Saturday, June 22, 2019

Then and Now: Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn

Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, 1977.
It's no secret that iconic structures like the Brooklyn Bridge haven't changed in the lifetime of anyone currently living. They likely won't change during anyone's current lifetime, either. So, choosing some old photo of the Brooklyn Bridge and comparing it to a current view really doesn't prove anything. However... the things around these iconic structures can and do change... sometimes. And then again, sometimes they don't. So, I saw the above photo from 1977 and wondered what the current state of that evocative and picturesque scene was today, over four decades later. Did the photographer capture a fleeting moment in time, the light of a firefly before it winked out in the night? Or, did he or she just choose an interesting spot and take a quick snap that could be duplicated today? And, if the latter, is there anything else about the scene that has changed? So, I decided to do a comparison of Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge from 1977 to 2018.

Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, August 2018 (Google Street View).
Well, I hunted down the location. The building turned out to be No. 1 Front Street. This is in the DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) neighborhood. The location actually isn't under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, but whatever, it's a New York thing.

Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
No. 1 Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, August 2018 (Google Street View).
The current occupant of No. 1 Front Street is a pizza joint, Grimaldi's Pizza. Brooklyn is famous for its pizza. I'm told (I'm no expert) that the secret to a truly great pizza is a hot (very hot) coal-fired oven. Grimaldi's boasts of using such ovens. A little research on Grimaldi's web page establishes that they opened "the original, historic Grimaldi's location" in 1990. So, it's historic, though dating later than the original photo from 1977, above.

Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
No. 1 Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, August 2018 (Google Street View).
Anyway, this isn't an ad for Grimaldi's, which I've never had the honor of ordering from but which I'm sure is a top pizza joint (much better than the dozens of Famous Ray's joints that dot Manhattan, at least). There are a couple of other little things I want to point out that reflect upon the passage of time. First, it appears that the street lights haven't changed (or at least the basic style hasn't changed). This may seem like a picayune detail, and perhaps it is. However, the street lamps can tell you a lot. For instance, in gentrified neighborhoods, they've begun placing fancy hooked lamposts that apparently are designed to resemble old gas lamps. In any event, the gentrified ones have that "genteel olde world" feel to them, as opposed to the genuinely older "highway or parking lot" feel. As the photo shows, the new lights haven't appeared yet in this section of DUMBO. That tells me straight off that the neighborhood may have improved over time, but it still has a ways to go to become truly (to use a 1980s term) Yuppiefied.

Front Street at Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
View of No. 1 Front Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, August 2018 (Google Street View). Pulling back a bit creates a completely different feeling.
Now, focusing on something of a little greater international import than the street lamps on Front Street, something else has changed. I probably don't have to point it out, but may as well. While not visible in the original photo from 1977 due to the photographer's angle of shooting, if he/she had glanced slightly to his left, he/she would have had an awesome view of the World Trade Center. Well, the same would be the case in 2018. However, it is a different World Trade Center. Now, who could have predicted that in 1977? I am going to make an absolutely aesthetic judgment here and say that I believe the new World Trade Center view is more beautiful than the old World Trade Center view. Of course, and this again goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, we all wish the old view were still with us.

I hope you enjoyed this entry in our "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. Please visit some of the other pages in the series if you are interested in how a city changes over time in a (usually) evolutionary way.

2019

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

privacy policy