New York, 1950s

Some photos of New York City taken by my father, found while scanning his collection of negatives. This is the city I knew as a child. Dad was not a great photographer, but was very enthusiastic, and did his own developing and printing. These pictures were taken between 1950 and around 1959, based on what the cars look like. All black & white photography Copyright 1950-2014 Old Wolf Enterprises.

Below: two views of 35 Carmine Street.

New York - Polichetti's Bakery

New York - Saltzman Tailor

History: No. 35 Carmine Street was constructed in 1877 by Bavarian-born brickmason and prolific tenement builder Peter Schaeffler, at a time when many of Greenwich Village‘s Federal and Greek Revival-style row houses were being replaced by tenements constructed to house the growing working-class and immigrant population. Featuring elements of the popular neo-Grec style in the design of the lintels, sills, and cornice, the building housed stores on the ground story and four families on each floor above. Built just prior to the 1879 tenement house law, the building had only two small square airshafts. Census data for 1880 shows that sixteen families resided at no. 35 Carmine Street, including three native-born families; first-generation immigrant families from Ireland (four), England (three), and Germany (one); and second-generation immigrant families from Ireland (two), England (one), Germany (one), and Scotland, via Canada (one). Residents were employed as a hatter, lawyer, watch case maker, bill collector and laundry worker, among other occupations. 1930 census records indicate that all fifteen families residing there were first-generation immigrant families from Italy. Residents held a variety of occupations, including bakery proprietor, cabinet maker, longshoreman, operator (men‘s clothing), and hat trimmer. By 1935, the number of apartments per floor had been reduced to two. City directories list the following commercial tenants: Experienced Hand Laundry (1950), A. Polichetti, baker, and Irving Saltzman, clothier (1959). The storefront had been occupied by a bakery in the early 1910s as well. In 1938 the western airshaft was enlarged and in 1939 architect Sidney Daub oversaw replacement of the existing storefronts; except for these changes, the building remains largely unchanged since its construction.  (Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, Designation Report, June 22, 1910)

35 Carmine Street

35 Carmine Street as of June 2011, Google Street View

New York 1950 - Milkman

Milkman for Sheffield Farms Co. with typical New York brownstone in the background.

New York 1950 1

45th Street and 5th Avenue, looking north. The Fred F. French building on the northeast corner.

45th Street North

The same view as of June 2011, Google Street View

New York 1950 1a

5th Avenue and 39th Street, looking north. A New York Public Library lion is visible on the left.

39th Street North

The same view as of June 2011, Google Street View

New York - Church

Our Lady of Pompeii, Carmine Street. This is my family’s parish; many blessed events have taken place here.

New York - Corner Scene\

Our Lady of Pompeii church on the corner of Carmine and Bleecker Street, looking northwest.

241 Bleecker Street

The same view as of 2014, Google Street View

New York - Bocce Court

Common street scene in Greenwich Village – the bocce court

New York - Brownstone

New York Brownstone

New York - Ferris Wheel


Local traveling carnival

New York Sweeper 5


Janitor caring for a small courtyard.

Joe Darkroom


Dad in his “darkroom.”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

13 responses to “New York, 1950s

  1. These are beautiful. Thanks for taking the time. They brought tears to my eyes (and years to my ties) especially the janitor and the street scene of bocce playing. This city always has belonged to the common man, the new immigrant, the one who works hard for a living. All my respects to your father for this treasure and seeing the world the way he did so we can share in it.

  2. Polichetti’s Bakery belonged to my mom’s Aunt Grace and Uncle Dan. As a kid, I loved to go there. It was a wonderful family business and the pizza that was ready each day at noon was the best pizza I ever tasted. Vina Byrne

  3. Wonderful photos, loved Polichetti’s bread and the pizza was the best. After swimming in the Carmine street pool we would head to the bakery but the pizza went fast! Thanks for sharing. Mary Jane

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  5. I just found your picture of 35 Carmine Street And would love to see more. I’m actually at 37 Carmine, and fell off my chair when I saw the corner of the paint store. Are there more of your Dad’s pictures? I think they’re actually great. Thanks for showing them

  6. Pingback: New York in the ’50s, Part II | Playing in the World Game

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