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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • BRITISH COLUMBIA, c. 1947

The New World: 1936

The New World: 1936

Feb. 10, 1936. "Columbus Circle, Manhattan -- Looking northwest from above the circle, statue of Columbus, B&O bus station topped with Coca-Cola sign, other signs, Mayflower Hotel, Central Park with snow." 8x10 gelatin silver print by Berenice Abbott for the Federal Art Project. View full size.

 

At Home Abroad

A Little Song, A Little Dance

You want to taste an authentic ’30s revue? Here’s your chance.

It sounded like a hoot. Production notes and synopsis here.

So much to love

There is so much I love about this photo, I hardly know where to begin. I love the Majestic Theater sign advertising "At Home Abroad" with Ethel Waters and Beatrice Lillie, Herb Williams and Eleanor Powell, the architecture of the building directly behind the Coca Cola sign, the news vendors on every corner, what looks to be a roof garden atop the Mayflower Hotel, the park across the street and a glimpse of a streetcar whizzing by through the bottom right of the Coca Cola sign, the anchors on the Columbus monument, the bubbles on the Coke sign (which I'm sure lit up and moved at night), all the pedestrians and 1930s cars! It just screams, New York!!

There Goes the Neighborhood

In 1959, my wife-to-be worked in that B&O building when at the time we were "keeping company." The bus terminal was gone by then. She worked for the Monroe Greenthal Agency, a boutique ad firm that handled motion picture promos. I usually had a day off midweek and I would drive down and pick her up. Out of sight in this photo was the NYC Coloseum, a convention center, and there was always something happening. It has been replaced by the Time Warner Center with its multi-million-dollar condos and high end shopping venues. The neighborhood behind the convention center was the north end of Hell's Kitchen.

"Always Something Interesting"

This time it was marysd that had all the answers to all my questions about this wonderful photo; I only had to wait one day to get them. My thanks to Dave, marysd, and all the commenters and contributors. Shorpy.com is one of the finer things in life.

Why a "motor coach" station

This building was the last of the B&O's various NYC termini built (it opened in 1929). Due to the influence of the Pennsy the B&O was never able to bring its trains into Manhattan; instead, they used the CNJ terminal in Jersey City, from whence a fleet of "motor coaches" (never, ever "buses" in B&O literature) took ferries across the Hudson and to various stations and stops in the city. This service stubbornly lasted until 1958; at the end of the year this picture was taken, a new set of, er, motor coaches arrived complete with "air conditioning" (actually a block of ice and a fan).

Rye sign

Schenley?

Airy Columbus Circle

I can remember the Mayflower, a modest hotel where ordinary people could stay and enjoy a Central Park view. Now it's occupied by 15 Central Park West, the most expensive co-op apartment building in the city. A gaudy Trump tower has replaced the Baltimore and Ohio bus station. Abbot took this photo from the top of the building where the Museum of Art and Design now stands. It's nice to see the streetcar on Broadway. Central Park West is quite crowded compared to Broadway. Maybe it's Sunday?

We have your shirts

Note the laundry truck. Four bags on the roof and another wedged between the fender and hood.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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