Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If Time Were Money . . .

Originally S. Jarmulowsky's Bank Building
54-58 Canal Street
Architects: Rouse & Goldstone

. . . then Sender Jarmulowsky, the former pushcart peddler, would be very rich today. His grand symbol of capitalism lasted a lot longer than his bank, which was shuttered in 1917 amid rumors of fraud.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Manufactured Time

1513 First Avenue
at 79th Street

Notice the acorn on the casing? No oak tree will be growing from this bank's clock.

Manufacturers Hanover Trust
40 East 42nd Street at Madison Avenue

Perfectly utilitarian, which is more than we can say for Manufacturers Hanover Trust these days.

Manufacturers Hanover Trust
10th Avenue between 56th and 57th Street

This mantle clock always reminded me of the Seth Thomas clock my mother inherited from an uncle. Hers didn't have the barbed wire pigeon-detractor, but it didn't work either.

It's a Chemical Thing

Chemical Bank
275 Madison Avenue at 40th Street

A deco delight appropriately situated around the corner from the greatest deco edifice, The Chrysler Building.

Time to Save

When I was about six years old, I started a savings account at a local bank. In exchange for giving the bank my stack of quarters (of which I was extremely proud) I received a "piggy" bank in the shape of a clock with the words, TIME TO SAVE, etched on the front. Today a more updated logo would read: TIME TO SAVE OUR SAVINGS BANKS.

The following clocks all represent banks that are no longer in business, having been dissolved into larger institutions or simply having gone out of business.

Bankers Federal
130 Second Avenue at St. Marks

Bank Leumi
533 Seventh Avenue at 39th Street

This deco design was always a favorite, something straight out of a Bette Davis movie. Why ask for the moon when we have this gorgeous clock?

Bank Leumi
85 Delancy Street

Deco meets Classical meets Roman. Meets Broken.

Originally The Industrial Bank,
then National Westminster Bank
72 Second Avenue at 4th Street

Roaring eagles from the Roaring Twenties.

Originally Manhattan Savings Bank
(site of Wanamaker Department Store Annex)
770 Broadway at 9th Street

Too bad this space-age clock didn't make it into the 21st century.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Twilight Zone Time

Submitted for your approval: Four funeral parlors, all with broken clocks.

A. Provenza Lanza
43 Second Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets

Alexander Blasius & Son, Inc.
207 Avenue A

Maybe more than just the clock has stopped at this establishment.

Lynch Funeral Home
43-07 Queens Boulevard
(Queens!! Don't shoot me!)

The location of this broken clock always struck me as being wonderfully perfect. Adjacent to the entrance of 59th Street Bridge, it seemed to symbolize the moribund state of the county of Queens for me, and I always enjoyed watching it disappear in the rear view mirror as took the bridge into the definitely-not-daying city.

I recently took that route back into Manhattan and noticed, with mixed feelings, the funeral home's relatively new clock-less facade.. Maybe time doesn't stand still in Queens after all.

Hart-Davis Funeral Home Inc.
1879 Amsterdam Avenue

Years after Ed took this picture, I found myself teaching in this neighborhood in Harlem. Clocks aren't the only thing broken up there.

And On . . .

FAO Schwarz Toy Store
767 Fifth Avenue

This two-faced sidewalk clock isn't the only emporium's timepiece. As you enter on Fifth Avenue you are greeted by a 3-story clock tower and his continuous refrain of "Welcome to our World of Toys." If you've outgrown building blocks, perhaps you'd like to read about the history of the site in this interesting article in The City Review.

And On . . .

The Saratoga
(Apartment Building
First Avenue at 75th Street

The smart, classy version of the street clock 100 years later. Kudos to the architects, Schuman Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron.

Time Marches On . . .

Madison Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets
Housing created by Kenneth Lynch & Company
Clockworks by Rolex
Erected by Tishman Speyer Properties

With the introduction of cheap pocket watches and even cheaper wrist watches, the sidewalk clocks became an outdated and expensive way to tell time.

Now New York's few sidewalk clocks are merely decoration. Or advertisement.

Don't Forget

Fifth Avenue at 44th Street
Seth Thomas Clock Company

The Sherry-Netherland Hotel
E. Howard Clock Company

The last of the remaining sidewalk clocks. Hard to imagine in this digital age a time when these magnificent 15 feet structures -- and the hundreds like them -- were the main source of timekeeping for the city's population.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Speaking of Sidewalk Clocks

1510 Third Avenue
E. Howard Clock Company

I might not have remembered to check the sidewalk clock on my way work, however, I always enjoyed the giant pocket watch on the Upper East Side. The E. Howard Clock Company was the first to mass produce pocket watches in America, and, while this clock had its beginnings as an advertisement for a pawnshop (the three arms above the screw and fob ring held the three golden ball symbols now lost), this over-sized timepiece must have also served as an advertisement for the clockmaker too. It stood, originally at 79th Street, but was later moved uptown five blocks after suffering from a near-fatal automobile accident and a botched-robbery attempt. (I guess you can't really steal or kill time after all.)

A Better Idea

200 Fifth Avenue
Hecla Iron Works

would probably have been to look ACROSS the street to the magnificent sidewalk clock near 24th Street. This landmark post clock (referred to by some as a "lollipop" clock, fitting, I suppose since it sits in front of The International Toy Center Building) is the second clock at this site. Obviously, some people were smart enough to check a working timepiece before going to work in the morning.

This 1990 photograph (as all the others in this blog) was taken by Edward E. Stern. From 1988 until the birth of our daughter in 1992, we walked the streets of Manhattan, camera, notebook and Elliot Willensky and Norval White's AIA Guide to New York City in hand. Alas, this was pre-internet, pre-laptop days and some of my research has been lost (can I blame that on my now-teenager?), but the photographs -- 35mm and beautiful -- remain.

I Didn't Know What Time It Was . . .

935 Broadway
at 22nd Street

In 1979 I had my first "real" job as an editorial assistant at St. Martin's Press in the Flat Iron Building. Every day, I'd take the long subway ride down from my studio apartment on the Upper West Side. Emerging from the station, certain that I was late for work, I'd always check the clock directly behind my office. And every day, the clock read


And every day for a year, I'd check that clock. And yes, every day, for that year (and all the years until Restoration Hardware renovated the building and restored the clock) it remained broken.

But I continued to look. And love that clock.

This blog is dedicated to that, and all other, clocks (broken, abandoned, forgotten) of New York City. And a few that were loved enough to be saved.

A plug for Renovation Hardware, by the way. Thank you for refurbishing my first love.