Monday, May 2, 2016


On the 29th floor of a landmark building in the Financial District, we find a time capsule.

John D. Rockefeller left the building in 1896, but John Jr. maintained offices there on the 29th floor until 1933.  I've heard that the Rockefellers still keep space there, but a look at the gym suggests no-one's worked out there for thirty years or more at least.  The address is deluxe, but the gym is spartan by today's standards.  It makes you think of gents in heavy woolen singlets & thick serge knickers.   There's money and sweat and old boy manly vigor here.

We might have gone back a century.  A large tub of Solox degreaser sits on the floor & a can of Soconol rests next to a battered funnel . The patent for this linseed oil anti-constipation liquid was filed by Standard Oil in 1915.

And look at this circa 1900 Narragansett Machine Co.leather & iron odometer, designed to connect to a primitive stationary bicycle.  What a beautiful contraption.

There are traces of later years. Ads for squash balls from the 1980's, when Jahangir Khan reigned as world champion.

And perhaps others have crept into the dusty gym unbidden, to look around & even enjoy a game of squash or two.  A little graffiti from the 70's and 80's suggests illicit exploration.

1 comment:

Be the BQE said...

I have often thought we needed an a city-wide archaeological dig to recover the lost squash courts of New York. Teachers College has a couple in the basement of Thompson Hall used to store broken furniture, at least when I was there. (Fortunately the 19th century pool is still functioning!)