Friday, March 07, 2008

Plans To Turn Fulton Street Into Fifth Avenue.....Back In The 1940's

Fulton Street, 1950

George H.Gray, president of the Brooklyn Real Estate Board, pointed out that the change will benefit all of Brooklyn "in that it will encourage the further development of a high-grade shopping center.
" Retail districts have proved helpful,"he said,"in other sections of the city, particularly along such a fine thoroughfare as Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, and they should produce beneficial results in this borough."

Turning Fulton Street into an elegant shopping destination has been tried before...back in the late 1940's, early 1950's. The unsightly elevated train structure had been removed shortly before that time and everything seemed possible. Zoning on the strip was changed
"prohibiting opening of other than high-class retail stores...There are a few spots in this great shopping area which have not yet yielded to the march of progress."
The picture above is from that era. I wonder if Lane Bryant, Ripley and the Waldorf Cafeteria shown in the photo were considered high-class.
Reading the New York Times article from 1948 is like reading news from 2008. 60 years have gone by and developers are still trying to figure out how to turn Fulton into Fifth, though these days, the latter has lost a bit of its luster, wouldn't you say?

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Anonymous said...

Fulton St was very much a fine shopping district when I was growing up (1950s, 60s). It was home to many deparment stores, among them Abraham & Straus and Martins. It was a wonderful variety and choice of retailers. The street's "downfall" began in the mid-late 70s. I'm not sure why, but it might have been NYC's dire financial straits during that time (i.e., famous Daily News front page headline: "[President] Ford to City: Drop Dead."

Anonymous said...

fulton street is the pits.... I would avoid it all costs...

Carol Gardens said...

I agree with the first poster. I've heard from my mom and other people who grew up in Brooklyn that yes, it was considered quite nice in the 50s. If you go into the Macy's now, you can see that the store was once a really snazzy department store with upscale deco style--back when it was A and S. Too bad it is so dumpy now and Macy's doesn't care about it. They put in ugly drop ceilings and stuff like that in the 70s (?) but the building could be restored to classiness it someone desired.