There are no names on the door, and it always looks locked up, but somebody must be using those upper floors. But who? And if not, may I?
In 1922 the building had a CofO to use the building for a store on the first floor, and the rest for storage. Then a new COO (new building?) was issued in 1960/61 for use as a store and showroom. It is currently classified as a loft building. There are records for this address going back to 1901. It was designated an unsafe building in 1912, 1925, 1940 and 1959. I suspect that the current building was built or extensively renovated in 1960 after the last unsafe notice. Recent violations against the building appear to revolve around their elevator. But who is using the elevator if nobody occupies those upper floors?
Here are some very brief and inconclusive findings about 28-30 Avenue A.
In 1870, John Surratt, a conspirator who wanted to kidnap Lincoln and was thought to be involved with his assasination, made a speech at Concordia Hall, but few people showed up.
Approximately 1872 - 1882 it was Concordia Hall, headquarters of Tenth Assembly District Republican Association, which was embroiled in a scandal of stealing money from the party, according to a series of reports by the NY Times. There were also social functions held here as well as cigar-maker meetings and boxing matches.
My favorite clip on Concordia Hall might be this one from 1885's Annual Register.
A fierce fight occurred at Concordia Hall New York where a Socialist meeting attended by 2,000 persons was being held A quarrel broke out between the dynamite and anti dynamite factions which ended in the police having to storm the hall and after much resistance many of the rioters were arrestedApparently, "dynamite" means "gun."
1902 - 1903 - 1911 - Progress Assembly Rooms were located here.
Most famously, in 1911 a 48-page speech was made here by labor leader Big Bill Haywood called "The General Strike" for the benefit of the Buccafori defense. Buccafori was in jail (surrounded by "human wolves") and Haywood was making a case to strike on his behalf. I can't tell what Buccafori was in jail for, other than being a labor leader. If someone feels like reading it and telling me what it's about, that would be nice. I have no patience for such loquaciousness. You can download the speech and read it on your Kindle.
In 1910, the Progress Assembly Rooms was a popular place for dancing, during the dance craze of 1910.
1917-1918 - Shaarei Groda Lodge was located here.
1960?-1989 Burger Klein furniture store
1989 or 1995-2000 - A theater space called "Context" was located here. There are several references to performances here through 2000 but none before 1995 (pre-internet?). I found a phone number and got an answering machine that said, among other items of interest that "Context Studios phone number is a misprint; please make a note of it and pass it on." So I have. If you know of anybody associated with Context, you might want to tell them that Amazon owes them some money. According to Time Out, Burger Klein moved out in 1989 and Context moved in. According to their Facebook page, Context's digs that they moved to in 2000 in Brooklyn will be closing at the end of this month.
2000-present - Gracefully, the deli that I think of first when I recall the striking deli workers who were paid less than minimum wage. I would have sworn that was in the 1990's but according to Time Out, Gracefully didn't move in until 2000. From what I can gather, the building might be owned by Singh Realty, which might be connected to Gracefully. Hard to tell without making a lot of phone calls that I'm not inclined to make.
One more interesting thing: there used to be an alley that ran behind this building called Mechanic's Place or Merchant's Place. There is no sign of it on Google maps other than trees behind the building, which presumably was once a small thoroughfare.