From the furthest reaches of the internet comes this outstanding photograph, taken in 1956 in midtown Manhattan, New York City — Times Square to be specific. Drink in the details (click for a larger version), and then let’s talk about what’s on here.
Gorgeous, isn’t it? Of course there are vintage cars and clothes aplenty, but let’s focus on some of the other details instead. Here’s what I can pick out from this picture, starting from the upper left:
- Some kind of travel billboard, likely either for air or rail. This part is too blurry for me to tell anything else.
- Giant ad for the Western movie Jubal, which according to IMDB was released on April 6, 1956. The ad plays up co-star Ernest Borgnine, who had just received the Academy Award for Best Actor a few weeks earlier for his starring role in Marty. The film was playing here at the historic Loews Mayfair.
- Directly across W. 46th Street is the RKO Palace, now known as the Palace Theatre. For years the Palace was considered the premier venue for vaudeville in New York, and even at this late date you could still catch vaudeville shows there. I can’t make out the full name on the marquee, but it sure looks like it says Lloyd Bridges.
- On the left of the theater building is a giant sign for Sylvania bulbs, and on the right is a sign for Buitoni spaghetti (lo-starch and lo-calorie!).
- To the right of the RKO Palace is the Embassy Theater, showing both newsreels and more risque fare.
- There’s a fantastic Planters Peanuts sign that probably looked spectacular at night. Above that is a beauty school — Banford? Branford maybe?
- A large sign for the now-defunct Grand Union supermarket chain, and right under that a small sign for what I think is a Benhil clothing store.
If I’m off on any of this, feel free to correct me in the comments below.