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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Steuben Glass: 1937

Steuben Glass: 1937

Sept. 8, 1937. "Steuben Glass, 718 Fifth Ave., New York. Exterior, general view. William & Geoffrey Platt, architects." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.

 

The Road To Riches

That Checker Taxi Cab needs a NYC issued license, called a Medallion, in order to pick up fares in the City. First issued during the Depression Era to regulate the number of Cabs on the streets, the cost was $10 yearly. There were about 16,000 Medallions issued, they eventually dwindled to about 11,000. The value of these licenses rose to about $5,000 in the 1950s. The purchases allowed working people and many new immigrants a way to enter the self employed ranks. By working hard, many of them worked 12 and 18 hour days to pay back to the private Medallion Brokers their loans and accrued interest. Once they wholly owned the tags they could make a good living and by hiring another driver to work the times that the owner wasn't using the cab they did even better. To shorten this monologue, the current value of these Medallions is in excess of one million dollars each. About 40% of them are owned by companies that have 6 or more of them.

Owens-Corning

@ Maniak Productions: And then there was Owens-Corning.

Hacked up hack?

I am a streetrodder and general gearhead, and Dennis M's comment about that Checker Cab got me going. At first I thought it was a hacked-up mid-30's 4dr sedan, probably customized by its owner/driver, but then I "checked up" on Checker: behold, a 1937 Checker Model Y. (Y as in "Yowsa")

Long Sang Ti and Majong

Ly Hoi Sang (Ly Yu Sang) was born in 1870 and in 1920 published a book with a descriptive and explanatory story about the game of "ma-ch'iau" or "mah jongg" or mahjong which apparently was all the fad in the 1920s. This book,among others, was published in New York by The Long Sang Ti Chinese Curios Co., inc.

All those glass blocks

Silverton mentioned the Corning building. Pyrex, of Corning, NY, was eventually purchased by the Corning glass company.

Oddly enough, all the glass blocks were made by Owens-Illinois, a company that later morphed into Armstrong (who also absorbed the Whitall-Tatum glass co.), then Kerr.

Sounds like this building was privvy to a lot of US glass making history at one time.

Dalva Brothers

Dalva Brothers antiques is still in existence. Their website notes that they were founded in 1933 and recently moved from E57th street to a new building on 77th street after 60 years of business there!

Still extant

Two of the buildings on the right are still around today. The fourth or fifth building behind Steuben Glass, with the big arch in its facade and the address of 10 West 56th Street, used to be Elizabeth Taylor's New York pied-a-terre. A couple of years ago the richest person in the world, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, bought it for $15 million. Somehow I doubt he had to apply for a mortgage. Continuing with the Latin theme, the building next to it, with the Charles London sign, is now the embassy of Argentina.

Harry Winston

This is now the Harry Winston building. The Times did this great Streetscape about the lot a few years ago.

New York's first glass house

The Steuben Building (aka Corning Building), an Art Deco building by William and Geoffrey Platt, completed in 1937, and was sold in 1959 to Harry Winston Jeweler. Winston hired Jacques Regnault to redesign the facade in an eighteenth century French style... the original design lasted only 23 years. Ada Louise Hustable called it "architecture as play acting"...and in regard to accepting an imitation as the real thing "wouldn't work with Mr. Winston's jewels and it doesn't really work with architecture either."

Checker Cab

Love that Checker Cab! They built some weird looking cars over the years.

 
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