If the work of photographer Percy Loomis Sperr is a vital resource for images of Brooklyn streets in the 30s and early 40s, it's John D. Morrell who illuminates Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s. Some of his work is in black and white, but my favorites are his chromogenic color prints, casting the borough in pale but luminous postcard colors. Morrell (1921-1988) was Assistant Librarian at the Long Island Historical Society (now the Brooklyn Historical Society) and donated over two thousand photographs to the Society. I've come across his photos many times before, but am now systematically looking through the whole collection. I was happy to find this one, of the laundromat at Eighth Avenue & 13th Street. It was taken in 1961. I've taken many pictures of this place myself, and have watched its old signs fade and crumble over the decades, but in Morrell's shot we see the laundromat in pristine condition - faux-brick exterior bright & clean, the letters on the sign a vibrant red, and the bright blue 10, 20, 30 cents all present and correct. In 1961 there was no awning above the avenue side window. If you're like me, you'll have a soft spot for buildings and signs that eschew cosmetic intervention. I like the touch of time. Still, this one's lovely to see.
John D. Morrell, 1961 (Brooklyn Visual Heritage)
Here's the same scene today:
along with a few more pictures thrown in. You can't have too many of this corner.
Incidentally, South Slope News reported last month that the Lucky Laundry is up for rent, and will not be replaced by a similar business. Enjoy it while you can.
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