Martin Munkacsi’s photos of a bustling midtown Manhattan were made along the west side of Fifth Avenue, and presented, perhaps in the order that they were made, as a walk uptown. This eight block walk is book-ended by two buildings that were designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931. (Therefore they were only a few years old when these photos were made.) Beginning at the Empire State Building, walking north past the Best & Co children’s clothing company, 372 Fifth Ave. and their National Recovery Administration (the short lived, 1933-35, New Deal Federal agency, “We Do Our Part”) member flags; past Singer sewing machines in the Singer store window at 396 Fifth Ave.; past a Dutch angled New York Public Library and 500 Fifth Ave. (a mini Empire State Building, designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon); past a crowd of mostly men in the middle of midtown at midday around the beautiful base of a flag pole, a monument to the short lived (anti-corruption and gun-carrying reformist) New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel (1879-1918); and ending at the corner of Fifth and 42nd, facing upper Manhattan. There’s little evidence of the Great Depression, when these photos were made the unemployment rate in the United States was at it’s highest, along fashionable Fifth Avenue.
These glass plate negatives were stored in this box:
Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Agfa glass plate negative box: New York Street Shots], ca. 1934 (2007.110.168)