In neigborhoods there is always ongoing change occurring, whether of small or monumental proportions. This portion of the site will visually compare photographs taken as early as 1940 with a photograph of the same location in 2002. In this neighborhood, through the photographs below, you will see expansions, how a growing community utilized empty lots of land, and how structures have been changed and replaced. Below the pictures on the left are from the past and the pictures on the right are from present day.
In this comparison you are viewing a scene of 52nd Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Skillman Avenue, this shot is taken from the northwest, Skillman Avenue end of the block, in 1940. The first thing you may notice is that the cars are going the opposite direction, this is because this particular street use to be two way. This was changed because this area near Skillman Avenue is a particularly dangerous area involving speeding and accidents. The next thing you will notice is the how much the amount of space has decreased on the block since 1940. Now this can be attributed to camera angle, but also the amount of cars on the street has grown substantially since the 40's, and in the mid eighties planting of trees in this neighborhood began as a beautification tactic.
This scene is a view of from the corner of 52nd Street looking down 43rd Avenue, the southeast end of the block, also taken in 1940. Here you can see the two way street change, as in the above photograph, and how the building has changed. In the 1940 photo the building is a one story building housing a grill where food is served. In the 2002 photo there is still a restaurant contained here, now called Chanita Coffee Shop, and above the restaurant there are now apartments; you can see how every bit of space is being utilized in the present day.
This is a view down Skillman Avenue from 52nd Street facing east. You will notice that this street has also been changed from a two-way street to a one-way heading east. This change is due to the very high number of pedestrian and vehicle accidents, which led this street to acquire its nickname Killman Avenue. You will also notice that the light posts are different from the 40's, they changed from ornamental in design to a rigid metal plain look. One thing that stayed constant is the design of the building which has been preserved with no present day influence.
This photo is a view from 55th Street and 43rd Avenue where a park now stands in the present day, facing southeast. During and after war time in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods throughout the boroughs there were often parades and celebrations to promote morale, where they would bring in planes and tanks for display.
In this photo on the left is the view of an empty lot taken in May of 1943. This is located on what is now 52nd Street and 39th drive and houses The Berkeley Towers Coop. On the top of the photo from 1943 you can see the back of the apartments that line Skillman avenue. While Berkeley and the neighboring housing complex were being built this used to also serve as a hang out for the local kids to drink beer and sniff glue in the later years of the 50's. In the later years Lef Rak owned the complex right next to Berkelely, which also takes up what use to be this empty lot, which was abandoned during construction and also served as a hangout for kids.
This empty lot seen on the left hand side is what now is Windmuller park. The park runs from 52nd Street and 39th Drive up to 56th Street and 39 Drive, right next to Doughboy park. This park is now filled with many trees, chess tables, swings, jungle jims, swimming pool, sprinklers, a track, and a basketball court.
This photo shows a view down 56th Street looking towards Woodside Avenue, north, from Skillman Avenue, south. One change is the street light that stands on the corner, the ornamental style on the left as opposed to the rigid plain style on the right. In the late 90's in some spots of the neighborhood, the city started replacing the metal plain style with the same style lamp post from the forties. Another difference, which may be hard to see, is the apartment building located on the east side, or left side, of the street in the newer photograph that does not appear in the older picture.
Here we is a view of Windmuller Park which is located on 39th Drive between 52nd and 54th Streets. This is lot is located directly across from the previous Berkeley Towers lot and adjacent to the P.S. 11 lot.
This picture on the left is not as old as the the previous pictures but still serves as a tool for seeing how things have changed in this neighborhood. The left side was taken in the early eighties, it shows the playground for P.S. 11, located directly behind P.S. 11. Although, the view on the right is from a different angle you can see how there is very little playground left for the students because of expansion buildings built in the 90's to solve the overcrowding problem. In the picture on the right the picture was taken from the view you see on the left photograph.
This is also a view of Windmuller Park after it was built and what it now looks like today. One thing you will find missing in the older photograph is the basketball hoops, even though basketball was created in 1891. Also you will notice the absence of apartment buildings and trees located behind the park.
In this comparison the picture on the left was taken in the 70's and the picture on the right in 2002. On the left along the streets you can see telephone poles which lined the streets, but are now absent in present day retreating to underground. Also the store signs which used hang off the buildings now have been transformed in to overhang signs. Last, but not least the rigid metal street lights which replaced the ornamental lights from the forties on the left, have now in 2002 been replaced to replicate the ornamental lights of the forties.