Bond Street & 64th Street, Southwest Corner

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why

Originally posted April 13, 2010

Last month, shortly after The Gotham Center for New York City History graciously posted a link to New York in Plain Sight, a visitor to gothamcenter.org responded with some kind words about the project and then went on to say

Now if you can only find a new site … one doing the same thing as this one, all four street corners … but in 1950-1960's New York including all boroughs … now that would be a find. — One can dream can't one….

And this is the simplest answer to the question I'm most often asked, namely "why"?

Ninth Avenue & 206th Street, Southwest Corner

As far as I know — and I would love to be wrong about this — such a site as the Gotham Center's respondent dreams of doesn't exist, nor, even, do the photographs, though I understand that the Library of Congress has been given a staggeringly huge collection, half a million photographs (not yet catalogued) of New York taken by one individual (I'm not sure I remember the name correctly, but I think it is Rizzo) over a period of thirty or more years and, if I remember rightly, including the 1940s and 1950s, so there is hope ….

There are more complicated answers to the "why" question, and I'll get to them sooner or later (sooner, most likely) on this blog, but there's another kind of simple answer, really the same answer as is implicit in what I just said, and that is that, e.g., the seafood diner on the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 206th Street disappeared a year or two ago — the last time I was up there it was a parking lot.

I never ate there, but everytime I saw it, or looked at the above picture of it, I was charmed to no end by the incongruity of its being in Manhattan, on the same small island off the coast North America as the Empire State Building and other New York City icons.

Maybe that's reason enough.

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