Posts Tagged ‘New York in 1974’

Park Avenue South: three centuries, three views

June 21, 2012

In the photo below, taken in 1890, this stretch of Park Avenue South only had its name for two years. Before that, it was known as plain-old Fourth Avenue.

The intersection at 31st Street wasn’t exactly bustling. It featured a market, a laundry, and two very different hotels.

The opulent Park Avenue Hotel was built as a home for working women in 1876 (it failed thanks to its stringent rules). The low-key place next door is the Brandes, a holdout from a more rural city, explains New York Then and Now.

A lot happened in 84 years. Both hotels and the other small-fry businesses are gone, replaced by a canyon of 1920s-era office buildings and apartments (and a few saplings in giant planters in the median).

Today, Park Avenue South and 31st Street is pretty similar to its 1970s counterpart—minus the saplings.

Way in the distance in the center of the photo is the Park Avenue Tunnel, which sends cars underground at 33rd Street.

The tunnel used to carry railroad tracks, then streetcars—you can see them going in and coming out of the tunnel in the top photo.

[Top two photos: from New York Then and Now, Dover publications]

Cooling off at a city pool in Bed-Stuy, 1974

June 11, 2011

An Ephemeral reader sent me this link to Business Insider, which has some incredible photos of Brooklyn in the summer of 1974. They were taken by award-winning photographer Danny Lyon (and are now part of the National Archives).

The collection, making the rounds on different blogs, features beautiful and tender shots of burned out brownstones (now worth millions) and teens hanging out in the park.

But my favorites are the four photos that capture one July day at Kosciusko Pool on Marcy Avenue.

Opened in 1971, the pool must have been the place for neighborhood kids to keep cool, meet friends, and goof off—as 1970s New York sweltered and sputtered.

Scenes like these probably played out every day at dozens of city public pools, some built during the Depression with WPA labor.

Interestingly, Kosciusko Pool was designed by Bed-Stuy native Morris Lapidus, who also designed the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach.