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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • OCTOBER'S BRIGHT BLUE WEATHER: 1940

Apts. to Let: 1938

Apts. to Let: 1938

1938. "New York. East 62nd Street." Acetate negative by Sheldon Dick. View full size.

 

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Street level

It hasn't been raised quite as much as first appears. Look at the threshold of the apartment house: in the old photo the step is even with the top of the stone course at the top of the basement. In the modern photo it's even with the bottom. The lobby has been lowered by about two steps.

So -- in the old photo it's six steps from the door to the street. In the modern photo it's only two, but if you take into account the lowering of the doorway by another two steps, that means that the sidewalk is only about two steps higher now than in 1938, probably somewhere between 14 and 18 inches.

Behind Pilgrim Power

It's a '34 - '36 International panel delivery.

Street level

The Queensboro Bridge's upper-level ramp crosses 62nd Street a half a block west. The ramp was built in the 1950s when a roadway replaced transit tracks. I'm guessing the street was raised to accommodate the slope of the ramp.

Laundry & the East River Drive

The factory at the far left is a laundry, evidenced by the air handlers and bags of laundry or linens on the truck. Can anyone read the sign on the van?

[NEW YORK LINEN SUPPLY - Dave]

It's possible that the street was leveled or grading in connection with removing a small hill just north of this spot, visible here.

Either that, or perhaps it changed when the East River Drive was built. Back in the 1930s, there was a small bay and inlet that drained from 63rd Street and First Avenue south east to the river at 61st Street. The land sloped down from a line of hills around First Avenue. Con Edison had several large gas holders on the flats on both sides of 62nd Street, east of First, and there was almost nothing east of York Avenue, which was less than 100 feet from the high water line. When the highway was constructed, the area was raised significantly and a bulkhead installed along the river. East 62nd Street became an entrance to the highway. No doubt the City graded the streets from First Avenue east. It may have done work here, too.

How do you get to ground

from the fire escape?

[The ladder lowers. - Dave]

Apts to let --

I want the one right next to the factory wall.

All still there -- except

Sad to say, the Italian-American Grocery is gone.

May the road rise up to meet you

I am fascinated by the fact that the street level now is so much higher than it once was. Anyone have an explanation for why that is?

Where are the apes?

When I was a little girl, my grandparents, Carl and Vera Baier, owned a boarding house in Cody, Wyoming, which they called Baier Rooms and Apts. My cousin, equally young, thought that Apts. was really Apes. For years - even now - when I remember that, it's always Baier Rooms and Apes. The building, located on Beck Street, is long gone. No more apes in Cody.

A street grows in Lenox Hill

Both the Apts. and the factory building next door have survived, although the factory is now offices. The candy shop is a cleaners, and the cafe's space is to let. The street and sidewalks appear to be about three feet higher, and the windows for the basement apartments are bricked up.

King of the Urban Jungle

Earning his keep keeping the pesky rodents at bay

Factual Fictional Trivia

The Kramden Chronicles took place in 1955. They lived in their apartment for 14 years when the show began, which means they'd been there since 1941. Just three short years after this photo was taken, Ralph, Alice, Ed Norton and Trixie will be taking up residence, sleeping on the fire escape on hot summer nights and Ralph chasing a sleepwalking Norton across the roof.

Pilgrim Power

Looks like a 1935 Plymouth PJ Business Coupe.
Unsure about the one behind it.

Today it'd be called a "mixed use" development

Industrial, commercial, and multi-family residential. The president of the homeowners' association is atop the stairs on the right.

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