Getting Lost in the New York Times Archives…

I know, it’s Friday, I should have another Writing in Transit post, but I’m having too much fun getting sucked into the black hole that is the New York Times Archives. Oops.

My graduate school, bless them, lets their alumni have full use of their archives as long as you contribute money to the alumni fund. If you donate $1 per year, you’re set. And I’m not sure if my love of history, vintage NYC and ephemera is as well documented as, say, my love of books, but it’s something I really enjoy getting lost in.

Also? I love a good mystery.

Yesterday one of my favorite blogs, Ephemeral New York, posted about some old New York phone exchanges, including one for an elevator company that went unnamed. Without a name, one can’t figure out if the “JU” in the phone number is for Manhattan or Queens.


The photo/phone number in question (via Ephemeral New York).

In the history of all of the world’s mysteries, this one isn’t particularly intriguing. But still, it’s unsolved. And I hadn’t taken a dive into any old newspaper archives recently either, so the hunt was on. Thank you, Baruch, for having access to New York Times archives from 1851 through the present day.

Many, many classified ads later, my search results haven’t given me the answer, but I’ll spend a little bit more time on it. I did find this gem though:


Brooklyn rental listings from January 1958.

My current neighborhood had spacious, five room apartments for $155 a month. How nice for them. I currently have 3 distinct rooms, one open space in between my bedroom and hallway, and a kitchen that two people can hardly stand in at the same time, and I pay…well, let’s just say I pay a lot more than that.

Whatever, I can’t be mad. Inflation, cost of living, blah blah. I can’t even be mad that Brooklyn Heights apartments were going for $110! I hope those apartments went to some good folks.

Isn’t perusing this stuff a great way to pass the time? No? Yeah, I know, I guess I have some strange hobbies.


One thought on “Getting Lost in the New York Times Archives…

  1. I recently became fascinated with abandoned train stations so I totally get what you mean! Thinking about NYC in the past is almost like thinking about another world!

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