Posts Tagged ‘Williamsburg’

“The lovely span of the Williamsburg Bridge”

April 18, 2010

This Williamsburg Bridge postcard looks like it depicts the bridge when it was built in 1903. Perhaps it hasn’t opened, since there’s no traffic.

It was the same bridge that captivated Francie Nolan, the dreamy, imaginative protagonist from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which tells the story of a poor Williamsburg family around 1910.

“Johnny took Francie up on the roof. She saw a whole new world. Not far away was the lovely span of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across the East River, like a fairy city made of silver cardboard, the skyscrapers loomed cleanly.”

Later, as a teenager who had to quit school to work in Manhattan, Francie is disappointed by the bridge.

“Looking at it from the roof of her house, she had thought that crossing it would make her feel like a gossamer-winged fairy flying through the air. But the actual ride over the bridge was no different than the ride above the Brooklyn streets.

“The bridge was paved in sidewalks and traffic roads like the streets of Broadway and the tracks were the same tracks.”

A Williamsburg street corner, 1937 vs. 2009

August 3, 2009

A lovely building graces the corner of Graham and Metropolitan Avenues in 1937. A barber shop occupies a ground-floor storefront, and a two-story ad for Kings Beer and Ale looms large on the facade.


At some point in the ensuring 62 years, the building was encased in siding, its cornices lopped off. (Hmm, why is that kind of siding so popular in Williamsburg? When did it become so fashionable?)


Today, the trolley tracks are gone, the phone wires buried underground, and the street light design has changed.

But a lot looks the same in 2009. The L train entrance remains, a huge ad takes up part of the building’s facade, and the corner has about the same amount of car and foot traffic as it did in 1937. 

Time stands still in Greenpoint

July 25, 2008

Enter the Brooklyn time machine and experience this corner soda fountain and luncheonette on Nassau and North Henry Streets. Is it 1948 or 2008?

A couple of Brooklyn phone exchanges

July 6, 2008

HY is for Hyancinth, in Williamsburg, but it’s unclear where that name came from.

The very faded NE in this moving-shipping-storage ad on Atlantic Avenue and Bedford stands for Nevins. Too bad there isn’t a city agency to help preserve the faint numerals.