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On the Avenue: 1912

On the Avenue: 1912

New York circa 1912. "Fifth Avenue south from Thirty-Sixth Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.



Below is the same view from November of 2008.

A "few" changes ...

Remarkable to me is the fact the building on the west side of the street, with the arches, still stands. A bit farther down is a building with columns and a flag flying from its roof. That building still stands though it no longer has columns and is now taller having undergone massive reconstruction, The building that follows it, with the onion dome at the corner is the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It was demolished and moved to Park Avenue. The Empire State Building now stands on the site, and was constructed in thirteen months including the time taken to demolish the old Waldorf. A bit past the Waldorf, a flag flies from the approximate location of a new tower about to be built that will be almost as high as the ESB.

"Smile and show your dimple"

A little-known fact about Irving Berlin's famous song "Easter Parade" is that those are not the melody's original words. The tune was composed in 1917 as "Smile and Show Your Dimple" to cheer the girls whose boyfriends had gone off to fight World War I. Berlin revised it in 1933 with the Easter lyrics for the Broadway musical revue "As Thousands Cheer."

Word of the Day

"And you'll find that you're
  in the rotogravure."

I was just thinking about that line this morning. Is there anyone who didn't first encounter the word "rotogravure" in this song?

Double vision

Viewers will note at least one -- the other is obscured -- of the double deck buses the Avenue was known for. Assuredly one of the first city bus lines in the U.S. But even the most knowledgeable will be hard pressed to identify the builder (and not just because it's mostly hidden): the Fifth Avenue Coach Co. were DIYers.

Steering wheels?

Are the steering wheels on the right side?
Or is this image reversed?

[Is that license plate reversed? The signs on the storefronts? - Dave]

"On The Avenue Of Golden Dreams"

Curbed is a 1912 Pierce-Arrow Model 36 Vestibule Town Car, the chauffeur alertly trying to catch an early glimpse of his returning employer. Even the hack pony couldn't resist a sideways glance in the direction of the magnificent horseless carriage. "Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it."

Their great granddaughters will wear torn jeans

Fifth Avenue divides the numbered streets into east and west addresses. If you're looking south down Fifth Avenue and standing on this side of Fifth you're on East 36th Street, not West.

To the immediate left, these beautifully outfitted ladies are strolling past 381 and 383 Fifth Ave; two buildings that appear to be one.

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