t have anything to do with me. I hadn’t done right by her so I told her I would lay low until they put another thousand on my head.

“Then,” I told her, “you can turn me in and get the reward.”

I proposed this to her while we ate breakfast. She refused.

I was with her five hours and then went to call on some of my friends.

Saw The Searchers
Late in the afternoon I built a fire beside the road, just east of town and dried my shoes. Trolley cars went by so close I could see the passengers. I saw the searchers go by. I decided to take my wife’s advice and come back.

I walked up Seminary-st after I had been on Main and other streets, then went to the sheriff’s home.

I rang the bell and the sheriff’s son, Clarence, opened the door. I asked if Sheriff Gregory was in. Clarence said: “No,” and started to close the door.

Then he said: “I’ll be damned if it isn’t Jim!” and he grabbed my shoulders. He called his sister, Lucille.

Back To Stay
She looked at me and said: “It’s Jim Lyons, it’s Jim Lyons. Are you back for good Jim?”

I said: “Sure, why not. What did you think I came back for – for another suit of clothes or something.”

Here's the cover of the April 14, 1926 Lorain Journal, two days after Lyons was captured, as the trial was about to get underway.

A week later, Jim Lyons decided to make a break for it again. But this escape was thwarted, according to the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on April 19, 1926.

It’s a good thing, too, as his guards risked modern-day comparisons to Barney Fife if Lyons had escaped a second time.

Lyon’s Second Escape Is
Frustrated By Deputies

Wire Found in Cell, Steel Watch Spring Missing;
Gunman Wills Pistol to Wife

NORWALK, April 19 – Plans of James “two gun” Lyon to make another break for liberty from the county jail were believed frustrated today when Deputy Sheriffs Frank Adelman and Hugh Burdue searched his cell and found a long piece of wire similar to the one he used in his escape a week ago.

The cell was searched while Lyon was on trial for the murder of Frank McGrath, agent of the American Railway Express Co. The deputies also learned, they said, that Lyon had taken apart his watch and had failed to replace the mainspring.

The cell was searched thoroly but the spring was not found.

Sleuth on Stand
Lyon will be searched when he is returned to his cell.

While the search was on Lyon was listening to testimony of Capt. T. Rowe, of the B. and O. Railroad police who accompanied Lyon back to Norwalk from Alpena, Mich, where he was captured.

Rowe’s testimony was regarded as one of the strongest links to the chain of evidence by which the state hopes to send the alleged killer to the electric chair.

The defense contends Lyon did not fire the shot that killed McGrath. Rowe testified that enroute from Alpena to Norwalk Lyon admitted he fired the fatal bullet.

Four Shots Fired
"We asked Lyon how many shots were fired,” Lowe said. “He said four had been fired.”

Lyon, under heavy guard, entered the courtroom smiling today. He had just made his last will and testament in which he bequeathed his German Luger to his wife.

“I am leaving the pistol to my wife,” the young desperado told reporters. “She has had it most of the time anyway and I want her to keep it."

Jim Lyons made plans for one last attempt to avoid the electric chair – or die trying. However, he was unable to convince his brother to slip him a weapon, and was executed, as described in the article below on the front page of the April 9, 1927 Lorain Journal.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jimmy “Two-Gun" Lyons Murder Case Revisited – Part 1

Headline from Feb. 18, 1926
About a year ago, I did a few posts about Jim Lyons (sometimes spelled just ‘Lyon’), the man who murdered a railway express agent near Havana, Ohio back in February 1926. The manhunt for Lyon and his brother ended with their capture in Michigan about three weeks later. They were brought back to Norwalk to stand trial, but in April that same year Jim Lyon managed to escape from jail and run amuck for a day before turning himself in.

After my two-part series on Lyons' escape and recapture, I wrote about the farm house (at left) where the murder took place, as well as my road trip to Havana.

Since my original posts were based on a 1957 Lorain Journal article about the crime, I decided to go back and review newspaper microfilm from 1928 to see how the murder and the escape from jail were handled in the local press.

At the top of this post, you see the Norwalk Reflector headline from Feb. 18, 1926,  the day of the murder. Unfortunately, most of the faded front page was unreadable except for the headline.

The Lorain Journal covered the murder the next day with this small front page article (below).

The impending trial of Jim Lyon only warranted a small article on the front page of the April 10, 1926 edition of the Journal as well.

But it was the Journal’s turn for a dramatic headline when Jim Lyons escaped from jail in April. Here’s the front page from April 12, 1926.
Surprisingly, the best account of his capture after roaming Norwalk for a day was written by none other than Jim Lyons himself, who wrote his own story for the United Press. Stop back here tomorrow for that unique bit of journalism which appeared on the front page of the Journal.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Winds of Change Are Blowing on West Erie Avenue

Vintage postcard of the Beachcomber Motel, later known as Erieview Motel
A lot of changes have taken place recently on a short stretch of West Erie Avenue just west of Leavitt Road.

First of all, the long-awaited demolition of the Erieview Motel (originally the Beachcomber) happened a few days ago.

(The Morning Journal’s coverage of the demolition included a link to my blog, as well as some quotes of mine from back in 2015 in which I criticized the city for how quickly it dubbed the West Erie Avenue motels nuisances that needed to be demolished. I groaned when I read my opinions in the article, as it reminded me of how I was beat up because of them on the blog back then.)
Just a little bit to the east of the steaming pile of motel rubble is the former Castle Restaurant. Since 2014, it had been doing business as Castillo Mexicano. Along with a recent change in management, the restaurant now has a new name: Papasitos & Beer Mexican Grill. I wish the new restaurant team well.

Lastly, a little bit further to the east, the Morning Journal has moved into the building that was home to various restaurants, as well as the former McDonald’s
I first noticed the Morning Journal sign there a week ago and did a double-take. 
Anyway, I wish the Morning Journal good luck in its new home.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ontario Store Expands – April 1967

Ontario Store remains one of the all-time most popular topics on this blog, with many comments left on one 2011 post by former employees, as well as shoppers who remember it with nostalgia. I also wrote about the store’s 1954 merger with Cook United here.

Well, here’s an article about how the popular store had already had to expand to meet demand in its early days at its location between Lorain and Elyria. The article ran in the Journal on April 15, 1967.

Ontario Store Expansion Completed

The Ontario Store, well-known Greater Lorain-Elyria shopping complex, has made more changes inside than meets the eye.

A recently completed $100,000 expansion project at Rt. 254 and Elyria Avenue completed the theme of a long common front with Pick ’n Pay Supermarket. Both firms are owned by the Cook Coffee Company, headed by the late Max Friedman.

ACCORDING to Manager John Dimacchia, an eight-year veteran of the Ontario firm, “We originally offered price-competitive products only. We have now elevated quality to give our customers a wider range and price selection of the same items.”

He said although no new departments were added, “every department got a boost in individual items.”

One of the nicest things you’ll like about The Ontario Store is that you can tell clerks, cashiers and service personnel from a distance. Each wears a distinctive blue smock.

THE ONCE small parking lot has been expanded to where 350 cars now have parking spaces. Twelve checkout counters are operating on the SR 254 side and two on the Elyria Avenue entrance-exit.

The older original store has been completely remodeled.

Dimacchia said adding another 10,000 square feet “now brings the total shopping area to more than 50,000 square feet – chock-full of items high on customer priority lists.”

One example (and you’re probably too late) was brand-name golf balls at three for 88 cents.

“They’re going like hotcakes,” said the clerk as she stacked the last of them. “My goodness."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It’s That Guy Again!

It’s been a while since I posted another one of my discoveries of Ed, the Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge mascot appearing in the pages of vintage Lorain Journals. You remember him – he was the little “everyman" who was obviously part of some kind of clip art package that the Journal owned and used from the early 1950s right into the 1970s.

In the Tomko ads, he is shown in a perpetual, toothless holler, as seen at right. Usually these ads depict him in various humorous scenarios by plunking his head on another body for zany effect.

Here on my blog, I’ve already documented five or six of his appearances in vintage ads for just about everything, including TV repair, painting contractors, new houses, furniture, and of course, new cars.

Well, here are two more examples of him quietly working to promote something. Below is a 1967 ad for the Antlers Hotel cocktail lounge promoting “Gene,” who regularly played the organ and piano there. Ed gives his thumbs-up approval. The ad ran around St. Patrick’s Day that year.
And here’s another one from ten years earlier. This ad promotes the well-remembered "Family Weekly" magazine that was part of the Journal on Saturday for so many years and was apparently a new addition locally in early April 1957.

April 4, 1957 Lorain Journal ad
Could that be Ed’s wife in the ad?
Anyway, to learn more about the history of Family Weekly and other "Sunday magazines," click here.

July 1957 Family Weekly (courtesy Ebay)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gene Patrick’s Other Comic Strip for the Journal

Anyone who has read this blog for a long time knows that I’m a fan of the late Gene Patrick and his Passing Scene comic strip that ran in the Journal for several years beginning in the mid-1960s and right into the 1970s. At times it must seem like I’m attempting to post the entire run of the strip.

The Passing Scene was great because it commented on the happenings of Lorain County. Politics seemed to provide an endless supply of material for Patrick and his strip included funny caricatures of local politicians such as Lorain Mayors Woody Mathna and Joe Zahorec.

But Patrick must have had an urge to do a classic style strip that would feature his own material and humor, independent of any local angle. He found that outlet in a strip he started a couple years after the Passing Scene was underway.

And that new strip was called Ollie Odd. It was odd all right, and done in a gag-a-day style format.

Here are a few samples of the strip that ran in April 1967 on the 5th, 6th and 14th. This first batch was focused on Ollie’s attempts to come up with a good mode of transportation.
Perhaps it’s fortunate that Patrick's Ollie Odd didn’t take off, as its success might have deprived Journal readers of his well-remembered Passing Scene.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Paul & Bill’s Sinclair – April 1957

Here’s an ad for a service station located at an intersection that I’ve written about before. The service station was Paul and Bill’s Sinclair, located at Ohio Routes 58 and 113.

Paul Cuenin and Bill Bodnar had taken over operation of the service station located on the southwest corner of the intersection and were holding an open house of sorts. The ad for the big event ran in the Lorain Journal on April 11, 1957.

The ‘get acquainted’ event featured all sorts of prizes, including a large boneless ham and free gas. The ubiquitous Anchor Hocking glasses were also given away at the event. (J. F. Medder was giving away the same glasses at his Sinclair station in Sheffield Lake in 1957, as was Bill Thomas at his Lorain Sinclair station.)

By 1962, the service station had become Bob & Bill’s Sinclair Service. Within a few years after that, it became just plain Bob’s Sinclair.

It appears that Bob ran the station for many years, switching to the Arco brand in the 1970s and Marathon in the 1980s. It remained open right into the 1990s, when its address was officially listed as 46005 Telegraph Road.

Today, the former service station at Routes 113 and 58 is shuttered.

Courtesy Google Maps

Monday, April 17, 2017

Edna’s Restaurant – April 13, 1957

Edna’s Restaurant on Route 6 west of Lorain is one of those topics that seem to pop up on my blog again and again. Above is a full-page ad for the Grand Opening of the business that ran in the Lorain Journal on April 13, 1957.

It’s a strange ad. No photo of “the newest most modern family restaurant” – just a bunch of clip art of hands with some space-age graphics thrown in.

As you can see, even in 1957 – decades after the Lake Shore Electric went out of existence – the only address in the ad is still Stop 111 West Lake Road. But after writing about Edna’s Restaurant several times (including this most recent post), I know that the new building in the ad is what we now know as the old Tiffany’s Steakhouse next to Skate World.

Here’s another ad (below) for Edna’s that I found recently. This one ran in the Lorain Journal in the big 125th Anniversary of Lorain edition in July 1959. The ad mentions that Edna had been serving truckers since 1953, but I have no idea where the business was located then; I was unable to find any listing of Ed or Edna Mitchell in any of the older directories.
As I’ve noted in a previous post, by the time of the 1960 city directory, Edna had moved her business to the south side of the highway to a smaller building and acquired a real address: 4875 West Erie.

Why did she move her business? I don’t know; maybe she lost her lease.  I hope to find out someday, or at least find an ad that acknowledges the move.

By the way, there’s been some activity at the former restaurant building on West Erie in the last month, with a dumpster stationed outside for a while. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

The scene down at Lakeview Park on Saturday afternoon
Here’s wishing all of my readers a Happy Easter!
Nothing says Easter like an Easter Bunny scanned from a 1957 Harry Volk Clip Book of Line Art!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Loading up the Lakeview Park Easter Basket – 1957

If there’s one photo that you can count on seeing almost every year in the Morning Journal and Chronicle-Telegram at Easter, it has to be the ceremonial placement of the large, concrete eggs in the iconic Lakeview Park Easter Basket.

It’s a tradition going back decades. I posted the 1958 edition back in 2011.

Here’s the photo (below) from 1957 as it appeared in the Lorain Journal on April 20th, the day before Easter. The caption reveals that David Shukait, the man who designed Lorain’s giant concrete easter baskets, had recently received a patent for the process he used to create them.

Joe Trifiletti and Charles Camera were the egg-bearers in the 1958 photo as well.

On the day after Easter 1957, the Journal published a photo of the crowd down at Lakeview Park.

MAIN ATTRACTION – The huge basket in Lakeview Park, as in other years,
was the main objective of Lorain’s Easter paraders yesterday. Traffic in the
vicinity of the park was slowed to a crawl as thousands gathered at the basket,
including many out of town and out of state visitors.
A lot of people took advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend to get their Easter photos early by the basket in Lakeview Park. I noticed a small crowd every time I drove by there on Saturday and Sunday.

I would guess that the Lakeview Park Easter Basket is probably Lorain’s most-loved landmark, at least by locals.

More beloved than the Lighthouse? I think so. Many residents old and new have an emotional connection to the basket due to the tradition of taking family photos in front of it. It’s a lovely ritual that seems to be growing in popularity again, year after year.

It just wouldn’t be Lorain without its giant Easter Basket. And that’s something the Shukait family can always be proud of.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Central Bakery Easter Ad – 1957

I was fairly surprised to discover that I haven’t mentioned the longtime Lorain business Central Bakery too much on this blog over the years. So, it’s a good reason to post the above Easter-themed ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on April 15, 1957.

There seems to be two dates associated with the opening of Central Bakery. A full-page ad for the company that ran in the Journal on June 21, 1955 states that the firm has been “Serving Lorain Since May 15, 1915.” Other sources (including the Lorain Public Library’s online History of Lorain timeline) say that it was 1904 and that Edward Kowalski started the business.

Anyway, on December 11, 1963 an early morning fire destroyed the Central Bakery plant and offices at 2326 Elyria Avenue. The damage to the two-story brick building which housed the bakery, as well as a retail store in front of it facing Elyria Avenue, were estimated to exceed $250,000.

The bakery did not reopen, and a longtime Lorain business was lost to the ages.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Lorain’s Highland Park Became Central Park

A scene at Central Park today
Last week I featured an article about Oakwood Park that ran in the Lorain Daily News back in late August 1939. Here’s another article that was part of that newspaper’s series on Lorain parks. This one features a short history of Central Park and ran in the paper about a week later on September 7, 1939.

third in a series of articles concerning the history and development of Lorain city parks

The wading pool at Central Park, located west of Oakdale ave. between West 27th and 30th sts., is constructed over an old quarry hole. The 16 1/2 acre tract purchased by the city in 1911 to be used as park land was all quarry and trees. Old timers in the neighborhood say it was a tale easy to believe that the quarry hole had no bottom. Several drownings occurred that made even the boys who persisted in using the hole for swimming, more cautious. So the city lost no time in filling up the old “death trap” with rubbish, tin cans and refuse, and after it had settled sufficiently, topped it with a thick cement wading pool.

The park was christened “Highland Park” by the city dads, and that name stuck until 17 years later. In June, 1928, persons owning lots adjacent the spot, petitioned the city to change the name to Central Park. The council acquiesced and by ordinance No. 3527, the new name became legal.

More people per square foot use Central as a play spot than any other place in the city, according to statistics provided by the City Recreation Commission. Many games of the city baseball leagues are played on the Central diamonds. The City Park Commission realize only too well, the need of more park space in Central Lorain. A few adequate spots are available, and have been considered pending the time when the city has funds for such a purchase.

The park as it is, has a number of improvements listed for it by the Park Department book of “must be dones,” according to Supt. Geo. Crehore. A new wading pool, a new rest room and shelter house, new baseball bleachers, more tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and more picnic tables and benches are necessary to equip the park satisfactorily for the use of the people it serves.

I remember my father late in life expressing his annoyance at the park’s name change from Highland to Central Park.

I guess it was because he spent a lot of time playing there as a kid in the 1920s. It was only a block from the house where his grandparents lived on W. 28th Street, and just a couple blocks from where he grew up on Livingston. Thus the name change probably trampled on his memories.

Nevertheless, today the Highland Park name lives on as the name of the boulevard running east off of Oberlin Avenue towards the park’s northern limits.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cleveland Indians Home Openers – 1947 & 1957

Well, today is the Indians’ Home Opener – so I thought I’d better prepare something appropriate.

At the top you see my genuine Twins Enterprise, Inc. Collectible MLB Bobbing Head Chief Wahoo Doll fron the 1990s. It was inexpensive, and not a bad facsimile of the type of bobble heads that my brothers and I used to ogle down at the old Municipal Stadium souvenir stands in the 1960s. Those same original nodders now run about 300 clams on Ebay (that’s a lot of wampum), so this one will have to do for now.

Anyway, I went back to see how the Indians did on two other Home Openers – 70 years ago and 60 years ago.

In 1947 the Indians were still a year away from the season which ended with them winning the World Series. Bob Feller took the mound against the Chicago White Sox on April 15, 1947. Unfortunately, he was “trumped” (very appropriate now) 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 55,014 fans.

Here’s the story from the April 16, 1947 Lorain Journal.

In the 1957 Home Opener, the Indians played – who else? – the Chicago White Sox. On April 16, 1957, the day of the game, the Lorain Journal ran this article featuring great illustrations of Cleveland Manager Kerby Farrell and Chicago White Sox Manager Al Lopez.
Unfortunately, the Tribe lost this one as well, 3-2. Herb Score pitched all 11 innings of this three hour and 28 minute game.
Let’s hope the Indians make out better against the Chicago White Sox today.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Penfield Avenue Looking North – Then & Now

Vintage postcard postmarked January 19, 1910
Although the look of Downtown Lorain was altered forever by the 1924 tornado, the buildings of the Central Lorain business district have remained largely intact for more than a hundred years.

A good example is this vintage postcard (postmarked 1910) of "Penfield Avenue Looking North" that was recently on Ebay, and ripe for the “Then & Now” treatment.

Some of the signs in the photo are legible. I was able to find a few of them in the closest available city directory, although in the 1912 edition the Penfield addresses have already been replaced with that of the new name – Broadway.

We see a sign for DOCTOR GRILLS on the far left side of the photo. Dr. A. T. Grills was a physician and surgeon with his office there at 1948 Broadway. There are also signs for a hotel and a dentist that I could not identify in any available directories.

Further down the street is a sign for FURNITURE & CARPETS that corresponds with Reichlin, Reidy & Scanlan, whose address was 1930-1934 Broadway in 1912.

Today it appears that many of the original buildings from the vintage postcard are still there, though greatly modified through the years.

UPDATE (April 11, 2017)
I finally noticed that the sign advertising the hotel in the vintage postcard is actually on a pole – not attached to the building as I originally thought. Consequently, I believe the sign is pointing down W. 20th Street towards Livingston Avenue where the Commonwealth Hotel was located at 1950 Livingston.