Saturday, October 15, 2016

New York, New York

I have a few scans from New York City in the 1950's... people seem to like those! 

We'll start with this dramatic view (circa 1953) looking southwest, with the lower part of the island of Manhattan stretching out before us; our photographer was at the "Top of the Rock" - the observation deck of Rockefeller Plaza, approximately 850 feet (260 meters) high. As you can see, it affords a beautiful view of the Empire State Building. Barely visible in the distance we can juuust see the Statue of Liberty in the Hudson River, halfway between the Empire State Building and the right edge of the photo.

Here's a relatively recent photo from the same vantage point.

Next we have this undated, slightly mungy photo taken at the junction of the Avenue of the Americas and 49th Street. There's Radio City to our right. Let's stop off at HoJo's for some fried clams and orange sherbet!  The nearby buildings looks surprisingly old and un-skyscrapery. 

Using Google's "Street View", this was about as close as I could get to the previous image. Things haven't changed a bit!


K. Martinez said...

Wow! These are beautiful shots! I love the Empire State Building towering over Manhattan. The Chrysler building is beautiful, but the Empire State just has something about it. It's still my favorite skyscraper and I loved it so much that it's the only New York City attraction that I've visited multiple times. Radio City Hall is another favorite. I've walked all over Manhattan and taken the subway, buses and taxis all around the city. It really is my favorite city that I've visited. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I love going to NYC; it's been two years now, and I am jonesing to go back! I always feel like a dumb tourist when I'm wandering the streets, but who cares. I'm with you, the Chrysler building is undeniably amazing, but there is just something about the Empire State building. Maybe it's the fact that it's the one that King Kong climbed!

Melissa said...

Sometimes NYC can get a bit mungy all on its own, so maybe it's not all the picture's fault!

I love seeing pictures of places I have a strong sense memory of. When I look at that picture I can smell what the wet pavement smelled like the last time I was there! I haven't been down in a couple years either, and I'm feeling a bit of that same jones.

Nanook said...


I have to agree with the group about the grandeur of the Empire State Building. At one time I had one of those metal, die cast models from a visit there in 1957, long since gone.

In the third image we can see a 1950, '51, or '52 Chevrolet parked behind a 1955 or '56 Ford station wagon. Behind the traffic light is a 1955 Yellow/white Chevrolet - maybe. And if we look beyond Howard Johnson's & the Waldorf Cafeteria, we can spy the construction for the future Time-Life Building.

Thanks, Major.

Dean Finder said...

Midtown Manhattan wasn't very skyscrapery until the 1960s. The Rockefellers wanted to raise the value of their existing Rockefeller Center there, and redeveloped the area with skyscrapers to lure big business. As Nanook notes, we can see the start of that process with the Time-Life building. My wife worked there and remarked that the interiors were still decidedly mid-century when she started around 2000, but they've since been modernized. (The interiors you see in Mad Men are spot-on)
By coincidence, I worked in the building to the photographer's left (I think it was the Exxon Building). Wish it still had a HoJos in the 2000s.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, you ain’t kiddin’! I’ve been there in the summer, SO hot and humid, and yet overcast. My personal favorite memory was another visit; we stepped out of a cab, and it started snowing, like somebody had flipped a switch. For a California resident, it was very neat!

Nanook, I have always loved those little metal models of various famous buildings. I had a U.S. Capitol paperweight for years. Where did it go? Thanks for the car info, I was wondering if anyone was going to go for it!

Dean Finder, it’s hard to imagine a time when NYC wasn’t skyscraper crazy. And yet, as we can see from photo #2, it was definitely the case. I always loved the Time Life building, and its appearance in Mad Men! Very cool that it was more or less preserved when your wife worked there.

Nanook said...


On a trip to NYC in 1967, I ate at the Tower Suite, located at the top of the Time-Life building. By day, it was a members-only club - the Hemisphere Club. Besides remembering each table was served by a "butler and maid", I also remember the rear-illuminated, two-sided rotating clear plexi 'cylinder', adjacent to the elevator button for the top floor (48th), providing the two names for the restaurant. Very ingenious.