24 July 2008

Bleecker Street in Seedier Days

Here's a photo I purchased a while back of Bleecker Street, looking a lot sinister than it does today. Not sure what part of Bleecker it is, but I'm guessing it's the stretch right before it reaches the Bowery.

What really got me about the photo, however, was the enormous wall of ads for things like Trimble Whiskey and Nestle's Milk. And in particular the ad for the play "The Count of Monte Cristo," starring James O'Neill. The was Eugene O'Neill's father, a famous actor of great talent who frittered away his talent by riding the wildly popular "Count" vehicle into the ground for decades. The photo was taken in November 1900, when little Eugene was 12 years old, having been born in a hotel on Times Square in 1888. He wrote all about what he thought of his dad's career in "Long Day's Journey Into Night."


Ken Mac said...

Amazing post!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a book I enjoyed as a kid called "Mystery on Bleeker Street," (http://www.jacketflap.com/bookdetail.asp?bookid=0394944313 - it appears to be out of print) a novel published in 1980 that made Bleeker Street sound so sinister. It was not only a good book, but provided a glimpse into a world (New York City) so very different from my own (Dallas, Texas).

Proud NIMBY said...

"I'm guessing it's the stretch right before it reaches the Bowery."
Yes, that was my immediate thought, at Lafayette, before it was widened. The loft bldg to the east is still there and a two-story taxpayer is on the site of the wood bldg