On the Street: York Beads and Manhattan History

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I don’t normally slow down when I pass the various bead and trimming stores in west Midtown, but this sign made me laugh. I can never resist a reference to New York City history.

I’m sure the real story is more complicated, but still — very clever.

Purchase-of-Manhattan(This post goes out to my friend Leslie—New Yorker, historian, and craftsperson extraordinaire.)

Images: photo by Tinsel Creation; detail of postcard (1909) from the Museum of the City of New York archives, reproduced here.

On the Street: The Plaza Hotel in Self-Camouflage

plaza hotel

A few days ago, I passed the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue. I did a double-take and then I took this picture. Look closely: on its front facade, the Plaza is wearing a cleverly fitted covering, designed and detailed to look like the building itself. Apparently the hotel is under construction; the side facing Central Park, visible at the right in this photo, has its own mesh-like cover to protect passersby from falling debris.

I don’t know what the view from inside the Plaza must be these days, with all this work going on, but the trompe l’oeil tarp is a nifty way to deal with the exterior.

On the Street: Midtown West

poets security

I was on my way to dinner with friends in Midtown when I saw this sign posted in the doorway of an office building. I laughed as I took the picture. What on earth is a “Poets’ Security Force”? Is this force composed of moonlighting poets? Or is it a team of security officers working to keep poets safe? Does the entrance exam require all applicants to compose or recite verse? Is there a uniform, perhaps something incorporating black turtlenecks?

So many questions.

Image: photo by Tinsel Creation, somewhere in the West Forties.