Saturday, September 08, 2018

Bleeker Street, New York - September 1962

Delving into my small stack of vintage New York slides, I scanned two neat views of Bleeker Street, circa 1962. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: Bleecker Street is a west–east street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is most famous today as a Greenwich Village nightclub district. The street connects a neighborhood today popular for music venues and comedy, but which was once a major center for American bohemia. The street is named after the family name of Anthony Lispenard Bleecker, a banker, the father of Anthony Bleecker, a 19th-century writer, through whose family farm the street ran.

I find both of these slides to be fascinating due to the presence of some sort of farmer's market set up along the street, right in the middle of southern Manhattan. Decades and centuries earlier, the island had swamps and meadows and farms - hard to believe when one looks at the level of development today! 

I could find no info about the presence of these produce stands; maybe they were set up every Saturday or Sunday. The street looks like a movie backlot (only not as real!). "Bill's Radio &  Television Service"? Awesome.

Here's a screen capture from Google's "street view". It's nice to see that this area has managed (for now) to escape the takeover by 60-story steel and glass monstrosities - the neighborhood still has some character.

Another "movie backlot" scene! There's a lot of of charm to be had in these old streets. I love all of the brick buildings and their spidery fire escapes. Those produce carts look like they were brought into the city by horse. I'm sure the horses trotted up to Central Park to nosh on some grass.

And here's another "street view" grab. In spite of some cosmetic changes, it all looks much as it did over 50 years ago. The best thing is, now you know where TOOSH is. For all your Toosh needs. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Bleeker Street!


Nanook said...


Yes - talk about 'charm' and 'character'. I see John's Pizzeria (since 1929) is still there. In the second view, I love the curlicues so prominently-displayed on the ironwork of the balconies. Along with the 1954 dark green Pontiac Star Chief, they sort of help provide "balance" to the otherwise dilapidated-looking food carts parked along the street.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

This is a fun post today, Major. I love "then and now" comparison shots like these. Thank you for taking the time to find the same locations and get the screen captures for us.

Now I'm wondering if Toosh carries the revolutionary "Egg Sitter Cushion"? I'm actually sitting on one right now. It feels like a massage. It's loosening me up, just as I'm sitting here. It's amazing!

Scott Lane said...

TM: I hope so 'cause when I sit at the computer too long my Toosh hurts.

Chuck said...

I love how members of the GDB crowd feel comfortable enough with each other to share about their toosh loosening up.

JC Shannon said...

A quaint little neighborhood with age and lots of character. You can almost see Oscar and Felix walking down the street eating icecream. The last time I was in Manhattan, they still had Checker taxis. If I ever get back, I will hit up Bleeker Street for sure. Thanks for the great scans Major. Is that a 59 Chevy? What color is that, it looks almost red but not quite?

K. Martinez said...

Nice images of NYC today. Man, do I love the old neighborhood markets and various produce carts and food stands that littered the streets. Would've loved to have seen these old American neighborhoods like this. Now only in old movies and vintage photos. Thanks, Major.

Gnometrek said...

Time travel spotted. A women on a cell phone can be seen in a reflection on the window of the bakery. Does her presence have anything to do with the Gambino Candy Store she is heading to? 1962? Major your peaks into our past can be preludes to great flights of imagination. Thanks as always.

Nanook said...

@ JC Shannon-

That is a 1959 convertible Chevrolet Impala, probably in ‘Roman Red’.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I always love vintage street views that really reflect the way an area looked 50 years ago. Pontiac Star Chief, eh? That would explain the stars on the baby tail fins! Good eye on John’s Pizzeria. Who knew there was pizza in New York? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, “Egg Sitter Cushion”, I have no idea what that is. I hope yours is not loosening you up too much! If your eggs hatch today, please share pix.

Scott Lane, that’s your body telling you that you’ve spent too much time shopping for vintage Hummel figurines on Etsy.

Chuck, his nickname is “TM”, but in this case it should be “TMI”!

Jonathan, I would rather have photos like this than 1000 pictures of the New York skyline (even though those are nice in their way). Somehow it’s good to know that Checker Cabs are still in NYC, though I miss the old original sedans.

K. Martinez, I’m sure there are still some nice neighborhoods on Manhattan - the last time I went, we spent a lot of time in the Soho area, and it was very appealing in its way. Expensive though! Little Italy had some picturesque streets as well.

Gnometrek, it is disturbing just how many time-travelers appear in these vintage photos. Don’t they know that they could completely disrupt the time-space continuum?! What if they run into their own parents?

Nanook, everyone knows that Romans preferred Chevys.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the Egg Sitter Cushion is a product that they advertise on certain TV channels over and over and over again. It's like the commercials for "My Pillow," "Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty," "Plexaderm Cream," and "Lava Life" (Let's meet on Lava Life!). The commercials start to become etched into your brain after a while. I was quoting a woman who says those lines very slowly and awkwardly.....she's not a very convincing actress. They have "real people" trying out the cushion in a mall and they place an egg on the cushion prior to having the people sit on it. When they stand up, they crack the egg to show that it was a real egg. One lady exclaims, "I DON'T EVEN FEEL IT!" And another one squeals, "Oooooh, ooooooh! I could sit on THAT all day!" Anyway, like you said above, TMI!

Anonymous said...

You know what they say: the more things change, the more things stay the same. Nice photos. Have been to NYC several times in the past. Can't say I've ever been to that part of town, though.

Anonymous said...

What Tokyo said about the work involved in replicating these views.

Thanks Major, it is fun and educmacational to see these.

We walked a substantial distance along Bleecker street last year, and for the most part, it is still quaint and interesting, the classic New York from the movies, very different from Midtown or Wall Street.

The history of the development of Manhattan is pretty fascinating, Greenwich was a little separate settlement that the city grew out towards and enveloped, which accounts for it's odd street grid and different style.

Thank you.