Friday, June 28, 2019

Then and Now: Jay Street at Fulton Streets, Brooklyn

Jay Street at Fulton Street, Brooklyn

Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Jay Street at Fulton Street, 1972.
Being a resident of Manhattan, I fondly refer to everywhere else in New York City as the "outer boroughs." One of the differences between Manhattan and the outer boroughs is that there is more change in Manhattan. That doesn't mean there is no change in the outer boroughs, it just means that change is a little more rapid on Manhattan Island. I noticed the above photo from 1972 of a typical Brooklyn street and wondered what it might look like now. So, I did this comparison of Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn from 1972 to 2017.

Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Jay Street at Fulton Street, September 2017 (Google Street View).
As I expected, not a lot has changed in 45 years on this particular corner of Brooklyn - and this area is not preserved as a historic district or anything like that. There is still a bus stop, the traffic pole is still there, and the buildings are unchanged. In fact, I don't think a single building in this view has changed with the possible exception of one at the extreme right. There's even an antenna at the right which appears to be the same. I mean, you could be looking at the same place at the same time - but there are 45 years in between the two photos!

Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Jay Street at Fulton Street, September 2017 (Google Street View).
Viewing this from a slightly different angle shows the only real change over 45 years. That is the occupants of the buildings themselves. Chock full o'Nuts is gone, though the company itself survives. Chock full o'Nuts began as nut shops in 1926 and introduced lunch counters under the Chock full o'Nuts brand name in 1932. While Chock full o'Nuts basically exited the counter business in the 1980s, it since has opened a few in the 2010s. They didn't return to this location on Fulton Street, but there are two in Brooklyn at 1611 Ave M and at 1510 Ave J.

Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Jay Street at Fulton Street, September 2017 (Google Street View).
Another store present in 1972 was the Thom McAn shoe store down the block. Those born after 1990 may not even realize that there ever were Thom McAn shoe stores, but they were everywhere back in the day. When you were a kid who needed shoes, your parents took you to Thom McAn. It invariably meant a long, uncomfortable wait as you sat in the uncomfortable chairs and played with the intricate little shoe measurement devices laying about on the floor with your feet. You had your choice of about three different pairs of sneakers, none of them particularly impressive but guaranteed to last the year you would wear them before your feet grew and you needed a new pair. The last Thom McAn stores closed in 1996, but the brand survives - owned by Sears. Great move there, right? The location nearby is now occupied by a Payless Shoe Store - kids still need sneakers, right? The Al Bundy shoe salesmen of the world can feel safe, their jobs are still there if they want them.

Fulton Street at Jay Street in Brooklyn, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Jay Street at Fulton Street, September 2017 (Google Street View).
The John's Bargain Stores has been replaced by a hairdresser, while the Chock full o'Nuts is now a pawn shop. As the song goes, the little things of life go on, as time goes by.

I hope you enjoyed this entry in our continuing "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. This one really surprised me due to the eerie resemblance of this section of Fulton Street to the same spot in 1972, but there's something to be said for continuity and neighborhoods continuing to meet the needs of their inhabitants. Please visit some of the other pages in this series!

2019

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