One of the crown jewels of Manhattan, the grand dame of New York City, is turning 100. We are talking, of course, about Grand Central Terminal. A century ago, on February 2, 1913 – after a decade of construction – the building that would revolutionize commuter train travel opened its doors.

There isn’t anything to say that hasn’t been said before about the building’s grandiose and tumultuous history. So, we offer something else to commemorate one of the most amazing buildings in the city: a 360 look at Grand Central. Part of a larger project photographing iconic landmarks in glorious 360 degrees, we teamed up with Shots 360 and photographer Thomas Erh, the man behind the lens of interactive 360ยบ panoramic photography, to document some of our favorite Old New York places.



Tenement Museum

One of our all time favorite places to experience Old New York is the Tenement Museum, where you can tour several restored tenement apartments and hear a bit about the families that lived there. Visitation is only permitted when accompanied by a tour guide and photos are strictly prohibited. Earlier this year, we gained access via a special Photo Call event, and here are some of the highlights.

The apartment of a dress-making family. 

More photos after the jump.


Block Drug Store | East Village

Before the era of pre-packaged medicine and inventive new illnesses (restless leg syndrome anyone?), doctors would prescribe compounds that a pharmacist would mix, in a sense custom making the medicines for each patient. In most cases, these days are long gone, however there are still a few places that do Compounding (in essence, mixing compounds to pre-determined specifications). 
Block Drugs, located at the corner of 6th Street and 2nd Avenue in the East Village, opened its doors back in 1885. Almost 80 years later, in 1962, Carmine Palermo Sr purchased half of the business. In 1974 his son, Carmine Palermo Jr began working there, too, becoming a partner 8 years later. 32 years after purchasing the business, Palermo Sr semi retired and his son took over the pharmacy.

Sadly we did not get permission to photograph inside the store. Perhaps thinking of Hollywood movie shoots, Mr. Palermo told us that permission to photograph would “cost a lot of money.”


Central Filing at BBDO NY

Recently I Love Old NY had the chance to take an exclusive tour of the legendary bar at BBDO, the ad agency. Guided by creative director Danilo Boer, we visited Central Filling, which has been in operation since “the old days” – it even served as inspiration for Mad Men. We had the pleasure of meeting Joe, the man behind the bar for the past 20 years. Joe, with his mustache, red vest and black bowtie looks exactly the part of the classic bartender – so much so that throughout the offices of the agency we caught glimpses of sketches and projects that were perhaps inspired by his persona. 

When the agency relocated from Madison Avenue to their current offices on 6th Ave, the original bar was taken apart, moved and reassembled at its new home. Comprised of old filing cabinets that don’t open and drawers with labels that spike the curiosity of the patrons, Central Filling is a membership club for all agency employees ranging from mail room staff to the executive team. It is also a popular place - when we visited at 7 pm on a Wednesday, the bar was full and the offices were empty. 
The Central Filling serves mostly products that represent the agency’s clientele, such as Pepsi, Guinness and Red Stripe. Beverages are paid for with tickets ranging in price form $1.25 to $2.50, prices that certainly contribute to the allure of yesteryear of the place. 

To the left corner of the bar, is a small plaque that reads “Reserved for Alphonse Normandia,” BBDO’s legendary art director and also one of its longest-serving employees, hired in 1944. 


Quality Fabric | Brooklyn

In a not too distant past, the garment industry in New York was thriving. These days, while some fabric stores still remain in midtown, some of the smaller outlets in the boroughs are disappearing. 

We were happy to find Quality Fabrics in Brooklyn, which we guess looks more or less like it always has: tin ceilings and bolts and bolts of fabrics. 
 And at $4 a yard, even the prices seem like a thing of the past.