This scene depicts Dey Street looking toward Broadway about the year 1979 or 1980. The “Train to the Plane” logo is a giveaway because that so-called super express service from Midtown to JFK Airport (with a bus connection) began in 1979 and ran about four years until it folded for lack of patronage. Fares were higher for the line, which basically followed the A train but with fewer stops. Of course, how “express” it was depended on train congestion.
Today, Dey Street runs for just one block, between Broadway and Church. Before 1969 or so, it ran all the way to West Street on the waterfront, but when the old World Trade Center was constructed from 1969-1974, with Dey and Cortlandt Streets reduced to one block. The street follows a lane through Dirck Theunis Dey’s 17th Century farm. Today, the one block has just one address of its own, #5-7 Dey Street, but otherwise contains side entrances for the massive Century 21 store on Church Street and the former AT&T Building at 195 Broadway.
Looking directly ahead on Broadway we see a building on the east side of Broadway containing the Brew Burger and Joe’s Chinatown Restaurants. To its right is the Romanesque Corbin Building, designed by Francis H. Kimball and built from 1888-1889 in a brick, brownstone and terra cotta finish. Most of it faces John Street with only a thin strip on Broadway. It was built for financier and railroad builder Austin Corbin, who had extended rail service in Brooklyn to his lavish oceanfront properties in Manhattan Beach (to which he wanted non-Anglo-Saxons excluded). The bay windows facing Broadway are prominent in the photo, which appears courtesy of the Facebook group New York’s Railroads, Subways & Trolleys Past & Present and was taken by Frank Florianz.
The subway entrance features signage that was up to date for 1979. The indicator globes feature the MTA logo used at this time. Within a couple of years, these would be replaced by red or green globes indicating whether the station was open 24/7 or not. On the right is the entrance to 189 Broadway, a building demolished in 2008.
The Google Street View truck in 2014 can’t match the exact angle of the 1979 photo. I would have had to go there and set up on the sidewalk for that. Also, a big Fed Ex truck was parked there, so the view is compromised somewhat. As you can see only the Corbin Building remains. Beginning in 2011 the MTA assisted in restoring the building, while it constructed the Fulton Transit Center, a bit of which is seen at left. The FTC was an effort to somewhat ease the complicated subway interchange, which unites IND, BMT and IRT lines. It’s still a confusing maze, but we now have a spiffy new building with a circular skylight and expensive shops!
On the right — you can just barely see a bit of it– is a new structure I like rather better, a glass front subway entrance that in 2008 replaced the descending staircase of 1979 and previous.