Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A random now and then: 11th Street and Avenue B

1975!


Today!


[Top photo via Getty]

I had to blow up the 1975 photo a bit... it looks grainy... here's the original...

10 comments:

angela said...

so the red brick building on the far corner in the today shot is a "Ye Olde" newly built structure? (I havent been over there in a while). The proportions and windows are off-- but it looks fairly good in side view.
I cant tell whats happening on the avenue side-- it might be scary.

Anonymous said...

It was cloudier in the 70s.

Lisa said...

@angela - The brick building in the current photo was built, along with a number of others, in the early 1990s by Donald Cappocia, as affordable, middle-income housing; the apartments were sold in a lottery system, but a number were set aside for those already living in the EV who met the income guidelines. He tried to build to fit in with the surrounding buildings, and I think he did a decent job. The building in the 1975 photo burned in one of those 1970s landlord fires; I went into it once in 1980 to explore and it was the most surreal thing I ever saw - the fire had gone up the center of the building in what seemed to be a columnar form, burning everything in the middle but leaving the stairs against one wall and the edges of the apartments intact. So you could walk up the stairs and look across the hole and still see furniture, pictures on the walls, knickknacks. I still remember the fridge that melted from the heat and then re-formed after it cooled, it was this drooping metal mess. Wish I had brought a camera, but I did find some interesting stuff, including a group of 1920s-era family photographs of Polish Christmas and Easter celebrations that I still have. That got torn down in the late 1980s and the empty lot turned into a squatter camp for a while, then the Cappocia building went up.

Thanks for the memory, Grieve, nice to see Ae B they way it used to be. More trash-type garbage, less people-type garbage. I'll take the former any day.

BabyDave said...

Thank you, Lisa, for that tale of history and archaeology. I'm rarely on that corner, but now I'll take a look.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Lisa: Thanks for the NYC memories, fun to read!

I hope you do more of these, EV Grieve. In 1975 I was a junior in high school and New York seemed like such a faraway place to some kid in Peoria, Illinois. I loved reading about the city and looking at photos like this one.

angela said...

Lisa-- great history!! I remember going to a friend of a friend's on ave A in the mid '80s. We hung out on the fire escape then maybe went to the World? Maybe it was just the pyramid. I thot I was being so unbelieveably cool. ( I had a very sheltered upbringing!)

Goggla said...

@Lisa - thanks for the history. If you haven't already, you really should do a book or documentary about that time period.

Melanie said...

HEY...THE GOOD OLD DAYS!!!

OWR said...

Yes the good old days were cars burning, junkies nodding and people dying. Those were the good old days on Ave B, C and D that I remember.

Lisa said...

@OWR - So if there was NOTHING good about this neighborhood WHATSOEVER, then why the hell didn't you just leave? In those days there were plenty of cheap nabes in NY that were not so dangerous; why just spend decades hating on the EV and bitching about it every chance you get? Do you REALLY prefer it full of bland, narcissistic Nimrods and apartments and restaurants you'll never be able to afford to live or eat in unless you win Mega-Millions? Seriously?