1. 45th St. & Broadway [SE Corner] (1988 & 2012)
Much of this Times Square corner is the same as it was 25 years ago. The Bond restaurant has been covered up with billboards and retail shops (Swatch, Foot Locker), renamed Bond 45, and moved a few doors east on 45th Street. The tall building on the left was just being erected in 1988. The high billboards are in the exact same spots… And look at that Toshiba laptop! ENJOY.
1988 photo from the amazing NYC street photographer Matt Weber
2. 12th St. & 2nd Ave. [SW Corner] (1930 & 2012)
The Village East Cinema in Manhattan’s East Village. The theater opened in 1926 as The Yiddish Art Theater, attracting such notable attendees as Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, George Gershwin, and former New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. After several mid-century name changes, the theater was restored in 1992, and it remains the neighborhood’s best place to see both blockbusters and independent films alike. It’s sister, the world-famous Angelika Film Center, is located 10 blocks south, on Mercer and Houston. The 1930 photo (from the NYPL archives) shows the theater when it was called Yiddish Folks Theatre.
3. Christopher St. & 7th Ave. [SW Corner] (1970 & 2012)
The Village Smoke Shop on Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village is one of the most photographed and drawn buildings in all of Manhattan. It’s been in the same location since the early 20th century. This before and after is exciting: Look at the cobblestone street, the people, the clothes, the cars, the “Interborough Downtown” subway, the Walter B. Cooke Funeral Home ad, and so much more. Yet so much has remained the same, including the trash in the gutter. And, if you look closely, you can see One World Trade Center (“Freedom Tower”) being erected in the background. So much to see. Look and enjoy. Thanks to Richard Friedman’s blog for this incredible 1970 photo.
4. 1st St. & Bowery [NE Corner] (1989 & 2012)
We once again visit the corner of 1st Street and the Bowery. This image shows the famous “bad old days” of the East Village, where homeless men set trash can fires to stay warm. Almost looks like a movie set. And the very famous CBGB music club is in the background. (Your favorite NYC Corners photographer once played in a band that played one gig at CBGB.) Most of this area has been replaced by luxury rentals, generic banks, and expensive boutique shops. You could call this corner “ground zero” for everything against which neighborhood purists and preservationists rally.
5. 46th St. & Broadway [NW Corner] (1986 & 2012)
I found this amazing picture of 1980s Times Square on Matt Weber’s photo blog. The old checkered taxi stands in contrast with today’s mini-SUV model. American Eagle has replaced the iconic Howard Johnson’s on the near corner. But the hot dog vendors are still on the job. Across the street, TGI Friday’s billboards have replaced JVC and Mita Copiers ads. But the McDonald’s is still standing strong. And the Palace Theater remains (La Cage aux Folles was playing in 1986; Annie the Musical is playing in 2012). Enjoy!
6. 52nd St. & 5th Ave. [SE Corner] (1905 & 2012)
The Morton F. Plant House. This marble and granite Italian Renaissance mansion at 653 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan was completed in 1905 for Morton F. Plant, the son of a railroad tycoon. After only 12 years, Plant sold the mansion to Cartier Jewelers for a double-stranded Oriental pearl necklace valued at $1 million — to give to his wife Maisie Plant. Cartier converted the mansion into its U.S. flagship store, and since 1917, it has been known as the Cartier Building. In 1970, it was designated a landmark.
1905 photo courtesy of NYPL
7. 50th St. & 3rd Ave. [NE Corner] (2004 & 2012)
La Maganette, which closed in July 2005 after 30 years of service, was half classy Italian restaurant and half raging dance club. Downstairs, the restaurant dedicated certain nights to mambo, meringue, salsa, reggae, hip-hop, and everything in between. This Epinion review explains it: “After 30 years it got old and went downhill,” says one CitySearcher. Dos Caminos on 3rd Avenue (the third location of the popular chain of upscale Mexican restaurants) opened here in 2006.
8. 132nd St. & Lenox Ave. [NW Corner] (1915 & 2012)
We found this picture of the northwest corner of 132nd Street and Lenox Avenue alongside an article entitled “The First Black Policeman Remembers,” on the Columbia 250 website, dedicated to Columbia University’s 250-year anniversary. Interesting stuff about Irish, German, Jewish, Italian, white, and black gangs in the early 1900s.
9. 4th St. & Broadway [SW Corner] (1960s & 2012)
Back in the day, L’Elite Coffee Shop occupied this Greenwich Village corner. And the coffee shop sported an awesome “Enjoy Tab” Cola signage…as trucks from New Deal Delivery Service and Emery Air Freight idled out in the street. And a loft was for sale on the 2nd floor. I wonder who eventually bought that loft. A family? A winner? A loser? An average Joe? How much did it cost? Nostalgia makes all this stuff seem so much cooler than a yellow hybrid taxi idling in front of a Duane Reade pharmacy.
10. 51st St. & 2nd Ave. [NE Corner] (1979 & 2012)
In 2008, this Midtown East corner was the scene of a deadly crane collapse. Seven people were killed (including the crane operator) and 24 others were injured. A townhouse was crushed, cars were flattened, buildings were evacuated, and chaos ensued. The cause of the collapse was attributed to “a $50 piece of nylon that broke.” But things are looking up. The flattened townhouse has since been renovated and recently listed for $4.25 million. And, four years and several lawsuits later, Crave Ceviche Bar reopened last week as Crave Fish Bar. (The Smith replaced Rite-Aid, which replaced the A&P supermarket.)