Friday, November 2, 2018

Then and Now: West 88th and Broadway, Manhattan

Then and Now: West 88th and Broadway, Manhattan

West 88th Street and Broadway
West 88th Street and Broadway, Manhattan, in 1971.

I came across the above photo of the Upper West Side of Manhattan and wondered what that particular street looked like today. It turns out that it is West 88th Street, so I compared West 88th Street at Broadway in 1971 and 2018. I took an image from Google Street View, which you may see below.

While the 1971 photo doesn't show much of the buildings, it is obvious that they are all or at least mostly the same in 2018 as they were in 1971. Everything, in fact, is almost eerily similar. The most striking difference is the addition of trees, which have been planted throughout Manhattan to great effect. That is one of the little things that residents may not fully appreciate, but the trees make a big difference in softening a stark cityscape. The real estate agents certainly understand this, as they are quick to point out views into "peacefully tree-lined streets" such as West 88th.

The awning in the 1971 photograph is to The Central at 250 West 88th St., which is described as a "beautiful boutique 60-unit, 8 story condo." The Central was built in 1910, so it already was a neighborhood institution in 1971. It wasn't condos in 1971 (it converted to condominiums in the 1990s), but the name is still the same, as you can see from the 1971 awning. The awning is missing in 2018, but that apparently is only because of the construction awning that is in place. Other buildings in the area do still have their traditional green awnings. It's that kind of neighborhood.

Overall, it doesn't look like things have either improved much or gone backward. They were doing some maintenance to the buildings on both sides of the street when the Google Street View car rolled by, and that's how you maintain that kind of continuity. The street looks like a well-worn shoe, comfortable and reliable. West 88th Street on the east side of Broadway is one of those blocks where, aside from some slight cosmetic changes, it is as if time stood still for the past 50 years.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by my "the more things change, the more things stay the same" site. We hope you enjoyed this comparison of 1971 and 2018.

West 88th Street and Broadway
West 88th Street and Broadway ca. 2018 (Google Street View).


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