Monday, June 24, 2019

Then and Now: Howard Johnson's in Times Square

Howard Johnson's at Broadway and 46th in Times Square, Manhattan

Howard Johnson's in Times Square, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Howard Johnson's at Broadway and 46th Street in Times Square ca. 1970.
One of the continuing themes of this blog is the importance of neighborhood "joints." By that, I mean a local establishment that has no real status outside of its own neighborhood but still is iconic to those who live nearby. Such a joint was the Howard Johnson's in Times Square. After stumbling across the above picture, I decided to do a comparison of the Howard Johnson's location in Times Square from the 1960s to 2018.

Howard Johnson's in Times Square, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Photo of Howard Johnson's in Times Square by Bob Gruen, 1972.
A little research revealed that Howard Johnson's opened its Times Square location in 1955. It was not a particularly auspicious moment to open a family restaurant in Times Square. The area was right on the verge of descending from "crossroads of the world" to outright seediness. Times Square was always a free-wheeling place, but things changed dramatically in the 1960s. Not that there's anything particularly wrong about seediness if that is your thing, but Howard Johnson's and seediness went together about as well as a fish and a bicycle. And, Howard Johnson's knew something about fish, I really enjoyed the fried clams at the one near me. However, knowing about the other stuff - not so much. While I could go into a long dissertation about why Times Square changed from the 1950s to the 1960s and then back again in the late 1990s, that is a very tricky subject with a variety of nuanced reasons. Fortunately, in this blog, we are more concerned with what happened, not why it happened.

Broadway and 46th Street in Times Square, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The northeast of 46th Street and Broadway in Times Square in August 2014 (Google Street View).
The Howard Johnson's on Times Square was favored by photographers because of the contrasts it posed with its neighbors. Well, let's cut to the chase. The Howard Johnson's in Times Square was sold for over $100 million by longtime owner Kenneth Rubinstein to Jeff Sutton's Wharton Acquisitions in 2005. At that time, Howard Johnson's in Times Square was the oldest, continually operated business facing directly on Times Square. There actually had been three Howard Johnson's in the Times Square area right after World War II, that's how popular the chain was at that time. The one at 46th Street and Broadway survived on the tourist trade, as its homey atmosphere contrasted sharply with the increasingly decadent area surrounding it and seemed like a safe place to satisfy hunger pains. The downfall for this last Howard Johnson's was the dramatic rise in real estate prices as the seedy local enterprises were replaced by Madame Tussaud's, Disney, and other international brands. These places diverted tourist crowds to their own locales and patronage of the older places died away. The theater people who also could sustain an eatery on Times Square were never Howard Johnson's fans (aside from a few old-timers like Gene Hackman and Lily Tomlin who actually worked there at one time or another) due to its somewhat "square" image.

Broadway and 46th Street in Times Square, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The northeast corner of 46th Street at Broadway in October 2018 (Google Street View).
The business above the Howard Johnson's was the “Follies Burlesk,” a campy review which had taken over the circa-1917 Orpheum Dance Palace during the 1960s. It closed in 1976 and was replaced that year by the "Gaiety Male Burlesk," advertising “six boys five times a day.” The Burlesk closed in 2005 after thirty years in business shortly before the Howard Johnson's. One can point to the building's sale as the culminating reason why the businesses there closed, but the neighborhood was changing and leaving them behind anyway. So, their demise was only a matter of time that just happened to take place in 2005. It is perhaps unnecessary to point out that there are no longer any "Burlesks" in Times Square, as the entire area has become more family-friendly. In fact, even such places over on Eighth Avenue are gone or at least completely repurposed in a very family-friendly way. The times have changed, and Times Square has changed with them.

Broadway and 46th Street in Times Square, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The northeast corner of 46th Street at Broadway in October 2018 (Google Street View).
Now, the street-level space at the northeast corner of Broadway and 46th Street is occupied by a clothing store. Above it can be seen formless modern advertising signs composed of the sorts of flashing images that now define Times Square. The area in front of the location has become a pedestrian mall. It is all very bland and tourist-friendly, inoffensive and innocuous. While the seedy businesses thrived in a turbulent era, now overwhelming commercialism has taken over. In a sense, Times Square has returned to its roots as a crossroads of the world, when the world is defined as selling people products made by global brands.

I hope you enjoyed this entry in my "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. Please visit some of the other pages in the series to see how neighborhoods have been transformed in large ways and small over the decades.

2019

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Then and Now: Empire Diner, NYC

Empire Diner at 10th Avenue and 22nd Street, Manhattan

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
Empire Diner at 22nd Street and 10th Avenue in the 1970s, as it appeared in Woody Allen's classic film "Manhattan" (1979) (Prod DB © United Artists).
I have mentioned the Empire Diner once or twice already in this series of articles, but when I saw the above picture, I decided to do a more formal write-up on it. The Empire Diner was built by the Fodero Dining Car Company in 1946 with an Art Deco style typical for the era (there were similar diners throughout upstate New York and elsewhere, the Empire Diner was hardly unique except for its location). It eventually went bankrupt. Unlike some other such New York City diners which were towed off to other cities, the Empire Finer was refurbished to its current splendor.

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
Empire Diner in the early 1980’s  (Larry Cultrera).
The original owners kept the Empire Diner until 1976 when it was remodeled (this turns out to be a theme with the diner, new owners remodeling it). It since has closed again (in 2010), reopened as the Highliner, closed again (in 2012), and reopened again (in January 2014) again under its original name and then apparently closed again in 2015 before reopening in November 2016. It's hard keeping up with all the openings and closings, to be honest, but it apparently is open as of this writing. I thought I could identify the exact date of the photo at the top from the "Walk/Don't Walk" sign on the street corner, but my research showed that they first appeared in February 1952 and were replaced from 2000-2004. Anyway, this is a comparison of the Empire Diner at 210 Tenth Avenue from the late 1970s to late 2017.

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
The Empire Diner in September 2017 (Google Street View).
As can be seen from the above photo from 2017, the basic layout of the Empire Diner hasn't changed that much. The building beyond still has the big "EAT" sign (though a little less prominent) and the shiny exterior has not been changed much. Personally, I preferred the old "EAT" style, but I'm not the one paying for it, so it's nice that there is still one there at all. There has been the addition of an outdoor seating area, giving the space a much more welcoming atmosphere. The traffic light pole remains, though the "Don't Walk" (or "Dont Walk" as they actually appeared) sign has been replaced with the more generic picture-symbol signs (tourists apparently didn't understand the old signs and kept getting run over). There also is the notable addition of greenery, something that pops up in almost all of these comparisons. A few trees and vines and so forth go a great way toward softening the angular harshness evident in old New York City photos such as the one at the top of this article.

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
The Empire Diner in September 2017 (Google Street View).
A slightly different angle shows the addition of a large mural at some point in the intervening years. This is entirely fitting given the Empire Diner's neighborhood status as an artist hangout (the area has become favored by artists in recent years). I remember stopping by the Empire Diner in the early 1990s when a friend worked there. It looked exactly as you would expect, the long counter with stools and a cooking area directly behind. There was a neighborhood effort to get both the exterior and interior Landmark status which fizzled. The interior since has been completely reworked by Nemaworkshop’s Anurag Nema with very, you know, tasteful tables and chairs. I mean, I liked the old vinyl and other mid-century touches, but times change and it's a wonder the Empire Diner has survived in any incarnation, much less one that retains at least the classic exterior.

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
The Empire Diner in 2009, showing the statue of the Empire State Building shortly before it was removed. The diner had fallen into decrepitude by this time.
A kitschy stylized statue of the Empire State Building on the diner's corner added to its historic feel (those sorts of statues were very common tourist souvenirs once upon a time). The statue was removed in 2010 when ownership changed (leading to wild rumors that the entire site was about to be demolished) and has not been replaced. Current ownership apparently is going for a more modern chic look. Attempts to capitalize on the conversion of the High Line railway line, which is only a couple of blocks away into a tourist attraction haven't been too successful, though the few tourists that do wander over may be the only reason the Empire Diner still exists at all. I am familiar with the area and the problem isn't the diner or the design or anything like that, it simply is that there isn't a lot of foot traffic on that part of 10th Avenue. All of the tourist spots are blocks away. As they say in real estate, the only three things that matter are location, location, and location. On the flip side, if that area of Chelsea were more popular, it probably would have been completely gentrified over the years, property values would have gone through the roof, and the Empire Diner would be long gone. So, there is good and bad in everything.

Empire Diner randommusings.filminspector.com
The Empire Diner has appeared in several films throughout the years. This is its appearance in "Home Alone 2" (1992) (TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX).
Anyway, there obviously is a lot of affection throughout the community for the Empire Diner. It has had its ups and downs over the years, but it is still there, and that ain't beanbag. Hopefully, you enjoyed this entry in our "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. I hope you have a chance to visit some of the other pages in this series in which we look at iconic and not-so-iconic spots in the city and see how they have changed over the years.

2019

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

Friday, June 21, 2019

Then and Now: Columbus Circle, NYC

Columbus Circle, NY

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
Columbus Circle, NYC, in the 1970s. I think this gritty, dirty photo is an absolutely perfect way to sum up the state of Columbus Circle in the 1970s. The whole area had become an eyesore.
If you are driving to New York City from anywhere else, you will regular road signs giving you the distance to the city. So, you'll be 200 miles away, then 175, and so forth. Those distances are measured not from the outskirts of New York City, but from one specific location: Columbus Circle. Literally the heart of New York City (at least according to the federal government, Google uses City Hall), Columbus Circle also for a long time was extremely neglected. It had a huge, drab convention center behind it, the monument to Columbus, and a lot of cars whizzing by going somewhere else. Seeing the above photo from the 1970s of Columbus Circle looking toward the East gave me the idea of seeing how it looks now. So, this is a comparison of Columbus Circle from the 1970s to 2018.

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
Columbus Circle in November 2017 (Google Street View).
Columbus Circle has retained its essential elements such as the monument, but otherwise is a drastically different place than it was in the 1970s. The circle was renovated in the 1990s and then between 2003 and 2005 to separate the monument from traffic with a much larger traffic island and an array of fountains. The new park has won awards and has made Columbus Circle a destination rather than something to just drive around, as can be seen in the 1970s photo above.

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
Columbus Circle in 1921 (Library of Congress).
The area to the west of Columbus Circle has seen huge changes over the years, too. In the early 20th Century, all that was there was the monument, and traffic just drove right by it. At a time with less traffic and more foot traffic, this worked fine. There was a massive - for the time - building near the monument which helped to create a defined space for the monument and corraled the traffic flow into an actual circle.

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
Columbus Circle ca. 1990. The New York Coliseum is in the center of the photo. This clearly shows how traffic simply drove by the Christopher Columbus monument and how difficult it was to even get to it.
Unfortunately, in the 1950s they tore down the area behind Columbus Circle and erected the New York Coliseum, a convention center. While a perfectly functional building (they held the annual Boat Show there), the Coliseum provided an unimpressive backdrop to the area. It also blocked access from the west, an odd choice to make, and made the area into a dead zone when there wasn't anything going on in the Coliseum (which was the vast majority of the time). The area looked almost abandoned during the day and the area in front of the Coliseum like an abandoned car lot. There literally was nothing to do there during the day - no shopping, no eateries, nowhere to sit. Well, nothing to do unless you were homeless, that is, as a lot of them camped out there. It was a strange way to treat the heart of your city. The opening of the Jacob Javits Center on the West Side in 1986 removed that last shred of usefulness for the Coliseum, The Coliseum's owner, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), knew the Coliseum was becoming a problem and put the Coliseum on the market in 1984. It took well over a decade to sell due to issues in the New York City real estate market (such as the usual community opposition to various plans which reduced the site's value to some developers). Some bidders dropped out because the city seemed half-hearted about actually doing something about the site.

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
Columbus Circle in 2018, looking west.
Finally, in 1998, the MTA sold the Coliseum to a joint venture of Time Warner and The Related Companies for $345 million. The Coliseum was demolished in 2000 and the Time Warner Center went up in its place. This undeniably was a huge improvement from an aesthetic point of view. Now, Columbus Circle is a destination again where people live and work and you can shop and eat and relax. Development nearby on Central Park South also has been energized. While the basic layout of the monument, the nearby entrance to Central Park, and nearby buildings remains intact, the meaning and usefulness of the area have been transformed. It was sort of addition by subtraction, and then some addition by addition by the replacement of a crumbling eyesore with buildings that enhanced the location rather than detracted from it.

Columbus Circle then and now randommusings.filminspector.com
The Christopher Columbus monument once again seems to fit it into surroundings (Google Street View).
I hope you enjoyed this entry in my "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Please visit some of my other entries in this series, where we explore the gradual evolution of a city from small decisions made over time.

2019

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Then and Now: Broadway at 75th Street, NYC

Pandemonium at Broadway and 75th Street, Manhattan

Broadway at 75th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets, NYC, in the 1980s.
Let's look at one particular block on the Upper West Side and see if that can tell us any larger truths about the city and society at large. Shown in the above picture are Citarella (on the corner), Pandemonium, and Fairway (just visible on the left). Also visible is a liquor store on the far corner. Pandemonium was (and is) a specialty boutique for women's clothing. Citarella was (and is) a gourmet market. Fairway Market was (and is) a grocery chain. All at one time or another have occupied space on the same block on Broadway. Since I came across the above photo from the 1980s showing all three stores, I wondered what had happened there during the subsequent three decades. So, this is a comparison of the east side of Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets from the 1980s to 2017.

Broadway at 75th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets, NYC, in November 2017 (Google Street View).
Checking back in 30 years later, we find that not much has changed. Citarella, at 2135 Broadway on the southwest corner of Broadway and West 75th Street, is still there. It took over the Pandemonium space in 1993. It appears to be doing well, with a much classier facade these days. Fairway Market (founded in the early 1930s), which is just visible in the 1980s photo on the left, is also still there and, in fact, has taken over the entire rest of the block. It is considered a "high-end produce shop," a category which has exploded in popularity in recent decades. Incidentally, Fairway has taken over a coffee shop and a Bingo Parlor ("Broadway Hall") on the southern end of the block since the original photo was taken.

Broadway at 75th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
While not very visible in the 1980s photograph, Fairway has expanded over the intervening decades and now dominates the block on the west side of Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets (Google Street View).
We notice from comparing the two photos that, in both, someone is bringing stock into Fairway (and also Citarella in the more recent photos, that is a white Citarella truck parked out front on the right). Some things never change.

Broadway at 75th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets, NYC, in November 2017 (Google Street View).
Also visible in the 1980s photo in the background is The Astor at 235 West 75th Street, on the northwest corner of Broadway and 75th Street. The Astor is another of those venerable pre-war apartment buildings, having been built in 1901. It looks like nothing much has changed about it, buildings like that pretty much shrug off the passage of decades (given increasingly more expensive proper maintenance). If someone were standing in the same spot as the original photographer in the 1980s and were whisked forward to 2018, the scene would look pretty much the same.

Broadway at 75th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Northwest corner of Broadway at West 75th Street, Manhattan (Google Street View).
Zeroing in on the Astor gives a little more nuance to the changes in the area. In the 1980s photo, there was a liquor store on this corner ("Wines and Spirits"). In late 2017, however, there is a Lululemon store. Lululemon is a "High-end yoga-focused chain featuring stylish athletic wear & accessories (most offer free classes)." I think it is fair to say that Lululemon caters to a primarily female clientele and that women's athletic apparel has risen greatly in popularity. Circling around to the changes on the block just to the south, Pandemonium may be gone, but Lululemon has arrived. The basic needs of the community have not changed, there simply has been shuffling of the deck. Liquor stores are the odd man out, not women's clothing stores - they've fallen completely out of favor over the intervening decades. So, the changes on this one block of the Upper West Side shows how changes at the macro level filter down over time to the micro level.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this entry in my "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. Please visit some of my other pages where I compare the past with the present and see if that tells us anything about how cities change to meet the needs of their inhabitants.

2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Then and Now: Broadway and 91st Street, NYC

Broadway at 91st, Manhattan

Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The east side of Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, in 1977.
Some neighborhood joints really strike a chord with people in the neighborhood. One such joint was Chun Cha Fu Restaurant, located on the Upper West Side. Apparently, it served "authentic" Chinese food (there are many levels of Chinese food, from completely Americanized with Uncle Ben's Rice and canned peas to squid soup down in Chinatown, so how authentic it actually was, who knows). Those who visited Chun Cha Fu Restaurant noted its "brocaded interior," which probably involved a lot of vaguely Chinese statues and dim lighting. Anyway, I came across the above photo of Chun Cha Fu from 1977 and grew curious what the block looks like now. So, this is a comparison of Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets from 1977 to 2017.

Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The east side of Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, in late 2017 (Google Street View).
The first thing is to make sure that we have the right location because Chun Cha Fu and its neighbors are long gone. A little research revealed that Chun Cha Fu was at 2451 Broadway. There's no 2451 Broadway any longer, at least as a business street number, and now the storefront location is occupied by Carmine's Restaurant. We also can verify the location by the distinctive windows on the building (an apartment building at 2451-2459 Broadway), which was built in 1920.

Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The same block, the east side of Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, looking north from West 90th Street (Google Street View).
The red building beyond, also visible in the original photo, is Haroldon Court at 215 West 90th Street. Haroldon Court was built in 1922, so this block hasn't really changed much in the memory of anyone now living aside from the changing names on the storefronts. Of course, those names change all the time, and they're how people remember a neighborhood, so the fact that the buildings themselves haven't changed in four decades is almost a minor detail.

Broadway between 90th and 91st Streets, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
The old Chun Cha Fu location on the east side of Broadway between 90th and 91st Street, New York City (Google Street View).
So, Chun Cha Fu is gone and is replaced by an Italian restaurant. Sic transit gloria mundo. However, at least this space is still a restaurant, and otherwise, the landscape is pretty much intact. It may seem strange to find it remarkable to see buildings still there after only four decades for someone in London or Paris. However, while it may not be at all unique in the United States, it isn't all that common, either. New York City has a lot of continuity, even if the people and the restaurants come and go.

I hope you enjoyed this entry in my "the more things change, the more they stay the same" series. Please visit some of my other entries in the series as we see how old treasures turn into new friends.

2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Then and Now: Broadway at 48th Street, NYC

Broadway at 48th Street, Manhattan, NY

Broadway at 48th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Broadway at 48th Street, NYC, in 1975.
Anyone who is familiar with Manhattan knows that the Theater District is centered around Times Square. I came across the above picture from 1975 that shows a location on the fringes of Times Square and wondered what it might look like now, well over 40 years later. So, I did a comparison of Broadway at 48th Street from 1975 to 2018.

Broadway at 48th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Broadway at 48th Street in October 2018 (Google Street View).
It is well known that Times Square real estate is some of the priciest on earth. The best way to maximize its value would be to erect giant skyscrapers on every available plot of land. It definitely would not mean keeping decades-old four-story warehouses in place. However, New York City prevents the removal of many older buildings through a variety of tools which go under the general rubric of zoning. The wealth gets shared somewhat through the sale of air rights and other means, so the owners of the lower buildings aren't exactly on poverty row. The owner of the building on the northwest corner of Broadway and 48th (shown above) appears to have kept the old building in place, though it is heavily disguised by massive alterations. You can verify that it is the same location by the same white building (we'll get to that below) in the background on the right - and the same office building behind it. When we say that even the heart of Manhattan doesn't change that much over time, we mean it. There is a continuity even in this heart of capitalism that might surprise you.

Broadway at 48th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com Broadway at 48th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com

The photos, separated by almost 50 years, have so many similarities that it's almost creepy. Note that they both have a bus right outside the building. Not only can you compare the status of the buildings, but also the technology of buses in the two eras. It almost feels as if the more recent views are staged to correspond to the 1975 photo, but that's just how it is on that corner of the universe, whether it is 1975 or 2018.

Broadway at 49th Street, NYC, randommusings.filminspector.com
Northwest corner of Broadway and 49th Street (Google Street View).
Since we mentioned the white building in the background, let's take a look at it, too. If you are a true expert on Manhattan, of the "maven" class, you know that is the Brill Building. Anyway, obviously, the Brill Building is pretty much unchanged since 1975, though they are doing some work on it in this photo (the city requires periodic maintenance of facades so things don't start falling down on the tourists). Anyway, what fascinates about this 2018 view of the Brill Building is the red sign advertising the current production of the musical "Chicago." If you are also an expert on Broadway musicals, you would know that, while it is a 1926 play, it is best known for its adaptation into a stage musical by director and choreographer Bob Fosse in - 1975.

I hope you enjoyed this entry in my series on "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The similarities between 1975 and 2018 just ring out in this sequence of photos. Things really don't change that much in the Big Apple even though you might think that nothing stays the same. Please visit some of my other entries in this series to see more examples of this!

2019