Posts Tagged ‘Times Square in the 1920s’

Old Times Square, blazing in color at night

December 16, 2013

There’s old Times Square—the 1960s and 1970s sleazy version. And then there’s the real old Times Square, in the early decades of the 20th century, when millions of lights illuminated the city’s primary entertainment district until dawn.


Something about this stretch of New York at this time in history makes it seem exciting, passionate, alive. This Times Square feature streetcars, a Greyhound bus station, cigarette ads . . . and no public pedestrian plaza.

The Show Folks Shoe Shop hiding in Times Square

April 24, 2010

Partly obscured by a Maxell billboard and a red and white TGIF restaurant awning is a subdued two-story structure on Broadway and 46th Street.

It’s a grimy yet elegant find. Turn the corner, and you can see a curious phrase carved into the limestone facade: “”The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear.”

What’s the story? The building opened in 1926 as an upscale I. Miller shoe store, a chain that thrived until the 1970s. Early on, I. Miller specialized in footwear for show business types.

No wonder there are four life-size statues of famous actresses set in pockets of the facade. Mary Pickford (at right, as Little Lord Fauntleroy) and Ethel Barrymore are still well-known.

But the other two, Marilyn Miller and Rosa Ponselle, have fallen into obscurity. 

Kind of the way the building has fallen into disrepair. Landmarked in 1999, it needs a good cleaning, especially around the statues.

Ethel Barrymore, above left, as Ophelia in Hamlet; musical comedy actress Marilyn Miller as the lead in a play called Sunny.