‘‘Twas a balmy summer day on the East River…Look, there’s Washburn!

On a warm summer day, well over 30 years ago, I was out boating with my cousin, Guy. As we were passing East Harlem, heading North up the East River, I saw the vacant Washburn Wire Factory. It was located between East 117th and 118th Street, at the end of the 500 block, off Pleasant Avenue, by the East River Drive.
My family lived right up the block from that once active factory- back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. At the time of this actual photo, I had a feeling that Washburn had outlived its welcome, and that it would be just a “matter of time” before it would be (ultimately) demolished & replaced. So…with that thought in mind, as we were drawing closer to the vacant factory, I quickly reached for my film camera and took this photo!
Behold a moment in time- captured on a hazy & humid summer day- on the often tumultuous East River! Thankfully, the river was very calm when this photo was taken!


Boating up the East River, when this was the view!



Hello! I created this ancestral urban history blog, way back in 2008. At one point or another, I thought about adding a donation button, but felt indifferent about asking for money from my readership. At this point in time, after over 14 years of keeping the memories alive and ticking, I decided to ask for donations! 🙂 I intend to upgrade this site, by adding more storage space, in order to upload audio, video, more photos, etc. I’d also like to do a podcast, and to finally scan all of the ephemera/memorabilia/vintage photos, that I have been collecting for over 15 years! I look forward to the journey! Thanks so much for your donation! I really appreciate it! Best regards, Angela 🙂



EH Giglio 2015

Beautifully written by my friend, Charlie Giardino

SSummer night
doo wop music
echoes from the jukebox
it’s out on the street

it’s wire snakes
through the window
inside the club to the plug
by the pool table

everybody’s outside
on Pleasant Avenue
my home town
my little village

Pleasant Avenue
ain’t that a name?
most people don’t know it exists
and that’s fine with us

the johnny pumps are open
girls are jumping rope
some kids are playing stoopball
others eating Italian Ices

I’m on 119th street
waiting for you to come out
when I spot you a half block away
my heart skips a beat

and I deliberately act cool
chatting up a buddy
while looking over his shoulder
as you draw near

damn, you look pretty
white pedal pushers
striped top and some cute shoes
ain’t you a sight to see?

‘I only have eyes for you’
is playing now
and ain’t that the truth?
as you greet me with a kiss

‘My love must be a kind of blind love
I can’t see anyone but you.
Are the stars out tonight?
I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright
I only have eyes for you, dear’

and you take my hand
and we walk down to the park
to sit and stare at each other
on a park bench

beneath the amber glow
of the street lights
life is wonderful
and love is grand

‘I don’t know if we’re in a garden,
or on a crowded avenue.
You are here, so am I
maybe millions of people go by,
but they all disappear from view.
and I only have eyes for you’

ain’t that the truth?

and wasn’t that a night?

charlie gee 5/14/12

Click on the link below to view my Zazzle Gallery.