October 3, 1942

Spire of Old Trinity

The Now shot was taken on October 2, 2010.

I was off a little on this one insofar as the time of day.  The shadows reveal that I was a few minutes too late and that the clock on Trinity Church is running a little slow.  As noted on the June 6, 1941 page, the color of Trinity Church has changed due to the exterior being cleaned in the early 1990s.

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Two Views up a Street of Many Races (first shot)

The Now shot was taken on October 9, 2010.

The following two shots and the shots Cushman took the next day are in my view the most interesting series of shots that he took because they captured the Lower East Side as it existed before the post-War “slum clearance” literally erased scores and scores of blocks and replaced them with what only could be described as social utopian La Corbusier public housing projects, truly massive cooperatives, and lots and lots of parking lots.

A case in point: The Then and Now shots below of a view (facing north) of Norfolk Street between Broome and Delancey Streets.  According to the Fall 1944 – Spring 1945 Manhattan Yellow Pages, Rebecca’s Yarn Shop (see the small blue sign below the larger yellow sign in Cushman’s shot) was located at 75 Norfolk St. (and could be reached at ORchrd 4-3758).

In 1942, kids hung out in front of the candy store.  The sidewalks were teeming with people.  You could buy food, get a haircut, buy some yarn, go to a restaurant or even live on this block.  Today you can park your car here.  And you now have a great view of that abominable post-modern condominium, BLUE (or Blue Tower), that makes the parking lot in the foreground look inviting.  From Blue’s web site: “BLUE is the work of architect Bernard Tschumi whose visionary work has received widespread acclaim in the design community and by the media.  BLUE is Tschumi’s first condominium building to be constructed in New York City.  His design, he says, captures the energy of the diverse population and eclectic buildings of the Lower East Side.”  And from the AIA Guide to New York City: “When viewed from Delancey Street, it seems to be on the move, like a commuter pushing its way south through rush hour traffic ….”

If by commuter they mean Godzilla, I am in complete agreement.  Let’s hope it’s Tschumi’s last.

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Two Views Up a Street of Many Races (second shot)

The Now shot was taken on October 9, 2010.

As evidenced by the Now shot, this still is a street of many races.  This is one block up from the previous shot and is a view looking north on Norfolk Street taken from the median on Delancey Street (this part of Delancey near the Williamsburg Bridge was referred to as Schiff Parkway back in 1942).

We were at war then and a banner dedicated to those in uniform hung over Norfolk Street.  Today we have BLUE which, mercifully, can barely be seen in the Now shot.

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One final note.  These shots were presumably taken by Cushman on October 3, 1942 but I have some doubts about that for the following reasons.  First, the shot of Trinity Church shows the time on the clock to be approximately 1:40 give or take a minute.  The clock was working because the Now shot was taken at approximately that time (although the clock today is a little slow) and the shadows do not lie.  This is the only shot he took from downtown (not far from the shots he took two days earlier).  He then takes his next two shot in an entire different area of Manhattan not far from the Williamsburg Bridge on the Lower East Side.  The last shot strongly suggests that these were not taken on the same day because the clock on the Bar sign shows the time as being approximately 1:40 (early afternoon is when Cushman took the vast majority of his shots).  It would not have been possible for Cushman to get from Trinity Church to Norfolk and Delancey in such a short amount of time.

This matters because it has to do with the sequence of shots which, in turn, provides clues and or confirms the locations of unlabeled shots.  I think the first shot was actually part of the October 1 series of shots that he took and that the two other shots were part of the series of shots that he took on October 4th.  Not only does this make sense geographically (all of the October 1 shots were clustered downtown and all of the October 4 shots were of the Lower East Side) but the weather also backs this up.  October 1st was a sunny, cloudless day; October 4th was for the most part overcast or only partly sunny.  This supports the determination that the first October 4th shots started in the vicinity of Broome Street.  As will be seen, the series of shots he took on October 4th pick up only a couple of blocks away from those he took on Norfolk Street.

Click here to see the next series of shots taken on October 4th.

Note: The Cushman shots have been reproduced on this site with the written consent of Indian University, which owns the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.

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1. Click here to see it Then and Now

Here is a view of the United States Secretariat as it appeared on July 11, 1960.

Click here to see other Then and Now shots from that day.  Note: The Cushman shots have been reproduced on this site with the written consent of Indiana University, which owns the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.

2. Click here to see it Then and Now

A view west on 42nd Street and Broadway as it appeared on July 9, 1960.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.

3. Click here to see it Then and Now

Here is Delmonico’s, at 56 Beaver Street, as it appeared on July 7, 1960.  Click here to see other Then and Now shots from that day.

4. Click here to see it Then and Now

Peter Minuit Plaza as it appeared on July 5, 1960.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.

5. Click here to see it Then and Now

A view of Pearl Street and Peck Slip as it appeared on October 7, 1942.  The oldest house (at the time) in Manhattan can barely be seen in this shot.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.

6. Click here to see it Then and Now

A view of City Hall in the early morning as it appeared on October 6, 1942.  To see more Then and Now shots from that day please go to the October 6, 1942 page.

7. Click here to see it Then and Now

A view of Second Avenue and 2nd Street as it appeared on October 4, 1942.  To see more Then and Now shots from that day please go to the October 4, 1942 page.

8. Click here to see it Then and Now

Here is a view looking up Broadway from Battery Park as it appeared on October 1, 1942.  To see more Then and Now shots from that day please go to the October 1, 1942 page.

9. Click here to see It Then and Now

A view of Trinity Church as it appeared on October 3, 1942.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.

10. Click here to see It Then and Now

A view of Peck Slip as it appeared on September 27, 1941.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.

11. Click here to see It Then and Now

A view looking east on Wall Street as it appeared on June 6, 1941.  Trinity Church is in the background, the New York Stock Exchange is on the left, and a statute of George Washington in front of Federal Hall is on the right.  Click here to see more Then and Now shots from that day.