A Depression-era gang on Bedford Street

Another wonderful etching from Martin Lewis, this one titled “Bedford Street Gang” and dating to 1935.

The theater wall says “44th Street,” but this corner looks an awful lot like the intersection where Bedford Street ends at Christopher Street. The Lucille Lorton Theater is there today.

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11 Responses to “A Depression-era gang on Bedford Street”

  1. Nathan Says:

    I think it really is the 44th Street Theatre (built 1913, demolished 1945). It would have stood across from Shubert Alley and according to Internet Broadway Database, “The Green Pasture” played there.

  2. Sean Says:

    First, it is advertising a play, “The Green Pastures” , written in 1930 by Marc Connelly adapted from Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun (1928), a collection of stories written by Roark Bradford.

    Nor do i read it necessarily as “44 ST” That part is undecipherable.
    I do read after that vague script “Now”

    It is likely a poster for the play that had been playing at that Christopher Street theater. No way is that street near Times Sqaure. It is certainly Bedford and Christopher.

  3. Paula Tohline Calhoun Says:

    While doing some research on Martin Lewis, your blog popped up on my screen. My husband and I have become very interested because we discovered that the “odd etching” we have had for more than 40 years, is in fact a Lewis etching – we know that he pulled the etching himself (has the “imp” in pencil by his signature, and quite possibly it is printed on paper that was made for him in Japan. We have been unable to discover the maker of the watermark in the paper. It is a very interesting etching called, “The New Babylon,” (I think – but something to do with Babylon in any event).

    We got the etching, unglazed, in a frame, at a “garage sale” of a dear elderly friend in Connecticut. My husband doesn’t think he spent more than a couple of dollars for it. There is an inscription, now faded and difficult to read, on the back of the frame written by Mr. Lewis, and we believe that it is inscribed to our friend (named Edith). This was in Connecticut – near where he lived for a while. It is possible that this friend of ours would have known Martin Lewis, and this was a gift from him to her and her husband.

    The print, because it was unglazed, has become “yellowed” to a certain extent, but is otherwise in beautiful condition. BTW, we have recently had it reframed and glazed in order to protect it from further damage. If you have any info on Martin Lewis, please contact me at paulatc@hotmail.com Thanks so much.

  4. nycedges Says:

    “The Green Pastures” did play at the 44St. Theatre, but couldn’t this just be an ad poster?
    what caught my eye was the double fire hydrants and call box — this NYPL photo from 1940 shows the same corner (I think) after the building on Christopher was torn down and before the Theatre de Lys (Loritel) was built in 1953

    http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?advword=+718794f&s=3&f=6%2C17

  5. fivepointsguy Says:

    Wow! Marvelous! I love seeing an artist’s rendition sise-by-side with a photo of the same place–especially when the place is relatively obscure. Great digging into the NYPL archives, nycedges!

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    nycedges, thanks for the extra research! The fire call box is still there on Christopher Street, it’s viewable on Google Maps.

  7. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    Holy moly, it looks like a couple of other remnants are still there when looking at the Google map: the double fire hydrant is now a single one; the glass-plated corner store (different owners and type of store of course, but the same front); and the manhole cover off the corner. This is fun.

  8. Maury Schott Says:

    Just to clarify as someone else noted in passing, it’s now the Lucille Lortel, not Lorton.

  9. LilyPondLane Says:

    According to this post (http://tinyurl.com/d4fn549) Lewis lived at one time at 111 Bedford St. which is just a short distance down the street from this scene.

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