Filling in a few of the historical gaps at 71 Hudson

The comment from Deborah Hartley got Suellen Epstein reminiscing about her time at 75 Hudson in the early ’70s, which got her wondering about the egg business at 71 Hudson and whether her recall was correct that it was Ballas Eggs. So she reached out to a Ballas Egg Products Corporation in Zanesville, Ohio, 50 miles east of Columbus. Indeed it’s the same company, run by the same family still and founded here in 1928.

This is the note from Craig Ballas, who also sent this great photo. His family’s history here fills in a few decades in Tom Miller’s history of the building, which dates back to 1867.

“It was a pleasure to speak with you yesterday. I have attached the photo that I mentioned. It is dated June 20, 1947. I googled Ballas Egg and found an article that listed my grandfather’s business address as 71 Hudson St. so I am assuming that is the address of this building. I hope this adds to your collection of memories of the time you spent in this neighborhood. Stay safe and stay well.”

I have to note that their motto is “There’s only one way you can beat us” [insert photo of egg beater]. They are sell their eggs dried, liquid and frozen.

As Suellen recalls, she got to know Ballas as part of an informal collective she and a few neighbors created — dubbed the Erotic Food Co-op — when there weren’t any supermarkets. There was one scale that was passed between the households each month to divide, pick-up and pay. They would buy in bulk from the wholesalers in the neighborhood — Standard Importing, Erewhon, Bazzini — that is until most of them moved out to Hunts Point or points west in the late ’70s and ’80s.

Since those were the days of no intercom systems and no cellphones, the delivery men would stand in the street and shout up, “Delivery for Erotic.”

UPDATE: James sent this picture of Hudson and Jay in 1902; and just so it’s here for now, I added this recent find from Ken Smith of Warren and West Broadway in 1914.



  1. Great photo.

    Just for fun: 1902, via NY Historical Society:

    • Great find, James! I added it to the post and stuck in one a bit further downtown — Warren and West Broadway in 1914, the current drycleaner — that Ken Smith dug up recently.

    • Wonderful photo, James. The importance of preserving an Historic district. Buildings that gracefully transition from industry to dwelling.

  2. The photo identified as “Hudson and Jay” in 1902 — isn’t that Worth Street running into Hudson?

  3. Great story. Brought back wonderful memories of Sue Ellen’s gymnastic class my daughter went to probably around 1979 or 1980!

  4. So happy to reminisce about Erotic Food Co-op. Definitely deserves a place in Tribeca lore. Thanks, Suellen!