Archive for the ‘Lower Manhattan’ Category

The hidden beauty of these blocked-off fanlight windows in Chinatown

September 12, 2022

New York’s intact 19th century residences—especially the Federal-style, early 1800s row houses that still survive in Lower Manhattan, but also early tenement buildings—often have a fanlight window above the front door.

The name comes from the shape of the glass panes, which resemble a hand-held fan. It’s a design feature that allows light to flood a front room, which might be why it’s also referred to sometimes as a sunburst window.

This 1820s house at 105 Mercer Street offers an example of a fanlight window, in all its early 19th century beauty (not pictured in the post; click the link to see).

Whatever you want to call them, it’s disheartening to spot these windows over the entrances of some of Manhattan’s oldest tenements on densely packed residential streets…and see that the glass has been painted over or replaced by wood or another solid material, allowing no light to get through.

Above and below, a painted-over fanlight at 115 Eldridge Street:

These blocked-off fanlight windows were found on a Chinatown block. I wouldn’t expect landlords to spend time and money scraping away paint from windows or replacing the glass when a building might have bigger issues to contend with. But what a shame these windows meant to let sunlight through are instead cutting it off.

The visiting British royal who dazzled 19th century New York City

September 12, 2022

During Queen Elizabeth II’s astounding 70-year reign over the United Kingdom, she made official visits to New York City only three times: a day-long trip involving a ticker-tape parade in 1957, a longer stay for the Bicentennial in 1976, and then a five-hour drop-in to the United Nations and Ground Zero in 2010, per a New York Times article published last week.

Excited New Yorkers waiting for the Prince’s procession to make it Broadway

Elizabeth’s visits to Gotham were certainly eventful. But they were nothing like the sojourn to New York City made by one member of the British royal family in 1860. On the cusp of the election of President Lincoln and the start of the Civil War, this 19-year-old prince was welcomed to Manhattan with a spectacular procession up Broadway, escorted to leading Manhattan landmarks, and feted at a ball so raucous, the floor of the venue actually broke.

The royal was the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, the first son of Queen Victoria and the future King of England (above, in the 1860s). His trip across the Atlantic in the summer of 1860 was at first to be limited to Canada. “Queen Victoria’s original intention was to dispatch her son simply to visit England’s western possessions in Canada and inaugurate the opening of the Victoria Bridge in Montreal,” states an article by Claire A. Faulkner on Whitehousehistory.org.

But President Buchanan then invited the Prince to Washington, and other American cities were added to his itinerary, such as Richmond, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.

The Prince’s journey abroad wasn’t unlike the dispatches young royals take today. “As a young man…the Prince of Wales could have been likened to most other teenagers—independent, rebellious, and strong willed,” wrote Faulkner. “It was hoped that the trip to North America would mark the beginning of his formal indoctrination into the responsibilities and duties of a member of the British royal family.”

In Canada and then America, “Bertie” was treated with respect, if not celebrity. But few cities rolled out the red carpet like New York—the nation’s undisputed capital of commerce and culture, with eager daily newspapers ginning up excitement. “The most splendid and glamorous of the American events in his honor, however, took place in New York, where the crowds were also the most admiring and enthusiastic,” wrote Faulkner.

The Prince of Wales and his entourage, photographed by Mathew Brady

After the Prince landed at the Battery with his entourage on October 11, fresh from Philadelphia, he entered his carriage and became the center of a grand procession going up Broadway. An estimated 200,000 New Yorkers lined the thoroughfare to watch the slow procession, which didn’t make it past City Hall and to Canal Street until sundown, according to a New York Times piece published the next day.

Bands played “God Save the Queen” and other British songs; Mayor Fernando Wood accompanied the Prince, who “raised his hat and rose repeatedly in acknowledgement of this warm reception,” observed the Times. American and British flags were on display all along the route.

The procession continued past Grace Church, Union Square, and then to the new luxurious Fifth Avenue Hotel, where the Prince would be staying—with an army of policemen stationed in and outside the hotel for security. Of course, not everyone was thrilled by the royal visit, particularly the city’s Irish residents. People of Irish descent amounted to about a quarter of the total population and viewed the government the Prince represented as the oppressor of their home country, stated Ian Walter Radforth in his book, Royal Spectacle.

Fifth Avenue Hotel, 23rd Street in 1860

The Prince had a jam-packed schedule for the next few days, breathlessly covered by the press. He and his entourage toured noteworthy landmarks like New York University, the Astor Library, and Cooper Union; he visited Central Park and planted an English oak. On the last day of his visit, thousands of firemen from Manhattan and Brooklyn marched past the Fifth Avenue Hotel in a magnificent torch-lit parade, stated House Divided, from Dickinson College

Perhaps the pinnacle of the Prince’s trip was the ball held in his honor. What was originally supposed to be a simple dinner quickly evolved into a breathtaking event at the Academy of Music on 14th Street. Four hundred elite New Yorkers paid $100 each to host and attend the ball; up to 2,000 guests showed.

Guests dressed in “black coats, shimmering silks, and elegant velvets” began arriving around 7:30 p.m., but the Prince and his entourage, plus members of city government like Mayor Wood, didn’t arrive until after 10, according to a Leslie‘s Weekly article in 1901. Distinguished invitees included Hamilton Fish and George Templeton Strong, the lawyer and diarist who characteristically poked fun at the whole spectacle, according to Radforth.

The rush of excitement and thunderous applause broke the floor. “A few people fell through, but no one was seriously injured,” stated the Leslie’s article. The Prince was ushered into the supper room—under the command of the chefs and managers from Delmonico’s—for his own safety. Newspapers gleefully published all the details the next morning: the beautiful flowers, the Union Jack flags, and the ladies the Prince danced with.

Admit one to the Prince’s Ball

On Monday, October 14, the Prince bid farewell to New York City, heading up to West Point before a visit to Albany and then Boston, and then the trip back home across the Atlantic. Newspaper writers expounded on the royal visit; Bertie resumed life in England and took the throne upon the death of his mother in 1901.

What did the Prince of Wales think of his trip to New York? I haven’t found anything relaying his thoughts. But based on the recollections in newspapers and other first-hand accounts, a starry-eyed Gotham pulled out all the stops to impress this future king.

[First, second, and third images: LOC; fourth image: Getty Museum; fifth image: NYPL; sixth image: LOC; seventh image: MCNY, X2014.12.158]

This Gothic building near Avenue C was an “industrial school” for poor and homeless kids

September 5, 2022

In the 1880s and 1890s, the East Village of today became a magnet for lodging houses and training schools designed to help impoverished children from becoming casualties of the harsh life of New York’s streets.

The Sixth Street industrial School, 630 East Sixth Street

It was an era of great support for private social services. The Tompkins Square Lodging House for Boys and Industrial School on Eighth Street and Avenue B opened in 1887. The Elizabeth Home for Girls, on 12th Street between First and Second Avenues, took in its first residents in 1892.

In 1890, the Sixth Street Industrial School (above) opened its doors just west of Avenue C, in what was then called the Dry Dock District. Like the other buildings, it’s a stunning Gothic beauty with a stepped roof, dormer windows, and resplendent red brick. Also like the others, Calvert Vaux—the co-designer of Central Park—is the architect (with a partner, George K. Radford).

CAS: Children’s Aid Society

Each facility—which taught some academic classes along with lessons in specific trades and the life skills a young person would need to eventually live independently—was overseen by the Children’s Aid Society. The CAS got its start in 1853, when a young minister named Charles Loring Brace sought to help the estimated 10,000 street children, or “street rats” as police called them, living on their own and often working dangerous jobs or forced into criminal activity to survive.

At least a dozen lodging houses and industrial schools were built by the CAS and designed by Vaux and Radford all over Manhattan, including the 14th Ward Industrial School on Mott Street and the Sullivan Street Industrial School in today’s Soho. (Both buildings still grace the cityscape.)

The Sixth Street Industrial School in 1939-1941

“Vaux sought to develop buildings that stood out from the city’s tenements, which defined poor and immigrant life in the area with generally grim living conditions,” stated an Off the Grid post from Village Preservation. “His buildings, often free-standing, displaying varied rooflines, and characterized by ornamental features that recalled Dutch architecture, attempted to evoke the feeling and image of a ‘snug country inn.’”

The CAS was a popular charitable organization in the benevolent Gilded Age city, garnering financial support from society families like the Astors. Funding for the Sixth Street Industrial School came from Mrs. William Douglas Sloane—aka Emily Vanderbilt, daughter of William Henry Vanderbilt and granddaughter of Commodore Vanderbilt.

“The Sixth Street School, under the generous support of Mrs. William D. Sloane, continues its good work among the poor of the East Side,” stated the CAS annual report from 1892. “The primary and industrial classes are most successful, and the children receive a training which is of value to them all through their life.”

Industrial schools and lodging houses for poor or homeless kids disappeared during the 20th century. The CAS still exists though, rebranded recently as Children’s Aid. And while the breathtaking building at 630 East Sixth Street is no longer a school, it continues to serve as a nonprofit called Pencer House, “an apartment building for limited-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers,” according to the organization’s website.

[Fourth image: NYC Department of Records & Information Services]

The Lower East Side’s Division Street: What exactly did it divide?

September 5, 2022

The Dutch burghers who settled in New Amsterdam and the British colonists who ruled after them had one thing in common: they gave straightforward names to Gotham’s earliest streets.

Wall Street was named for the defensive wall put up by the worried residents of New Amsterdam, who feared their settlement would be attacked by the English. Piles of glistening oyster shells found beside the 17th century waterfront gave way to Pearl Street. A drainage ditch dug in the early 1800s became Canal Street once it was filled.

And then there’s Division Street—an east-west road in that traffic-choked Lower East Side near the Manhattan Bridge approach. Division runs from the Bowery to Canal Street, where it makes a sharp upward turn and becomes Ludlow Street, which runs north-south.

The Delancey estate in 1776, with Division Street marking the boundary of the Rutgers farm.

Clearly Division Street served as a dividing line of sorts in the colonial city. But for what, exactly?

The answer lies in the bucolic New York of the 18th century, when much of British-controlled Manhattan was carved up into farms and estates. To the north of Division Street was the Delancey estate, and to the south stood the Rutgers farm.

The Rutgers mansion on the Rutgers farm

“The space occupied by the street was a kind of no-man’s-land used for a rope walk, i.e., a place where hemp was twisted into rope,” explains Henry Mosco’s The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan’s Street Names and Their Origins.

An 18th century map of the Delancey estate street grid, with the Rutgers farm below.

Delancey was James De Lancey, whose 339-acre estate encompassed land east of the Bowery and north to Houston Street, according to oldstreets.com. He’s also the namesake of today’s Delancey Street, not far to the north. His family, French Huguenots whose presence in the city began in the late 17th century, were rich merchants.

Delancey was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. After the defeat of the British he fled the city, leaving behind his estate, which he had already been laid out into streets. The streets mostly stayed, but the former estate was sold in lots, per oldstreets.com.

Henry Rutgers, early 19th century

Rutgers was Henry Rutgers, a descendant of prominent Dutch families who came to New Amsterdam in the 17th century and made their money as brewers. The farm he inherited spanned southeastern Manhattan from about Chatham Square to the East River. He’s the Rutgers of Rutgers University and also Rutgers Street, on his former estate.

Rutgers also divided his farm into separate lots as early as 1755, according to an article by David J. Fowler in a Rutgers University publication, “Benevolent Patriot: Henry Rutgers, 1745-1830.” For decades, the land “maintained a rural character of hills, fields, gardens, woods, and marshes,” the article states.

The Rutgers farm, already laid out and divided into streets in 1784.

Unlike his neighbor, Rutgers supported American independence and served as an army captain and colonel. A bachelor, he remained in New York City for the rest of his life, giving away some of his land for charitable causes. By the end of the 19th century, the once beautiful Rutgers farm had almost fully transformed into blocks of tenements, according to a New York Times article from 1913.

With the farms gone, Division Street isn’t the boundary line for anything. But like Rutgers Street, Delancey Street, and numerous other thoroughfares named for the estates and estate holders of the colonial era, it’s a street name reminder of a New York that’s slipped into history.

[Second image: Norman B. Levanthal Map Center Collection/Boston Public Library; third, fourth, and sixth images: NYPL Digital Collections; fifth image: Oil painting by Henry Inman/Wikipedia]

All the different business districts of Manhattan, according to a 1939 magazine

August 29, 2022

The center of finance is still firmly in Lower Manhattan, and the Theater District continues to surround Broadway in the West 40s.

But these two commercial districts are all that remain in 2022 of the many business and industry centers that used to thrive in different sections of Manhattan. The commercial districts and map were outlined in a July 1939 issue of Fortune, published to coincide with the World’s Fair that summer in New York City.

Fresh fish is still an industry in today’s New York. But the wholesale markets are no longer centered at South Street; a new Fulton Fish Market was relocated to Hunts Point in the Bronx in 2005. I’m sure you can still find fresh produce on what was once called the Lower West Side, but today’s Tribeca is no longer the produce market neighborhood it used to be.

Selling fish on South Street, photographed by Rolf Tietgens for Fortune

The Flower District, on Sixth Avenue in the West 20s, still has a few holdout wholesalers. Garments continue to be manufactured in the Garment District, but the output is nothing like it was in the 1930s, when this area from Sixth to Ninth Avenues between 34th and 40th Streets was home to the largest concentration of clothing manufacturers in the world, per the Gotham Center for New York City History.

A nursery in the Flower District, by Rolf Tietgens for Fortune magazine

Automobile showrooms have long left West 57th Street near Columbus Circle. The arrow that says “meat” pointing to Midtown East (where the United Nations headquarters is today) referred to the former Abattoir Center—one of two slaughterhouse districts designated by the city in 1898, according to Tudor City Confidential. (The other slaughterhouse district was on West 14th Street.)

The East Side Abattoir Center, by Alexander Alland for Fortune magazine

A leather district on the Lower East Side? That’s news to me. “Art” and “style” just below Central Park seem to refer to the luxury department stores and fashion boutiques, as well as the art galleries and art-related showrooms, on 57th-59th Streets.

[Images: Fortune, July 1939]

The anonymity of a nighttime pushcart market under the elevated

August 22, 2022

WPA painter and onetime New York City resident Nathaniel C. Burwash didn’t want viewers to know the exact location of his nocturne of a pushcart market under the elevated.

The crudely painted street sign on the street lamp is unreadable; the signs under the “meat provisions” pushcart don’t add up to anything. Faces are amorphous or turned away, and the elevated train tracks over narrow streets could be in almost any downtown neighborhood during the Depression years.

Though we don’t know the precise address in “New York Pushcart Section No. 2,” Burwash’s mysterious name of the painting, we can easily recognize the New York-ness of the scene: the activity of an outdoor marketplace, the arrangement of the pushcarts, the interest (and disinterest) on the part of shoppers and pedestrians lost in their own interior worlds.

Illuminated by a street lamp and the inside lights of what looks like a passing train on the far side of the painting, it’s a scene that captures the everyday rhythm of an ordinary neighborhood from afar, with a deliberate degree of anonymity.

The relaxing country drive that New Yorkers like George Washington enjoyed in 1790

August 19, 2022

As magical as New York City can be, sometimes you really need to hit the road for the day and take a long drive into the country.

Kingsbridge Road, part of the “14 miles round” pleasure drive

New Yorkers in 1790 could relate. Residents who were lucky enough to have leisure time as well as access to a carriage and driver could leave the city limits and venture along Manhattan Island’s few reliable north-south roads. One especially popular day-long drive was known as the “14 miles round.” (Or “14 mile round,” as some sources have it.)

The name appears to be derived from the seven miles it took to get to the countryside of Upper Manhattan, and then the seven miles back to the lower city—which barely existed beyond Canal Street at the time.

A closeup of the Bien and Johnson Map of Manhattan, showing the Bloomingdale Road and the Kingsbridge or Post Road, both part of the 14 mile round. McGowan’s Pass is on the far right.

“In 1790, the favorite drive of the New-Yorkers was the ’14 mile round,'” an 1880 New York Times article states, quoting an author of a biography of George Washington, who lived in New York City during 1789-1790, the first two years of his presidency.

“This route went over the old Boston road, on the line of Third Avenue, crossed Murray Hill nearly on a line with Lexington Avenue, and bearing westward to McGowan’s Pass, went then to the Bloomingdale region, and so down on the Hudson River side of the island.”

McGowan’s Pass is at about today’s 107th Street in Central Park. The Bloomingdale region was only accessible via Bloomingdale Road, a former native American trail laid out in 1707 from roughly today’s 23rd Street to 115th Street and Riverside Drive.

Indeed, Washington wrote in his now-published diary that he did the 14 miles round with his wife, Martha, and Martha’s two young grandchildren.

On December 12, 1789, a Saturday, President Washington made the drive: “Exercised in the coach with Mrs. Washington and the two children, (Master and Miss Custis), between breakfast and dinner—went the 14 miles round.”

On January 9, 1790, also a Saturday, Washington did it again: “Exercised with Mrs. Washington and the children in the coach the 14 miles round. In the afternoon, walked round the Battery.”

In a footnote, Washington’s Diary describes the 14-mile round a bit differently than the New York Times article, calling what became the Boston Road by its original name, Kingsbridge Road: “The route was by the old Kings-Bridge Road, which passed over Murray Hill, where Lexington Avenue now does, to McGowan’s Pass at about One Hundred and Eighth Street; then across on a line with the Harlem River to Bloomingdale, and so down on the westerly side of the island.”

Bloomingdale country lane

Kingsbridge Road, “was the main road through Manhattan during the 1700s and early 1800s, before the current street grid was implemented, and was key to transportation in the area,” stated the Central Park Conservatory. “The road originated in southern Manhattan at around today’s Madison Square and proceeded north to the King’s Bridge at the northern tip of Manhattan.”

Unfortunately, Washington’s diary doesn’t go into detail about what he saw during his forays on the 14 mile round. But if he went more than once, it’s fair to assume he enjoyed the beautiful sights of bucolic Manhattan: pretty countryside, large estates, small farms, and so many possibilities for the young nation.

Washington’s coach, but whether it’s the coach he took on the 14 miles round is unknown

Bloomingdale Road has a fascinating history and plays a major role in the development of the Upper West Side. Find out more on an Ephemeral New York walking tour that delves into the backstory of Riverside Drive! A few spots are still available for Sunday, August 21 and Sunday August 28. See you there!

[Top image: NYPL; second image: Wikipedia; third image: painting by Rembrandt Peale; fourth image: Eliza Greatorex, MCNY, 57.138.3]

The mystery of the shuttered Italian restaurant with a wonderful vintage store sign

August 15, 2022

Cicciaro’s Italian Restaurante (their spelling, not mine) looks like it’s been closed for ages, the steel grates over the small storefront locked shut and layered with graffiti.

I couldn’t find any clues about this literal hole in the wall at 47 Market Street, which still occupies the ground floor of a tenement built in 1886, and is next door to a former boarding stable for horses that operated in the 1890s.

But thanks to Ephemeral readers, I now know that this authentic-looking Italian spot and its spot-on 1970s-ish sign is actually a fake—it’s a creation for a TV crime drama film set.

City on Fire should be on Apple TV at some point in the near future. The production crew did a nice job, the old-school sign fooled me!

The richest woman in New York’s Gilded Age is not who you think

August 8, 2022

Caroline Astor, Alva Belmont, Alice Vanderbilt—the names of these famous and formidable women conjure images of Fifth Avenue chateaus, luxurious balls, and other trappings of the Gilded Age good life.

Hetty Green, probably around the turn of the century

While all three women flaunted their deep wealth in an era that encouraged ostentatious display, none can claim the title of the richest women in Gilded Age New York City. That honor goes to Hetty Green, a legendary figure in Gotham who was almost the polar opposite of these society doyennes.

Instead of moving into a Manhattan mansion, Hetty lived in unpretentious hotels and boardinghouses in Brooklyn and Hoboken, hoping to avoid paying high property taxes, according to Atlas Obscura. Rather than swanning around in Charles Frederick Worth gowns, she dressed in plain black clothing, reportedly donning the same garments every day. And she turned a family inheritance into a fortune equal to $3.8 billion today with shrewd, long-term investments on Wall Street and in real estate.

Young Hetty Robinson, undated

Hetty’s story isn’t a rags to riches tale. Born Henrietta Robinson in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1834 into a Quaker family that made millions in the whaling and shipping industries, she took a strong interest in business and finance as a young girl, according to the Library of Congress.

During her teenage years she became her family’s bookkeeper, and she accompanied her father to counting houses and stockbrokers. Her father’s influence was strong: “she shared his pleasure in making money,” wrote Janet Wallach, author of The Richest Woman in America.

Hetty in 1905

After attending finishing schools in New England, Hetty went to New York City to live with the family of Henry Grinnell, her mother’s cousin. Grinnell was “wealthy and well-connected,” stated Wyn Derbyshire in Hetty Green: The First Lady of Wall Street. The plan was for Grinnell, who lived on tony Bond Street, to introduce Hetty to young men suitable for marriage.

But unlike most women of her age and class, Hetty wasn’t interested. She went back to New Bedford, using much of the $1200 her father had given her to buy fashionable clothes to invest in bonds, according to Derbyshire.

Hetty at 40, in her New York Times obituary in 1916

In 1860, her mother died, and she and her father relocated to a brownstone on West 26th Street in New York City, where her father was now a partner in a shipping firm. He died five years later. How much of his roughly $6 million fortune was left to Hetty seems to be in dispute, but she was awarded at least $1 million or perhaps all of it.

In 1867, Hetty was 33 years old. With her parents gone, she married Edward Henry Green, a 44-year-old millionaire trader introduced to her by her father before his death. Hetty’s father had worried about her status as an unmarried woman, but before his passing, she and Green announced their engagement. Hetty’s father was canny enough to stipulate in his will that Edward Green would receive nothing from his estate. Hetty herself also made her new husband swear off any claims to her fortune.

“It was an odd match: Green was a wealthy silk and tea merchant who’d lived in the Philippines for 20 years,” stated the New England Historical Society. “And he liked to live large. He dressed well, enjoyed clubs, appreciated fine food and tipped generously.” Her husband’s large lifestyle left him in debt some years into their marriage. Hetty used her own money to bail him out, which led to a long estrangement whereby the couple lived apart for several years.

Hetty around 1910, on a stoop of a house she likely did not own

Now a mother of two, Hetty began building her fortune. “She developed a strategy of investing for value, which made her the richest woman in the world,” according to the New England Historical Society. “Hetty Green didn’t buy stocks on margin. She invested in real estate and bonds, railroads, and mines. She bought cheap, sold dear, and kept her head during financial panics.”

Unsurprisingly, New York newspapers began taking note of Hetty, who was so unusual for several reasons, including the fact that she was the rare woman on Wall Street. In 1885, the New York Times dubbed her “the millionaire in hoopskirts.” A few years later, she was called “the queen of Wall Street.” The nickname that stuck throughout her life was “the witch of Wall Street,” thanks in part to her black clothes and the magic she had for making money.

Hetty (left) with her son and daughter, now grown

Stories circulated about her penny-pinching ways. One rumor had it that her son’s leg was amputated after an injury because Hetty wasted precious time searching for a free clinic rather than taking him to a doctor, and gangrene had set in. Another claimed she regularly ate cold oatmeal for lunch at her office at Chemical Bank, where she handled her investments. It was also said that she had no office at all; to save money on rent, she sewed pockets under her skirts and stashed documents there rather than in a desk.

What most New Yorkers didn’t know is that she was generous. Yet she kept her charitable gifts private. “She loaned money at below-market rates to at least 30 churches,” wrote the New England Historical Society. “According to her son, she secretly gave many gifts to charitable causes and supported at least 30 families with regular incomes.” She took care of her husband before he passed away in 1902. She credited her business acumen and simple, frugal lifestyle to her Quaker upbringing.

Hetty Green died in 1916 at age 82 after suffering a series of strokes. At her death, this legendary New Yorker who continues to fascinate us wasn’t just the richest woman in New York—she was the richest woman in America.

[Top image: New Bedford Guide; second image: unknown; third image: MCNY, 93.1.1.8934; fourth image: New York Times 1916; fifth image: Bain Collection/LOC; sixth image: NPS]

A midcentury painter’s magical nocturne of the Brooklyn Bridge

July 22, 2022

“Brooklyn Bridge” is a curiously plain title for a painting that shrouds much of the bridge, the river, and the piers around it in a Turner-esque swirl of industrial smoke, thick clouds, and the blue glow of dusk or dawn.

Light illuminates small pockets surrounding the bridge’s iconic towers: a tugboat’s smokestack, a wood building on an empty pier, and a retreating human figure turned away from the East River.

The painter is Frank Mason, an artist of many landscapes, seascapes, and portraits who studied at the Art Students League, where he later taught. “Brooklyn Bridge” was painted in 1950, a pivotal year for the bridge, when trolley service crossing back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn was discontinued.

Mason’s primary interest probably isn’t the Bridge’s historical timeline. He seems captivated by the light and color at a certain time of night, and it’s easy to understand why. His evocative nocturne becomes more enchanting every time to you view it.

[Image: frankmason.org]