Saturday, January 19, 2008

Duane Street

June 1986

September 2007

One of a row of cast iron buildings built in 1920 on the south side of Duane Street between West Broadway and Church, probably built as factories and gradually evolving into low-end offices and warehousing over the years. Businesses like these were on their way out in the mid 1980's as the importing and purchasing power of the then various -Mart's began their rise.

This original scene could almost look like it was taken not too many years after the building opened, rather than the 1980's, which was when it actually was made. And for 21 years I had no idea exactly where in Manhattan this picture was taken, as I had completely forgotten, and the rest of the roll didn't give me much of a clue. Because of the signs, I thought it may be in the garment district, but judging from the other pictures on the contact sheet from that same day, it might be below Canal, or somewhere on the west side, near Hudson and Leonard. I finally found the answer while wandering around the Forgotten New York website, on the page dedicated to street and wall clocks. Towards the end of the piece was mention of this location on Duane Street at West Broadway. (Click on the link above and scroll to the bottom.)

The merchant's signs are gone now, the footwear manufacturers and wholesalers have walked away, and these six-story cast-iron fronted buildings are all residential today. I didn't note this particular building's address, but looking through the NYC building department website I see that most neighboring buildings seem to be full-floor apartments, others appear to be half-floor. Alas, the clock, though showing a different time than before, is still only right twice a day.

1 comment:

Sharon Kugler said...

Hey, don't I have a hand-colored print of that same store hanging on my refrigerator??...umm, no, now that I look, that's a photo of some antique store. I coulda sworn I have one of that shoe store though...