Chiclets Factory

30-30 Thomson Avenue
Ballinger & Perrot

Now the headquarters of the New York City School Construction Authority, this six-story flat-slab concrete factory building was built by the American Chicle Company in 1919 as part of the Degnon Terminal industrial park. Raw chicle was unloaded onsite via a direct railway connection, brought to the top floor for spraying to keep moist, then moved by gravity conveyors to each floor for chewing gum production. The building’s façade is dominated by a two-story central tower, but was famous for its three large rooftop signs that once advertised “Dentyne,” “Adams Black Jack,” and “Chiclets” to passing commuters on the Long Island Rail Road. At the pedestrian level, the façade is enlivened at the second story of each pier by colorful tile work with designs featuring a raised floral motif surrounding a geometric diamond pattern. In 1976, an explosion that killed one worker marked the start of a decline that ultimately led the factory to close its doors and lay off 1,600 employees in 1981.