Yes, I've been rooting around on Flickr again. I came across two images last night in a set by a photographer named Dave Sanders that really took me back to my Upper East Side childhood. Let's review, shall we?
If you've been there recently, you know that the Central Park Zoo is a pretty nice affair. While not nearly as expansive as the Bronx Zoo, it still has some very cool attractions. This, however, was not always the case. Back in the 1970s, the Central Park Zoo seemed more like a rancid animal prison than a proper zoo. It was a bit of an olfactory nightmare and an overall dreary experience. The Children's Zoo (pictured) just a few steps to its north was equally grim. The petting zoo had a few mangy llamas and a sheep or two, and the paint was chipping everywhere (notably on the giant Moby Dick in the center). If memory serves, you could walk inside the whale's mouth and see a rather underwhelming fish tank. But as a bright-eyed child in the single-digits, walking around the place was still a magical experience. Detail-obsessed cinema-buffs might recognize it from a super-fleeting scene in the 1970's Jane Fonda/Donald Sutherland hooker-death plot thriller, "Klute." In any case, this was the zoo of my youth.
Next up is a great shot of the old Woolworth's on the northeast corner of East 86th street & Third Avenue (sorta the Gateway to Yorkville, if you will). This was taken in 1984, I gather. When I was but a little tot, I was frequently taken here by my grandparents (the "five & dime" store, they called it). In my grade school and high school years, I used to visit the place to check out their record department. It was here that I first procured the vinyl LPs of Let There Be Rock by AC/DC, Fragile by Yes, Volume. 4 by Black Sabbath, Rocket to Russia by the Ramones and …er… Pac Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia (yes, sadly, I bought the album). If I'm not mistaken, they tore this building down sometime in the late 80's. I think there's a Banana Republic there today.
Anyway, cheers to Dave Sanders for capturing these otherwise forgotten images.