Color Postcards of New York City In The 1950s
When you say the words “old New York” a monochrome picture may materialize within you. What is old? It depends how old you are. To many people under the age of 40, the 1950s is considered ancient. To modern eyes, the 1950s was a black and white world because most movies were still not made in color and television sets were black and white.
So when you see the old Kodak Kodachrome moments, the pre-1960 vibrant colors still deliver a wow effect.
1950s scenes around New York
Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village marks the beginning of Fifth Avenue. Looking north towards the Washington Arch and Fifth Avenue we see vehicular traffic permitted to pass through the park.
A nice view of Herald Square north from 31st Street. Gimbels department store is on the left with Saks Department Store (green awning) on the next block. On the right in the foreground you can see a portion of the Martinique Hotel’s large neon sign.
Looking north and west at the crossroads of Herald Square looms Macy’s Department Store on the corner of 34th Street where Broadway meets Sixth Avenue. The holdout building with the large Macy’s ad covering it contains a now vanished New York institution – a Nedick’s hot dog restaurant. On the left is the entrance for Saks 34th Street Department store. This area is always crowded and still one of the busiest shopping corridors in the country.
Our final view is taken from 51st Street looking south down Park Avenue. In the foreground notice the two color traffic signal similar to the one in the view of Washington Square. On the left the building with the flags is the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The large tower in the center of the street is the New York Central Building headquarters of a once great railroad company. Today this view is completely different, as a result of the Central Building now dwarfed by the bulky 59 story Metropolitan Life Building. (Built in 1963 as the Pan Am Building.)