Posts Tagged ‘Spring Street’

The mysterious portrait artist of Spring Street

October 12, 2020

Very little is known about a 19th century New York painter named John Bradley.

He “may have” immigrated to America from Ireland in 1826, the Metropolitan Museum of Art noted. In the 1830s, he was in Staten Island, where he painted portraits of well-known Staten Islanders with last names like Totten, Cole, and Ellis.

In a New York City directory in 1836, however, John Bradley is listed as a portrait painter on Hammersly Street—today’s West Houston Street, according to the National Gallery of Art.

From 1837 to 1843, Bradley was listed at 128 Spring Street. “Bradley’s last address in New York, from 1844 to 1847, was 134 Spring Street,” states the National Gallery. After this, “nothing further has been determined of Bradley’s life or career.”

But Bradley did leave behind some of his portraits—and two, both of little girls, showcase his folk art style and rich attention to detail. They also give us an idea of what well-off little girls in New York wore in the 1840s, from their bonnets to jewelry to dresses down to their slippers.

“Little Girl in Lavender,” at top, was done in 1840. The second portrait, from 1844, is of two-year-old Emma Homan, whose father ran the first omnibuses in the city. Both works would have been painted while Bradley was on Spring Street—a desirable address in a fashionable area at the time.

John Bradley’s studio was at this corner in the 1840s.

Today at his former Spring Street addresses, no building survives that could have housed Bradley’s studio. Here’s the corner where it once was, at Greene Street, above. The mid-19th century Spring Street of small houses is long gone.

Emma Homan herself might be the last known connection to Bradley. After moving away from New York City with her family as a girl, she grew up to be botanical artist and writer, at right in an 1897 photo.

[First portrait, National Gallery of Art; second portrait: Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Faded street signage of an older Manhattan

May 24, 2012

On a rundown tenement in Harlem, this street address affixed to the building as kind of a scroll is a bit of random loveliness and a reminder of a more fanciful city.

The other corner should have one that says “Fourth Avenue,” the old name for Park Avenue, where this residence is located.

It’s awfully hard to see this faded cross street carving, found on the Soho-Tribeca border. Look closely and you can make out “Greenwich S.” and “Spring S.”

A glimpse into Soho’s manufacturing past

September 20, 2009

This remarkably well-preserved three-story faded ad was put up by a box company on Spring and Wooster Streets—a nice reminder that Soho was once a manufacturing neighborhood with many small factories. Note the great old phone exchange CA 6-7390.

Boxesfadedad2

What happened to the box factory? Probably turned into condos. A little research shows that there was a box company at 73 Wooster Street. Shut down in the mid ’90s, it was renovated into multimillion-dollar loft condos within a few years.