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Queens Chronicle

The Thomas H. Roulstongrocery in Long Island City

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Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015 10:30 am

The Thomas H. Roulston grocery store chain was once one of the largest in the five boroughs. Started by an Irish immigrant around 1888, it grew to 300 stores.

Roulston’s headquarters were located on Ninth Street in Brooklyn. Upon the founder’s death in 1951, the family chose to liquidate the business.

One Roulston’s store was located at the corner of 23rd Street, then Ely Avenue, and 45th Road in Long Island City. According to old tax and Census records, this mixed residential and commercial block was inhabited by poor Serbian and Armenian families in the 1920s. Today nobody poor lives in this now-upscale area.

The former Roulston’s grocery now is a convenience store, while next door at 45-16 23 St. is Tost Cafe, popular for online ordering. Miraculously, the castle-like architecture of the former Roulston’s has remained unchanged to this day.

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