Monday, March 21, 2011
"Old New York"
Well for me "Old New York" is the immediate post-war years. I was born in 1950 so remember the city from the early '50's. The town still looked much as it did in the 1930's. It didn't radically change till the 60's, and then again in the 1980's. It's doing it again now.
However I have a romantic memory of how things were then, and I miss it. Not the crap, and awfulness, but the sense of things as they were. ..or at least as I remember them.
The city was historically interesting then. We've lost so many of the late 19th, and early 20 century places, and things. Places taken for granted for generations.
For example my Mom, when we went shopping, would take me to lunch at the "Automat",..yeah that one. The for real as in 1920's/30's movies Automat. Many streets were still cobblestone. This from the era of horse drawn wagons, and carriages.
Also people dressed better. There was more of a consciousness of appearance. One that had nothing to do the the fashion dementia of today. It had to do with self respect.
Well-to-do middle or working class all dressed as best as they could when they went out. I remember my Dad taking me, and my sister to our neighborhood park. We dressed up! He wore a tie, jacket, and fedora, and we wore clean play clothes. I don't have to tell you what it's like now.
There were no glass, and steel clad skyscrapers. Everything was granite, limestone, and marble. I used to think that the buildings were made from Graham crackers, and cookies. This because in the afternoon sun that's exactly what they looked like.
A whole city made from cookies or biscuits..for you folks in the Commonwealth.
You could tell the cars apart as well. This because each manufacturer had radically different designs. ..at least as compared to today. Our rides are made of plastic, and look like melted sneakers. They give just as much mileage too.
The subways system still had rolling stock from the late 1920's , and earlier in service. Everything from the "AB Standard" 1914 model to the 1948 Red Bird was banging around our tunnels.
You could stand on the platform, and see the whole history of subway trains fly by! Also while standing there you could get a five cent Coke out of them classic neat old machines, and candy was one cent!
Aw man, and comics were a dime.
I remember on one birthday my dad got me a dollars worth,..Ten comics!
A vast fortune in kid currency!
Best of times the worst,..blah, blah you get the deal. It's just that things seemed to matter more then. As I say I think we were all more connected to our person-hoods back in that day. Stuff mattered, had value all that.
Mind you maybe them that was adults back then might think all this is a load of crap. Hey I was a kid, and this is what it looked like to me.
Anyway I was just thinking about them times is all.
(This is amateur silent 16mm film taken in New York City sometime in the mid-1930s. This is mostly the city I remember from the early to late 1950's. ...again note how folks dressed when they went "downtown" as they used to say.)