Posts Tagged ‘Dumbo’

“The Manhattan Bridge Approach”

May 12, 2009

The back of this postcard, printed before the bridge approach on the Manhattan side was actually completed (which explains why it looks a lot prettier than the real Manhattan Bridge approach and the streets surrounding it), reads: “The plaza and arch are similar to the Porte St. Denis in Paris, and colonnade similar in effect to that of St. Peter’s in Rome.” 

Who knew bridge engineers had such grand architectural models in mind? 


The bridge opened in 1909. Interestingly, its cables were designed by the same guy who designed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. You know that one—it swung in the wind and eventually snapped in 1940.

The Brooklyn pots-and-pans peddler

January 23, 2009

Berenice Abbott photographed this vendor and his giant wooden wagon of kitchenware on May 22, 1936, probably in the downtown/DUMBO area. 


Berenice Abbott: Changing New York commented:

“Once the lifeblood of New York’s poorer neighborhoods, vendors like this traveling pots-and-pans salesman were a disappearing breed when Abbott took this photograph in 1936. . . . The location of Abbott’s photograph is not specified, but the neighborhood resembles Talman and Jay Streets, which she photographed the same day.”

So what happened to Talman Street? Once a small road that followed the remnant of a cow path, it got wiped out when the BQE was built in 1950.

“Old Fulton Ferry Passes Into History”

August 1, 2008

Behold, the gorgeous Victorian-style Fulton Ferry Terminal. Here New Yorkers traveling to Brooklyn via the East River ferry picked up a horse-drawn streetcar (and later a steam locomotive) that took them to points all over the borough.

These streetcars have signs for Cypress Hills, East New York, and Greenwood—quite a long haul for a couple of horses.

The Fulton ferries ceased in 1924, marking the first time since 1642 that this part of the river lacked ferry service. According to a New York Times article published on the final day, rowboats were first used, and “In 1730, a sailboat ferry service was inaugurated, which was replaced later by a horse-propelled craft, and finally by steamboats.”