In 1928 the community of Laurelton Homes was one of the most beautiful and affluent communities in Queens. It was built by the Gross Morton Organization, which constructed upscale homes for an upper working class.
Gross Morton broke all records by selling 570 homes in less than three months in 1928. More than 10 percent of the one-family homes built in all of New York State that year were sold by Laurelton Homes.
These upscale homes were bought largely by professional Jewish families escaping the pressures of renting in Brooklyn and on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. These families brought with them the culture of insisting on strictly fresh kosher meat and chicken.
Long before the supermarket, the butcher was the primary source of good meat you could trust. He became part of the family.
The first kosher butcher to serve Laurelton was Benjamin Weinberg, whose shop was at 228-03 Merrick Blvd. It later became known as Max’s, and served the community for four decades. It sold meat and chickens that were slaughtered and dressed clean and fresh for dinner, never frozen.
The great demand for kosher meat was evident, with other establishments competing on Merrick Boulevard such as Utopia at 230-06, George’s at 229-13, P and B Kosher at 231-04 and Merrick Packing at 234-05.
By the 1970s the kosher butchers were all gone, being replaced by daycare centers, check cashing stores and pizzerias as the community became primarily African-American: proof again that nothing is forever in Queens, as it is an ever changing community rich with immigrants from everywhere in the world.