Historic Skywalks in NYC (Again)

Page 1 of 2  

Hello all,
Several weeks ago I posted the following inquiry. 2 people were kind enough to write back asking to see the photo. I posted it and then no further response. Just in case that you all did not see my 2nd post, here goes again:
I am trying to locate info on skywalks (building to building pedestrian bridges) in New York City. I have an old family photograph taken in NYC. In the background is a skywalk. I was hoping to use this feature to determine exactly where this photo was taken. The photo is probably from the mid to late 1940's, so this particular skywalk may or may not still exist, hence the historic reference. (I would also like to accurately date the photo. Perhaps someone who know cars and trucks can do so by the vehicles in the lower center of the photo.) Any leads would be of help.
To view photo:
http://picasaweb.google.com/KKPhotos17/HistoricPhoto?authkey=tl6lXBhOAcg#5249656249733138546
Thanks Again, Larry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Can't help, but I'm going to cross-post this to alt.fan.cecil-adams, 'cause there are some people over there who are the sort who might be able to help with this kind of thing.
(OK, afcans - can ya' help? This was posted in alt.architecture)
-------------------------------

TinyUrl for photo: http://tinyurl.com/4xh3p8
--
Cheers, Harvey
Architectural and topographical historian
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 06 Oct 2008, HVS wrote

Scrap that; doesn't work as a tinyurl. Sorry.
--
Cheers,
Harvey
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your tinyurl is broken. Try http://tinyurl.com/4dtlrr
I can't see the cars too well, but I'm going to guess '40s', based on the general shapes. I'll try to do some image-doctoring and see if I can't get a better look.
Sadly, I dunno shit about New York, so somebody else can help with that.
--
Huey

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It looks like the 20's to me, based on the boxy car, its skinny engine and wide fenders. (using microsoft magnifier in accessories)
Don
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 6 Oct 2008, Don K wrote:

By squinting, I see circa 1930 trucks with long edge-shaped hoods. Of course, I could be wrong. I can't find anything to back my hunch up but I want to say that it is 43rd St, west of Madison, looking east. Note the short block on the left. By squinting really really hard I think I can just make out the Chrysler building above the window washer's left shoulder. Too, there's not that many Manhattan streets that dead-end like that.
Fun.
--
"I have never yet encountered a semi-trailer in my bathroom." Jen puts a
bright face on the state of the transit system in AFC-A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The skinny engines are on the trucks, which presumably last longer than urban-dweller cars (beaters head out of town to low-rent districts)
The car right "above" the near walkway is a smooth torpedo back. Were those done before the war at all? It looks something like the following, but with perhaps a longer hood. http://www.lowridermagazine.com/features/0802_lrmp_cho_low_1948_chevrolet_fleetline/photo_02.html
Does the third car above the walkway look like
http://www.goldenageautoclub.com/images/48chevcoupe.JPG
I know very little about old cars, but I don't see these as Don does. The two examples above were found by a google search for 1948 chev.
But I'm astonished at the number of walkways compared to what you see in modern cities. You see a lot of second storey walkways but very seldom anything higher. The skyway between the Petronas Towers is an oddity in today's world. But in this view, we have an 18th storey walkway in the middle background, a five-storey walkway atop a two or three storey building, and a two storey walk in the foreground. All of this in a two-walk view.
Is the disappearance of walkways related to an increased "flex" in steel-framed buildings? Due to faster elevators that make it more practical to walk across at ground (or sub-ground walkways) than "at altitude"? Increased security issues that led to reduced access points? To the sheer acreage of modern towers -- if you have an acre on each floor, then you're not renting anything across the street to link to? To faxes and networking so that you don't need to walk a note over as often?
--
Tomorrow is today already.
Greg Goss, 1989-01-27
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

two block view. Many more than two walks.
--
Tomorrow is today already.
Greg Goss, 1989-01-27
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Goss writes:

If you live in Calgary, you do, or some other city where they've made it common practice to connect unrelated buildings above ground. Other cities mostly do it underground (as here) and still others not at all.
Wikipedia has articles on "skyway" and "underground city", which looked rather cobbled-together the last time I looked at them.

Certainly true.

Objection, assumes facts not in evidence. I think these walkways were unusual at the time and this is why the photo was taken. I certainly don't remember seeing that sort of thing in old photos of New York that I've seen.

If there is a real phenomenon to explain, I suggest the fourth of these five suggestions makes sense. The presence of a large number of walkways suggests that one corporate owner needed more space and found it easiest to expand into a series of buildings, including some across the street. (Of course, this theory may be shot down if someone can identify the buildings.) If the company continued to exist, likely they would eventually move to a single new larger building.
--
Mark Brader | "...there are lots of things that I don\'t remember,
Toronto | but if you ask for an example, I can\'t remember any."
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
on Tue, 07 Oct 2008 08:41:21 -0500:

Really? I think the reason is the window-cleaner.

--
Nick Spalding

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I agree. Look at the window closer to the front of the photos. You can see the wet footprints.
Boron

I don't think walkways were that uncommon. My high school building (8 stories) was connected to another high school building that way. The walkway was put in after WW1 as a memorial.
I also remember several other building walkways in downtown Detroit in the 50s and 60s. The was also one connecting an old to new hospital building not far from my parents' house.
Boron
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 07 Oct 2008 10:26:35 -0400, Boron Elgar

Just in case anyone wants to look at them, both old and new...
http://www.cambridge2000.com/cambridge2000/html/0004/P4240769.html
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_3r-6kwZAPVk/R_YrFEVY8GI/AAAAAAAAASc/fwGS8JDFFNM/P1140798.JPG
http://home.clara.net/reedhome/oxford/graphics/one/bridge_of_sighs_east.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/138/352453803_d95428464a.jpg
http://static.flickr.com/83/254068462_6dc3157aa9_o.jpg
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_Gspm9gWUmJU/R3f6yPIDDUI/AAAAAAAACFw/bJN7Vj5XOWI/fastwaytopassthroughbuildings.jpg
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_yats8WIlcIc/SK3WKT2hdlI/AAAAAAAABDw/eeCx5Pqhp0Q/DSC02054.JPG
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_IH8-FopIRg0/RsimLXWdVLI/AAAAAAAABoE/SNEdkr-c2EE/DSCF1006.jpg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 7 Oct 2008, Boron Elgar wrote:

Not NYC, but elevated walkways between buildings were certainly not uncommon in circa 1900 industral buildings in New England.
--
"I have never yet encountered a semi-trailer in my bathroom." Jen puts a
bright face on the state of the transit system in AFC-A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Providing a way to enclose pedestrians moving between buildings at +1 floor from ground level or one floor underground, allows traffic and pedestrians to cross easily while keeping the cars outside and the pedestrians indoors. I see a high walkway (you had a few of those) to be quite different for some reason from one as close to ground as practical while still separate from traffic (most of your examples).
Another famous modern "walkway" would be the "Grand Arche" at La Defense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Arche
--
Tomorrow is today already.
Greg Goss, 1989-01-27
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@vex.net (Mark Brader) wrote:

Wiki on downtown Calgary's walkways:
The Plus 15 or +15 Skyway network in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the world's most extensive pedestrian skywalk system with a total length of 16 kilometers (10 mi) and 59 bridges.[1] The system is so named because the skywalks are approximately 15 feet (approximately 5 metres) above street level. (Some Plus 15 skywalks are dual-level, with higher levels being referred to as +30's and +45's.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2B15
They were starting to be built in the early 1970s when I still lived there. There was a big building boom on at the time. There usually is in Calgary, but in this one, they tore down many of the one-to-four-storey buildings that comprised much of the downtown when it was a commercial and financial centre for surrounding ranching and farming communities.
Many office towers were under construction at the same time, and with some regulatory guidance from city hall, a lot of the walkways were designed in to the projects. The reasons were convenience year-round, and not having to go outside when it's 40 below.
--
bill
remove my country for e-mail
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

http://www.lowridermagazine.com/features/0802_lrmp_cho_low_1948_chevrolet_fleetline/photo_02.html
Probably the developement and/or popularization of elevators made walkways to a large part unneded. Other than that, my WAGs agree with you (possibly not so WA)Gs.
--
-eben snipped-for-privacy@vTerYizUonI.nOetP royalty.mine.nu:81
LIBRA: A big promotion is just around the corner for someone
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 7 Oct 2008, Hactar wrote:

[...]
It turns out that there were a surprising number of elevators in New York by the time period of the photo above. See: <http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.theelevatormuseum.org/timeline.htm
1922 "the Edison Company change the current in New York City from two-phase DC to three-phase AC, generating thousands of elevator changeovers."
In 1870 the 9-storey Equitable Life Assurance Society building was then the tallest in New York and the "first to have passenger elevators specifically designed by the architect for office building use", so elevators in NYC go back a bit further than I'd imagined.
It is my understanding that buildings in NYC that do not have elevators are limited to 5 stories. I couldn't easily find a cite to show when this rule was adopted.
--
"I have never yet encountered a semi-trailer in my bathroom." Jen puts a
bright face on the state of the transit system in AFC-A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.theelevatormuseum.org/timeline.htm
Yabbut what fraction of buildings did that represent?

When did Mr. Otis do his work? Ah, Wicked Foot to the rescue: "In 1853, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator". I still can't see when elevators became commonplace enough that architects didn't consider people climbing stairs to be a limiting factor in building design.

My meatware says that's generally true everywhere (even without some law making it so), as people aren't -in general- willing to go up more than 4 floors above ground level on foot.
--
-eben snipped-for-privacy@vTerYizUonI.nOetP royalty.mine.nu:81
LIBRA: A big promotion is just around the corner for someone
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You've my memory to back that up. When Jane Jacobs pushed for low density scatter housing in the far West Village in the late 60sthe eventual design (and they are some of the ugliest buildings in a much, much lovelier part of the Village) was limited to 5 stories (didn't it used to be storeys?) to keep the costs from going up with elevator requirements.
I lived smack in the middle of the development area at that time.
Boron
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 7 Oct 2008, Greg Goss wrote:

[snip]
My guess would be the move of manufacturing out of the city. Those walkways could have been connecting the shirt-sewing room to the button sewing room.
--
"I have never yet encountered a semi-trailer in my bathroom." Jen puts a
bright face on the state of the transit system in AFC-A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.