Where to buy concrete breeze blocks in New York, New England and the Northeast? Because of my big story on where to buy breeze blocks, I got an email and called back and voila: Dagostino Building Blocks of Schenectady, New York — just northwest of Albany — sells at least six designs of breeze blocks! Great news for breeze block hunters on the East Coast, where there are only a few suppliers!
Yes: This fourth-generation family-owned, 97-year-old company sold breeze blocks back in the day, and they still make and sell breeze blocks today. Dec. 2019 pdate: The blocks are now on their website. Originally in this story, the images from their 1960s catalog were only place you can see them online. Some days here at Retro Renovation are just more exciting than others, what can I say! Let’s take a look at all the breeze block beauteousness >>
Ken Dagostino Sr., a company co-owner, is the one who found and emailed me, and I then called him right back, I had so many questions. It was so much fun to talk to him. Like me, he seemed to be both amused and happy about the resurgence in the popularity of breeze blocks. Yes, breeze blocks came — then they went — and now they are back again! And he still has the forms to make them! I believe the story is: The forms are very expensive to make.
Ken says that Dagostino Building Blocks has been making these blocks continuously for decades. The style they sell the most is 2094. (I call these cloverleaf and indeed, they seem to have been very common then and still are, now.)
While only six designs are shown in the 1960s catalog, Ken believes that he has many more “forms” … somewhere. He laughed when I said: Yes, another example of why we tend to find the best time capsule finds at longtime family-owned companies — it’s easier for them to throw stuff in the warehouse and let it sit than, to pay to dispose of it. Dig, Ken, dig, and find us MORE breeze block forms to start using again!
A lot of breeze blocks sold in New York City
Ken is a “Sr.” in the family-owned company, so yes, he remembers when these were popular back in the day.
We used to sell tons.
Where did you sell them?
We sold a lot into New York City. A lot. A LOT.
So, you sold a lot?
“Yes, a lot.“
As you can maybe tell, this news that there is a 97-year-old company in Schenectady, New York, still making breeze blocks, and they actually emailed me, and now they we are on the phone, is making me very happy (on an already very sparkly gorgeous Berkshire Mountains Day.)
I will also take this opportunity to point out that: Talking to people on the phone, including interviewing them by phone, is super way more fun and enlightening and energizing than merely sending questions by email. Even better: Visit in person. I need to remember this. Sending email questions is too easy and, as a result, less good stuff comes out of it.
Above: An illustration of breeze blocks shown used inside the house.
But be aware, dear readers, that these are ORNAMENTAL blocks. It is my understanding that they are not STRUCTURAL blocks. That is, they are not meant to be load bearing. They are meant to be pretty, and to be installed so that even as pretty decorative elements they don’t tumble down and hurt someone. So use them/install them accordingly — safely. And as I am known to say: I am not the expert, so get with pros to plan how to incorporate these blocks safely into your design plans.
A lot of breeze blocks for New York and neighboring New England — hooray!
Schenectady is the red pin in Google Maps.
Note: There are also breeze blocks sellers in a few other Northeast locations. See the big list.
I live within an hour of Schenectady and have been to Schenectady and Schenectady is in my news zone — so, if I don’t think too hard I can usually spell ‘Schenectady’ correctly without looking it up. Yowza, DH and may just need to start figuring out were we can incorporate some in our front or back yard, seeing (1) as we could hire a U-Haul and go get ’em and save on shipping and (2) we could actually drive over in advance and see what we were buying before we ordered. Ken says blocks should run about $3-$5 each depending on the color and finish (smooth, polished or blasted) you choose. Yes, you can get these not only in concrete gray, but in special mix colors like white. Ken says that back in the day, they sold a lot in white to New York. A. Lot.
Also, Ken talked to me about shipping. It might not be as expensive as you’d think. He says that shipping costs via flat bed these days are not necessarily out-of-reach. So that might be a viable way to go and to save (1) axle and (2) your back at the same time.
Many thanks to Dagostino Building Blocks for letting us know: They sell make and sell breeze blocks out of Schenectady, New York! Thanks also for letting me show the catalog — as of this moment, the only place on the entire world wide web that you can see images from their catalog!