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 360º panoramic photography, to document some of our favorite Old New York places.


Enjoy!

12.12.2011

Optimo Cigars M. Butterman Co. | East Harlem


In a not so distant past,  Harlem was filled with mom and pop shops,  since the chain stores stayed well below 96th street. At that time,  M. Futterman,  Inc thrived as a distributor of candy and cigarettes supplying the many local grocers and bodegas.

The business was started in the early 1900 by Bruce Futterman’s grandfather and grandmother. It operated across the street for many years,  moving to the current location at 1759 Madison Ave in the late 40s/early 50s where it has been there ever since – now in its third generation of wholesalers of candy and tobacco products.


When Mr. Futterman first started in the family business in the mid 80s,  a pack of smokes cost around $1.60. “The city killed the cigarette business” he says. We asked Mr. Futterman if he was a smoker. He said,  emphatically: “No,  I can’t afford it.”

According to Mr. Futterman,  the neighborhood changed tremendously once former President Clinton’s office opened on 125th st. “There is a lot of money put into the area,  fancy restaurants.”



The many layers of advertisements and signs throughout the shop are a virtual time capsule of its many years of operation.

Despite the restaurants and the waves of gentrification,  Mr. Futterman continues to hold on to his century-old business. And while smoking faces many restrictions,  sugar and candies are still fair game.