Thursday, July 7, 2016

Those Places Thursday: 50 Years Ago in the Bronx

Fifty years ago, in the spring of 1966, this was what the Bronx looked like after a light dusting of snow, in a snapshot taken taken from the high ground of Paulding Avenue and the Esplanade. Thank you to Sis for rediscovering this photo!*

In the foreground is the subway stop known as Morris Park-Esplanade, one stop further into the Bronx from 180th Street on the Dyre Avenue subway line.

The street heading upward in the photo is Lydig Avenue, lined with attached homes and apartment buildings. Lydig Avenue held all manner of delis and bakeries, among other retail businesses. Walk up Lydig toward the top of this photo and within not too many blocks is White Plains Road, a main street where the elevated subway can be heard rumbling overhead.

Taking a subway to Manhattan from the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens was known as going "downtown."

*Even though the photo is dated May '66, it's clearly from earlier that spring. Once upon a time, in the last century, people used cameras and physical film. Nobody had a roll of film developed until every shot was taken. The film cost money, the developing cost money, each print cost money. So we often waited several months or more, snapping a photo here or there and waiting until after we used up all 24 or 36 shots. Then the roll was sent out for developing, either at a local drug store or by mail. Wait a brief week (7 days!) and the prints would be back, along with negatives. Remember negatives?


  1. Yes I do remember negatives! And I remember the disappointment of getting your pictures back and realizing the only photo you might have taken of a particular individual or event wasn't good. Now we can instantly see that and retake a photo.

    I often think of this process and the expense of pictures when I look at old pictures because I know that because of the time and expense, when we did take a picture, it was for a reason and that picture mattered.

  2. I love your description of the "old time" waiting for your film to be developed! Yes, I have plenty of snapshots from the 60s and 70s that are dated in a month that obviously doesn't correspond to the subject in the photo!

    And yes, I remember getting the photos back and looking through to see if they came out okay.

  3. Yes, I do remember film and negatives. I also remember when Kodak set up little drive-through shops about the size of a portable toilet like you see at fairs and sporting events; they didn't develop the film there -- you just dropped off and picked up. I remember being advised to save the negatives and keep them in our bank lock box in case of fire. I did that for awhile. We had a good laugh when my husband cleaned out our lock box recently.

  4. Thanks, folks, for your comments about remembering film and negatives! Agree with Michelle that photos were of people or places that mattered because of the expense...and with Elizabeth about waiting to see whether the photos came out OK (sometimes they didn't and it was too bad)...and with Wendy about keeping negatives forever (and they changed color too!). Digital is so so much better!

  5. I took over a thousand pictures on b&w and color film. I feel nostalgic towards film, but realize it was only a recording medium. We moved to the Bronx in 1965 and that's how it looked. Thanks for the look back!

  6. Charles, you must have had fun going through all your prints and digitizing as you reminisced! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

  7. Of course I remember film & negatives. You knew how many shot you had left on a roll and picked your photos carefully so you would not run out of film too soon. Then there was the wait for the film to be developed to find out if the photos came out.
    I once sent away a roll of film to be developed that was lost in the mail and I hd no photos of my cousin's wedding!

  8. Colleen, imagine waiting a week TODAY to find out whether the photos were in focus or had heads cut off? And how sad to have a roll of film lost in the mail! Not a worry these days. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!