Posts Tagged ‘vintage postcard New York City’

Columbus Circle’s original IRT subway kiosk

October 14, 2019

No matter what you think of Christopher Columbus, I think we can all agree that the original subway kiosk at the circle named after him is an iconic and inspiring piece of street architecture.

And the trolleys, the lamppost, the dune buggy–like early car in this 1910 postcard of Columbus Circle…sigh.

This kiosk would be for entering the subway. The old-school rule: Domed-roof kiosks were for going into the station, while peaked-roof kiosks were for exiting, according to Tom Range’s 2002 book, New York City Subways.

[Postcard: MCNY, X2011.34.2391]

Night descends on the Empire State Building

May 20, 2013

A different New York comes alive at night than the daytime city, one with its own magic and enchantment.

Whoever wrote the caption on the back of this 1940s postcard understood this well.


“Spectacular sight as this is typical of all New York which is truly a fairyland when night begins to descend,” the caption reads.

“The Empire State Building, guardian of the skyscrapers, keeps faithful watch over her charges throughout the night.”

“The most unusual cafeteria in New York”

February 4, 2013

I wish I knew why Longleys, on Sixth Avenue and 50th Street, billed itself with this title. But I can’t figure it out.

The decor looks perfectly normal for a 1950s-era cafeteria: spotless floors, fake plants, salt and pepper shakers on every table.


Longleys boasts of its “unbelievably fine food.” But they don’t specify any menu items—probably because the food wasn’t much different from what was served at the city’s other popular cafeteria chains at the time, like the President Cafeteria.

Jack Kerouac memorialized Hector’s Cafe, near Times Square, in On the Road. Who memorialized Longleys? The only mention I found was in Jerry Stiller’s autobiography.

When he first met his future comedy partner and wife Anne Meara, they slipped into Longleys for coffee and cake . . . and then lifted some silverware because Ann’s roommates in the Village kept losing theirs.


When it shut down, I have no idea. But it must have been not long after the postcard came out. 1265 Sixth Avenue no longer exists; 1261 and 1271 are office towers built in 1961.

Looking toward Battery Park from the water

September 24, 2012

Postmarked 1903, this vintage view of Battery Park—from a ferry from Staten Island or Governor’s Island?—is kind of the daytime opposite of this one.

Have you ever seen Grand Central like this?

March 16, 2012

Empty of pedestrians, cars, taxis, and traffic, especially during daylight hours, that is. The image comes from a 1920s postcard of the terminal, not long after it opened in 1913.

Check out this grainy photo of the original Grand Central Depot, in the 1870s, with real live cows grazing in front of it—a glimpse of the city’s rural recent past.