Ever Vigilant

Walk softly

…and carry a telephoto lens.

That was my motto when I used to take my camera for walks during my off time in New York City. A corollary to this motto is, “Be sure to look where nobody else is looking.”

I took my own advice during one of my walks. I was on 34th Street near Fifth Avenue. I had always admired the B. Altman building on the north side of the street. To me, it was majestic, even though it had been edging toward decrepitude, since Altman went out of business in 1989. I loved the arching glass and metal awning and its massive granite blocks.

In New York, most people look out of windows. Most people on the street are interested in where they are going. Even back then when cell phones were very rare and smart phones were still in the future, most New Yorkers rarely looked up.

I am glad that I am one of those who looks everywhere. My mother always told me that I never wanted to miss anything. That is still true.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I happened on the scene below. It was in one of the windows on the second floor.

Photograph - B. Altman Window - 34th Street and Madison

B. Altman Window, New York City
8″x10″ Photograph Silver Print, Fiber Paper

It was my good fortune that B. Altman had not disposed of all their manikins by the time I took this picture.

The Altman Building was renovated by the City of New York in 1996 and became the Science, Industry and Business Library building.

4 thoughts on “Ever Vigilant

  1. That is totally cool! I have an affinity for B.Altman & Co as I worked for them for 8 years right up until they went out of business. Once a month they would send me up to the “Mother Store ” in NYC from suburban Phila. and that was my first exposure to the city which I have loved ever since. Some of my happiest memories as a Floor Manager. Before that it was Bonwit Teller, both the epitome of service. Sigh. Nice photo!


    • That must have been cool! Sorry to say I never went inside, although I think my Mom did when she went into the city sometimes. When you say ‘floor manager’ I think of some of those old movies (including The Big Store). Must have been fun! Thanks for sharing.


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