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Gray Saturday: 1951

Gray Saturday: 1951

        As an alternative to Black Friday, we present Gray Saturday. More specifically, the first day of December 62 years ago:

Dec. 1, 1951. "Shopping center, Great Neck, Long Island, New York. Wanamaker's." Large-format negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Bathtub Nash

The car to the left of the woody, to elaborate upon tterrace's identification.

Garden of Great Neck

Just over a year old in this picture, Garden of Great Neck was by some accounts the first suburban-style shopping plaza* in the New York metropolitan area. Definitions can be a bit fuzzy so it's hard to be certain. It's still a thriving center today, though of course it's been greatly renovated over the years. Great Neck is a very upscale community, and this center benefits from a prime location right in the center of town.

Wanamaker's was gone by 1955, but other department stores occupied its space for another 20 years. Today there's a supermarket on the lower level of the space, and if I'm not mistaken a fitness center occupies the upper part.

* shopping plaza is a much better term than that modern abomination "strip mall."

Great Neck today has a large Jewish population and a large Iranian population. While that sounds like a recipe for World War III, by all accounts everyone gets along fine.

Beautiful Cars

All those beautiful cars, with their magnificent chrome bumpers, lined-up at the curb in front of the store.

Dr. Fuselage

The next-to-the-last car on the right (is that a Hudson?) brought back memories of my father, who was perfectly content to forgo the shopping experience and sit in the car, listening to the radio.

[It's a Nash. -tterrace]

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