Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Coney Island Losing a Different Landmark

February 13th, 2009 · 7 Comments

Major Markets Meats is not the kind of Coney landmark that most tourists would see and Jimmy Prince is not the kind of guy that most visitors would meet unless they happened to wander into his butcher shop on Mermaid Avenue. Yet, the shop has been there since the 1930s and Jimmy has worked there since 1949 and he’s closing down tomorrow changed his mind and won’t be closing until the end of February. We’ll have a video interview with him coming up. He is sort of retiring, but he also mentioned Joe Sitt and the “changes” coming to Coney Island in saying that the “time is right” to call it quits. Major Meats happens to sit on the side of Mermaid Avenue that is the northern boundary of the big Coney rezoning plan. When redevelopment starts in earnest, his block will likely be toast. The other side of the street is not covered by the rezoning and there is a developing pattern of speculators buying up dozens of properties, probably with the hope of demolishing the homes or businesses and rebuilding under as-of-right zoning that will allow development much larger than what is currently there. There is an oral history here that the Coney Island History Project did with him. Jimmy Prince is a Brooklyn original, the kind of mom-and-pop store operator that made Brooklyn what it is. He will be sorely missed by his commmunity.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jim // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:28 am

    This is terrible. Mr. Prince is a first class gentleman and one of the few real butchers still around–no boxed beef here, he does it all.

    He never felt the need to install window gates. Everyone loves him.

  • 2 seabreezin2 // Feb 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    the most satisfiying muderburger is going to be gone,nobody make them like jimmy does,i will really miss the store where i mean where can you get a 2 inch-thick prime beef burger…nowhere ln brooklyn.i would call ahead and order 2 for pick-up.and eat them on the boardwalk,man are they good.enjoy them while ya stll can.

  • 3 If There Were 25 Hours In The Day… // Feb 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    [...] Another piece of Coney Island history being demolished [GowanusLounge] [...]

  • 4 Jerry // Feb 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks a lot Joe “Monster” Sitt and “Boston” Mike Bloomberg. Another local landmark closing because for these people want to replace long time New York City businesses with midwestern corporate chains.

  • 5 Perez-Benitez Family // Feb 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Jimmy has been the contributor to wonderful beef stews, beef bone and beef soup and simply ground beef for stuffing or lasagne at my home. My parents have purchased their beef from him for the past 30 years. Ever since I have been purchasing my beef from him also. He knew everyones name in the family, never would forget a name or a face. I would be able to call him from work give him my order and pick-up when I arrived at Coney Island. A wonderful man, beautiful character, and simply honest and wise. We love you Jim.

  • 6 charlotte deliteris // Mar 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I visited my daughter Susan Abadia this summer for her son Victorio’s birthday party held at the beach under the parachute jump and we stopped into the meat shop to say hello to Jimmy. It was a very rare thiing that he wasn’t there, so even though I never got to meet him my daughter loves and will truly miss him, a very special guy.

  • 7 Debbie P // Dec 17, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    OMG I just read this about Jimmy “Major” as we used to call him…I lived on 15th St bet Mermaid-Neptune Aves as a kid in the 70′s-early 80′s & he was one of the nicest, kindest men in the world. He used to give my mom as many soup bones as she could carry for free (except smoked ones & those were 10 cents/lb). I remember him always asking “OK Ingrid, how much money do you have today?” and she’d tell him. He’d say “Got something real good for you today be right back!” and it HAD to cost at least double that. You just don’t find people like Jimmy in this world very often, and in Coney Island, well, we were very lucky to have people like him. God bless you and your family, Jimmy. I hope that retirement is happy and healthy for you!