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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Then and Now: Park Avenue at 48th Street, NYC

Park Avenue and 48th Street, New York City

Park Avenue and 48th Street in New York City randommusings.filminspector.com
New York City in 1980.
The above shot was taken in 1980 looking south from the northwest corner of Park Avenue and 48th Street. It shows a man heading south toward East 47th Street in a very barren and almost dystopian landscape. It is a very artistic shot which presents a feeling of claustrophobia, creating an almost prison-like atmosphere. The photographer's use of black and white was a marvelous choice which heightens the stark contrasts. It is a grim scene of a businessman pounding the pavement in a barren, dead world.

So... what does this scene look like now?

Park Avenue and 48th Street in New York City randommusings.filminspector.com

It turns out that the view hasn't changed very much in almost 40 years. The major alteration is the addition of a little raised garden area that includes a tree. For our limited purposes, this relatively minor change is most unfortunate because it completely blocks out our 1980 scene. While New York City's Park Avenue landscape really hasn't evolved much over the decades, time after time in this series we see the addition of trees to soften up the harsh landscape captured in the original 1980 photo. You have to admit that the tree and the related greenery sure do relieve the grim atmosphere that was captured in 1980. So, score one for the city planners!

Park Avenue and 48th Street in New York City randommusings.filminspector.com

The building on the right with the giant black pillars is Two Seventy Park Avenue. The building is unchanged, only the sidewalk in front of it has been modified over the decades.

Park Avenue and 48th Street in New York City randommusings.filminspector.com

The building we are facing on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and East 47th Street is 250 Park Avenue. Notice that it is easily identifiable by the huge stone pillar and the distinctive window area above the storefront. In 1980, the storefront housed a Marine Midland Bank. Today, or at least in October 2017 when the Google Street View car rolled by, it housed a People's United Bank. Yes, it is still a bank.

Park Avenue and 48th Street in New York City randommusings.filminspector.com

If we pull back a bit more, we get a better sense of exactly where we are. Just down Park Avenue to the south is the MetLife Building, which in 1980 would have been the Pan Am Building. Beyond that, of course, is Grand Central Terminal. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this example of our guiding principle in this series, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thanks for visiting, and check out our other offerings in the series!

2019

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