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New York Public Market: 1948

New York Public Market: 1948

March 22, 1948. The New York City Public Market at First Avenue and East 73rd Street (?), an example of the food market in transition. A typical 19th-century market would have many separate vendors in an open-air space like a town square. By the early 1900s the open-air space had given way to separate vendors under a large shed roof with no walls, often near the train station. Here in 1948 the space is enclosed, but still with separate vendors (greengrocer, butcher, dry goods, fishmonger etc.). After the introduction of centralized distribution and self-service for the various product categories, the individual vendors fade from the scene and the market has a new name: "super-market," now spelled without the hyphen. View full size. 5x7 safety negative by Gottscho-Schleisner.


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Was it really that long ago?

My Grandmama took me to a few of these markets in the 40's and 50's. They slowly moved out into the suburbs, year by year, until you couldn't find them in the city anymore, and had to travel out into the 'country-side' the find them. Fortunately, we moved out to Queens along with them and were able to continue to purchase fresh produce.

Another Timeless Picture

The only indications that this photo was not taken yesterday are the food prices. Farmers' markets are one of those rare things that simply haven't changed much over the last 60 years. Even the scales look the same.

[True, although the men selling the produce are not the people who grew it. It's more of an old-style grocery as opposed to a self-service market, i.e. supermarket. - Dave]


If the 1948 photo is *vintage* and I'm pre-1948 what does that make me?

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