Saturday, April 17, 2021

New York City

I thought I'd share a few old slide scans from New York! They make me want to visit that dynamic place ASAP. 

This first one is unusual, I am guessing that it is from the early 1950s  (maybe the cars in the background can help narrow down the date). I wish I knew where this was exactly; it appears to be a place of embarkation for locals to get to other places of interest. There's a ferry that took folks on a tour of Coney Island, and a big sign saying "Bear Mountain", and another, "Sightseeing Around Manhattan". Please chime in if this photo tickles any memories for you!

Next is this glass-mounted slide, a lovely vintage view of Washington Square (in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan). About that arch: Designed by architect Stanford White in 1892, it commemorates the centennial of George Washington's 1789 inauguration as President of the United States. I've heard of him!

I love seeing so many people playing and relaxing by the fountain, which has long been one of the city's popular spots for residents and tourists.

Here's a fairly contemporary view, and the area looks surprisingly lacking in mirrored-glass towers when  compared with much of Manhattan. Most of the buildings surrounding the park now belong to New York University, but many have at one time served as homes and studios for artists. Some of the buildings have been built by NYU while others have been converted from their former uses into academic and residential buildings.

A famous feature of Washington Square Park is "Chess Plaza", where a stretch of game tables has attracted chess lovers (and other game players) for decades. If you're any good, you might want to try a match with one of the Plaza regulars. The movie "Searching For Bobby Fisher" shot a number of scenes here.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Big Apple!


Nanook said...

The Sumac red-? car facing us (and possibly the black one facing away from us) is a 1946-1948 Plymouth.

It is kinda remarkable the current view of Washington Square seems almost unchanged from the "vintage" view - right on down to 'olde-style' street lights.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Just how clean was/is the water in that fountain?

These are all great vintage New York shots, Major! Thanks for sharing them!

JG said...

Good stuff, Major. Nanook, thanks for the car IDs!

Stanford White was principal in McKim, Meade, and White Architects, responsible for many notable buildings of that era, and a noted “bon vivant” famous for canoodling with his clients wives.

He was murdered in the theater by a jealous husband, whose trial became a media sensation akin to the O. J. Simpson trial.

Never say architecture is dull!


Bu said...

New York...I love NY. I work in Manhattan. I haven't been to Washington Square Park since I think...1998! Too's a whole 20 blocks! (We keep to our "hoods" for the most part...) My ex went to NYU and lived in one of those buildings. Lots of drug dealing at that time. What I love about NYC is that for the most part they are very passionate about not indiscriminately knocking down old buildings or even modifying facades. This is why photos don't really change that much. I removed a inoperable clock from a was a big company installed it in the the late 1990's. It was not historic, had no provenance, it was just a big clock. We TOTALLY got our hands slapped by Landmarks (the NYC entity that protects things of "note" even though our building was of no "note".) Luckily it was still sitting in the basement: in pieces. We had to fix it (for a fortune), then re-install it (for a fortune). We moved out. It's still there. Still with the 1990's logo on it that has nothing to do with the current tenant. Don't try to change a paint color either. Even if you painted it the color for the first time. We painted it anyway and got a even bigger handslapping. Also known as $$$. We didn't paint it back as instructed. As far as fountain water: NYC has possibly the cleanest purest water of any city in the world as it comes from way upstate. Fountain water with children spreading their DNA all over the place...not so much. Bear mountain is a stones throw from the town of Peekskill...the home of Tutti, Blair, and Natalie! AKA: "The Facts of Life." Peekskill is actually not that far from the city and a very pretty spot if you want to escape to the "country" from city life. can go to Central Park and feel like you are a 100 miles away. Come to NYC! Just wear a mask and bring lots of money!!!

zach said...

The Frank H Adams was an excursion boat from Manhattan to Coney Island. I found an article from 1949 about engine trouble; everyone safe!

Been to NY twice and enjoyed it immensely. Saw Wicked on Broadway, saw Christo's Gates (in Central Park) from the Empire State Building, and once stayed at the Salisbury Hotel on 57th across the street from Carnegie Hall. (when we got to the room and looked out the window my wife and I said, wow, Carnegie Hall! and the girls said at the same time, wow, Planet Hollywood!).

Thanks, Major for the fun excursion to NY.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, “Sumac red” - I love the creative names they come up with for colors. “Sumac red is totally different from maroon!!”. And yes, with so much construction going on in NYC, it is kind of surprising that the “today” view of Washington Square isn’t surrounded by glass towers.

TokyoMagic!, New York is famous for its quality water, but after a few thousand dirty feet, all bets are off. Don’t drink it!

JG, I’ve read several bios of architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. I’m sure there are others who would be fascinating. Paul Williams would be interesting, an extremely successful and talented black architect who somehow managed to overcome the biases of the day to eventually design many houses for Hollywood royalty.

Bu, I know how people who live in New York often tend to avoid places that tourists like to go. How many native New Yorkers have never visited the Statue of Liberty? Most, I’ll bet. As for New Yorkers not knocking down old buildings… well! I have photos of some streets from the 1950’s that are so radically changed that they are unrecognizable today. Instead of the wonderful old stone and brick buildings that are a mere 25 stories tall, they’ve been replaced with the soulless glass buildings that are efficient, relatively cheap to build, and usually boring to look at. I feel like L.A. is even worse, so many blocks of old buildings are being razed so that highrise “mixed use” luxury condos can go up, looking totally out of place and ruining the character of the neighborhood. I’m actually glad to hear if New York makes it so hard to remove historic or notable features, even though it was a pain for you personally! As I said in my text, I love to visit NYC, I’ll sometimes look at Google Maps and wish I could visit all of the little unusual museums that dot the city!

zach, thank you! Imagine going to Coney Island back then, it was probably still very vital, but getting a little seedy. It would have been awesome! Neat that you saw Christo’s gates; I saw his “Umbrellas” when they dotted the hillsides of Gorman, California - very pretty. The last time I went to NYC with my girl we wanted to explore further and further from our hotel, making good use of the subway system. Still, there’s so much I want to do there!

JC Shannon said...

The last time I was in NY City, Reagan was president. If you have a 6 figure income it's a great city. Some great old neighborhoods with wonderful buildings, sans the glass and steel monstrosities that pass for architecture today. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the sounds of Gershwin wafting in the air. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, there is no doubt that NYC is expensive; I'm sure I would have visited it more often if not for that phenomenon. And of course all of the most appealing neighborhoods are the ones that you can only live in if you are a multimillionaire! Still... a great place to visit.

JG said...

We love NYC, I’ve visited several times, mostly for the theater shows, but the museums are a big draw too.

Bu, thanks for that interesting story, it’s a good neighborhood to walk through last in 2017, hope the drug sales have moved elsewhere.

Major, one of the highlights of my career was to work on a Paul Williams house in Santa Monica. We handled it like eggshells. It was a beautiful design. At that time, there were no historic protections at all, just the conscience of the owner and his new architect.

I found it on Street View a few years ago, the trees were so big, it was barely recognizable. Mr. Williams was a very talented architect, and reputed to be a very nice man.


Dean Finder said...

I would guess that the first picture is of the Circle Line pier, or maybe that of a predecessor they absorbed on the Hudson River (west side of Manhattan). CL offers the tours around Manhattan and up to Bear Mountain today.