metta saidPhotographs of everyday life in 1950s New York City discovered in an attic 45 years later
Thanks, those images from the 1950s made me remember some of those things, with a tinge of nostalgia. Here's just a few, in no particular order of importance:
The shoeshine stand is in front of a Horn & Hardart "Automat". A kind of cafeteria operated much like modern coin-op vending machines, but had whole walls of these little glass doors, each with a food item behind it. On the other side the compartments were open to a service corridor, where employees constantly refilled them from the kitchen. You then carried your selections on a tray to a table. Very quick & cheap for busy city people on a tight lunch schedule. Or just grab a sandwich to take with you.
My parents would take me to them when we were in New York, because some full-service restaurants were reluctant to seat kids, or had no children's items on the menu. You had to buy a full-size adult meal, that I might not want to eat, anyway. There were no fast food places, other than "greasy spoon" diners with counter stools where my mother wouldn't eat. In the Automat I could make my own selections by looking at the actual food items through the little glass doors myself, and only be given as much as I was likely to eat. A perfect solution for small kids.
The link to the full site better shows some city cabs on the streets. These had fairly large back seat areas, with room for extra jump seats that folded up against the back of the front seat and could accommodate me, while my parents rode in the fully cushioned bench seat by themselves. Some also had large glass roof panels, those models known as "Sky View" cabs. Fairly rare in cars of the early 1950s, and mainly used on city taxis so tourists could look up at the New York skyscrapers.
Those men standing on the sidewalk and looking at an AP News window are reading a moving teletype printout. The automated typewriter is at the bottom, and rollers at the top of the window keep the printed paper taut & moving. Must be tough for guys in the back to see, though.
When I did radio in the mid-1970s we had an AP teletype. For hourly news updates I'd do a "rip and read" from the paper all piling up in a box at the back of the printer stand. I'd scan this continuous scroll for urgent or interesting stories. Then I'd cut the paper with shears to extract the stories I wanted. Next I'd hand notate them, to make them more readable on the air from their original terse AP format. Speed was essential.
Finally I'd stack the separate sheets in the order I wanted to read them, and would review them once again before airtime. I knew my reading pace, but I always included a little filler so I wouldn't end the segment early. Nowadays it's done with computer printers, in those few stations that still read the news locally. The others use national news feeds.
My worst moment was when the teletype suddenly malfunctioned, and wasn't printing the last 5 characters of every line. I had to manually fill-in the blanks as best I could. Didn't have enough time, and had to go on the air and wing it. Not good.
Ah, the joys of the old technology. Many of the concepts of today's world were present in those old pics, but not yet in the computerized and digital format which most of you guys know as the norm. Fascinating to see my past, and wonder what the next iterations will be, and how much of it I'll survive to see. Because all the stuff we take as modern today, along with styles & fashions, will be as quaint & strange to guys of the future as these photos appear now.