Posts Tagged ‘Grand Street photo’

Once-hidden store signs from an older New York

February 20, 2013

Peel back a store sign in the modern city, and it’s possible that a sign behind it, from a rougher, earlier New York, will reveal itself.

Sneakerjeanssign

That’s what happened on Delancey and Essex Streets recently.

The glossy billboard advertising this sneaker and jeans store vanished (removed by the owners, or blown off by recent storms?) and a much older version reappeared—with a very sweet clock to boot!

Grandstreetdelisign

An even cooler glimpse of a different Manhattan can be seen behind the green awning for this deli on Grand and Lewis Streets.

Take a peek underneath, and the old-school sign for a corner magazine and card store (with an ice cream fountain!) makes an appearance.

The “mountain” once on the Lower East Side

February 20, 2013

GrandpittstreetssignOkay, we’re not talking about mountain as in the Rockies.

It was more of a hill, a 60-foot incline called Mount Pitt about where Grand and Pitt Streets cross today.

For Manhattan at the time, this “mount” was a high point, affording incredible vistas New Yorkers would kill for now.

Let a book published in 1879 by a descendant of the man who made his home on the hill give the details (and then check out the country road–like view in the NYPL Digital Collection illustration:

Mountpittview1796

“Upon this fine site still, though graded down very much, the highest point of that part of the city, which then commanded a magnificent prospect, extending on the east beyond Hellgate, on the west over the city and the bay to the shores of Staten Island and New Jersey, and on the south over the East River and the heights of Long Island. . . .”

Grandandpitt2013In pre-Revolution days, it was the location of a town home and gardens built by Judge Thomas Jones, hence why Mount Pitt is also known as Jones Hill.

During the war, colonists constructed a large redoubt on Mount Pitt called Jones Hill Fort.

Leveled after the war, Mount Pitt still exists in a way: fieldstone taken from it in the 1820s was used to build St. Augustine’s Church, on Henry Street.

Here’s Grand and Pitt Streets today: flattened out and a bit dreary. The current highest point in Manhattan lies several miles north.


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