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Changing New York

Oct 3

In history at 10:24am

Been rattling around the city quite a bit of late, and made a quick snap of what I presume is electronic sign maintenance at the north end of Times Square. TS has always been a whirlygig of light, but what it was, back in the 70’s, when I first moved into the Big Apple, was positively quaint compared to what’s out there now. Comparatively, it could have been the equivalent of an old movie marquee on a otherwise darkened main street in a small town somewhere, as opposed to the computer driven maelstrom of neon, LED, tungsten, merc vapor, and what-have-you sources of illumination that are out there now. There’s a tidal wave of wattage in Times Square, flaring across the masses, who respond with pinpricks of point and shoot flash in return. Those little flashes basically light the air five feet in front of the lens, but hey, in New York, that could be interesting air, and worthy of a flash solution.

A far cry from the first time I climbed the Coke signage at the upper reaches of the Square years ago.

As I said, quaint, right? Every bulb had to be changed by hand…..more tk…

dan brien says:

on October 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

No kidding – Look behind him: what’s a “cassette”? What’s a “typewriter”?

Simon says:

on October 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

Love the ads in the background, ‘Stereo Cassette Systems’ & Electronic Office Typewriter”! Very quaint.

Armando says:

on October 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

cool post and nice insight!

Chris Diset says:

on October 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

Thanks Joe, your images are far from quaint. I’m glad your archive is deep enough to share the not so distant past with us and contrast it with the dynamic, now.

Bill Bogle, Jr. says:

on October 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

Yeah Joe, and we listened to cassettes on our Aiwa tape deck and typed on our electric typewriters. Did you light this one with flashpowder?

Got to dig out a shot of you at the Eddie Adams Barnstorm. Think it was II or III. Good chuckle.

All the best.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Jerry Ann says:

on October 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

When I see pictures of Times Square I hear the voice of the Grinch in my head… “all the noise noise noise noise!” Amazing to see how times have changed.

Darren says:

on October 4, 2011 at 6:09 am

I love this post, Joe. I’ve been thinking about this topic quite a bit lately (nostalgia for what was) and have been trying to savor the “now”, knowing that in 20-30 years, we’ll be looking back on it as being quaint as well.

Kim says:

on October 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

I saw Times Square for the first time in 2006. I remember telling my husband who was not with me on the trip that it was like daylight in the middle of the night. Crazy brightness! I love the picture you included at the bottom – changing the lightbulbs by hand. My how times have changed.

Yugo says:

on October 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

Must’ve been a bear trying to predict exposure on film with so many bright light sources in frame! What’s the red stuff on the bulb to the right? Some kind of wax-based coloring for the light bulb?

Prentice says:

on October 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Jeez Joe, The old picture is advertising typewriters! Did Abe Lincoln help you up there? Great perspective, love this post.

JeremyGordon says:

on October 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Here’s a shot of them working on the Coca Cola sign at night

Spitz Blog says:

on November 3, 2011 at 7:56 am

Wow, that’s awesome! Thank you.

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