Keep looking down — you never know what you might find.
Several years ago FNY did a survey on the various pieces of Avenue A that still exist uptown, now renamed Asser Levy Place, Sutton Place and Sutton Place South, York Avenue and Pleasant Avenue, and pointed out a tangible remnant of that renaming, at Public School 158 on York Avenue between East 77th and 78th Streets.
Well, recently (May 2014) I had no choice but to look down when passing the school again, as the entire facade is hidden behind scaffolds. And I found a true anachronism — a boot scraper that looks as though it’s been there from the time the school opened in the 1910s, even stenciled with the school’s address.
I had thought that including boot scrapers outside buildings had died out after the introduction of macadam and later asphalt pavement, but it’s possible that Avenue A (renamed for WWI hero Sergeant Alvin York in 1918) was still unpaved when the school was built.