by Laura Matiz
I enjoy looking at films or photos that depict well-known New York buildings or structures in an earlier time. Not long ago, I ran into the Guggenheim Museum's posting by Francine Snyder on their opening day film, "Building and Crowds," shot on October 21, 1959. I posted on Twitter a link to the film noting some of the obvious changes.
Soon after that tweet, I happened to be in the park near the Guggenheim Museum and I took the opportunity to take some photos matching scenes from the film. I selected these two sets of pics to share: one from Fifth Avenue looking down 89th Street and one from 88th Street.
The 1959 film was shot on a beautiful fall day. There's even a stylish 1950s convertible driving north in the 88th Street frame. There are some notable differences from 1959: two-way traffic on Fifth Avenue, green and white New York City buses, and few lampposts and street signs. In 1959, the museum tower on the 89th Street side did not exist. (A tower was added in 1968 over the garage entrance, constructed by William Wesley Peters, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law. That was replaced by the current tower in 1992.) Another difference is that the trees were mostly bare on October 21, 1959. Today, with photos taken a week later in October, the trees are still full and mostly green.