One of the last old-school bus shelters was ripped out, at 42 and Lex. Expect the Cemusa standard issue to replace the 1970s shelter. Check my Instagram or theretrologist.com for a photo of the old shelter, taken about a month ago. #nyc #streetfurniture #bus #transportation

One of the last old-school bus shelters was ripped out, at 42 and Lex. Expect the Cemusa standard issue to replace the 1970s shelter. Check my Instagram or theretrologist.com for a photo of the old shelter, taken about a month ago. #nyc #streetfurniture #bus #transportation

Before the hand and the man: A reminder of the city’s classic crosswalk signs

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Don’t Walk/Walk signs that actually spelled out the words started to fade from the streets of New York in 2000, and were mostly gone except for a few holdouts by 2003. (I spotted one in Central Park as late as September 2005.)

They were replaced by the internationally understand if depressingly bland hand/man combo, but goodness do I miss the old, written signs. I always look out for them when looking at photos and video of old New York street scenes.

If you look closely enough, you can spot reminders of the old signs hanging on to this day on city streets. 

Consider the one photographed here. I found it the other day on Park Avenue in the 80s, and it still displays the classic Don’t Walk/Walk images, and a quaint explanation of how to use the crosswalk signs. (Quaint in part because New Yorkers DO NOT listen to them, as anyone who has driven a car in midtown Manhattan knows.)

— Rolando Pujol 

Wonderful faded sign under the Chrysler Building for the Chrysler Building Arcade. It advertises a beauty salon, a barber shop, telephones, a restaurant and specialty shops. This would have been called a “concourse” had the Chrysler Building been constructed in the 1960s or 1970s. This survives where the arcade meets the Grand Central subway station. #nyc #architecture #transportation

Wonderful faded sign under the Chrysler Building for the Chrysler Building Arcade. It advertises a beauty salon, a barber shop, telephones, a restaurant and specialty shops. This would have been called a “concourse” had the Chrysler Building been constructed in the 1960s or 1970s. This survives where the arcade meets the Grand Central subway station. #nyc #architecture #transportation

The Final Frontier: Explore the last wild stretch of the High Line before it’s turned into the final leg of the popular park

The city recently acquired the final stretch of the High Line, the portion that meanders between 30th and 34th streets. It will be developed into an extension of the park that begins in the Meatpacking District, and open possibly in 2014.

As it is now, this last stretch is a true thing of beauty. Left to me, I wouldn’t touch a thing, but then, I suppose, you couldn’t have hordes of people sauntering through in its present condition.

Here’s how I described the stretch after my visit during Open House New York last year:

From 30th to 34th streets, the High Line’s nothernmost fringe remains undeveloped, with industrial detritus mixing with flora that vary with the microclimates — you see shrubs, grasslands, flowers, evergreens, even a little “lake.” It’s an amazing sight, and was open to the public for Open House New York in October 2011. Enjoy these images, and begin to understand the remarkable melding of untended nature and neglected infrastructure — enhanced with stirring Manhattan vistas — that drew people to this elevated relic in the first place.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Click below to explore my Flickr set of 43 images. Should your browser not display the embed below, or if you’re checking on mobile, click HERE

Text and photos: Rolando Pujol

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