It was about a year and a half ago when Dennis Trepeta purchased a property at 81 Howell Street in Black Rock. The building was once home to Peszko Market on the first floor. At one point in time, years ago, the old storefront got bricked in, which is unfortunate.
When Trepeta decided that it was time to paint the front of the bricked up shopfront, he decided that instead of simply repainting it black, he would contact a local street artist to recreate the appearance of the historic market. The artist that he opted for was Vinnie Alejandro.
Trepeta told me that he found an old photo of the market in a book titled Black Rock – A Pictorial History. Since the photo was black and white, Alejandro used his best judgement and chose colors that he knew were popular for markets at the turn of the century. “I wanted to recreate a street scene that would have been found a century ago,” said Trepeta. “My neighbors are loving it!”
Eventually, Trepeta might consider restoring the first floor into an actual storefront, but for the time being, he is making sure to pay tribute to the heritage of the neighborhood. Hopefully this initiative catches on, and we see more of these types of aesthetic improvements in other parts of the city. This particular storefront recreation is a welcome addition to the street. “It’s especially nice when viewed from the other side of the street,” said Trepeta.
A neighbor from across the street agreed, by saying, “I look at it every day from my house. It’s so nice to see.”