Posts Tagged ‘New York in 1912’

Crossing Riverside Drive on a beautiful day

March 1, 2012

“Everything is fine and dandy so far,” someone scrawled in cursive on the back of this postcard, stamped March 11, 1912—almost 100 years ago to the day.

“Jake met us at the station. Was very nice. We are having a fun time.” It’s signed “F & M.” Father and mother? I wonder who they were.

Does anyone know exactly where this stretch of Riverside Drive is? My guess is the upper 80s.

A Sunday rooftop ritual on Cornelia Street

June 24, 2011

Painter John Sloan captures three young women in a semi-private ritual in “Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair,” from 1912.

Watching the three from his studio at Sixth Avenue and West Fourth Street, Sloan called them unselfconscious performers in “another of the human comedies which were regularly staged for my enjoyment by the humble roof-top players of Cornelia Street,” according to this caption from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Rather than engaging in polite rituals in the elegant or exotic private habitats that American academics and Impressionists preferred to portray,” the caption explains, “these lightly clad Three Graces exhibit an easy camaraderie and a forthright relationship to the viewer.”

“They display their chests and bare arms as they perform their toilette, and their hair is freed from the decorous buns, ‘psyche knots,’ and other coiffures required for appropriate appearance in public.”

The breeze must have felt good up there on the roof. Here’s another John Sloan rooftop.

A West Broadway building’s valves and hydrants

January 3, 2011

Lots of New York buildings are adorned with images: faces, animals, cherubs, wreaths, urns, even musical instruments.

But not many feature industrial equipment on its facade, as this little four-story, cream-colored gem in Tribeca does.

Tucked away midblock on West Broadway between Franklin and Whites Streets, the building originally served as the FDNY’s High Pressure Services Headquarters in 1912.

“. . . the iconography on this slender building’s glazed terra cotta facade includes representations of fire hydrants, hoses, valves, couplings, and other tools of the fireman’s trade,” states One Thousand New York Buildings by Jorg Brockman and Bill Harris.

“It is crowned in its central pediment by a fine rendering of the official seal of the City of New York.”