I was down the basement earlier doing some cleaning when I came across an old photo album. When i looked inside i found pictures from late 1956. I remember going with my dad to shoot those pictures, He had just gotten a new twin lens reflex camera, and i convinced him to throw a roll of Kodacolor into it and take a walk up and down our block in Brooklyn, photographing the houses and the cars. I should first set the scene. We lived on a typical block in the southern part of Brooklyn in a middle class neighborhood. There was a 6 story apartment house at either end of the block, with single family houses in between. The houses were small (1300-1400 square feet), 2 story, built in 1924.
The first pic shows the first house on the west side of the street. I never knew the people that lived there. Their car was an ugly little black 1950 Buick Special Sedanette with a Dynaflow. It looked like a water bug (palmetto bug for our Southern colleagues) scurrying back and forth. Next was the Neilson’s house, with their 1956 Cadillac series 62. Mr. Neilson bought a one year old Cadillac from his next door neighbor Mr. Fish, every year when Mr Fish bought his new one. Sure enough, the next picture is of Mr. Fish standing next to his brand new 1957 pink and black Sedan DeVille. Sadly, this was to be Mr. Fish’s last Cadillac. Next was the Scheinblum house with their 1955 Red and Black Plymouth Belvedere. Then we come to the Pinkertons, with their new 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser. That car had every gadget in the book, including memory seat. The Bovary house, that we come to next had the two dullest cars on the block. Senior had a 1954 Pontiac Chieftain with a flathead six, and Junior had the same car with a flathead eight. I was fascinated, though, with the way the Chief Pontiac hood ornament lit up at night. The next, and last house on that side of the street belonged to Mr. Chertoff, whose new 1957 Lincoln Premier had somewhat outrageous styling. We then crossed back to our side of the street and came to the Benson house, where they had a 1954 Chevrolet of unknown model, in an awful 2 tone paint scheme of light cream and brown. Continuing South, we came to my uncle’s house. My uncle owned a large NYC taxi fleet, and, in exchange for keeping the fleet stocked with only Chrysler Corp. cars, he got special pricing from the corporation for his own cars, plus other goodies. Accordingly, he had a gorgeous black 1957 Desoto Firedome 4 door sedan. Our house was next, where my dad had recently picked up his 1957 Chrysler New Yorker on introduction day. Both those cars were absolutely gorgeous. Next door to us, was Mr. Garofalo, with his 1951 Plymouth Belvedere, and the only standard shift on the block. But then, this was a guy that heated his house with coal until 1959!! Next to him was Mr Haber with a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door hardtop.
Note: All names are pseudonyms.
The next two photos were too faded to make out details, and so, apparently, is my memory.
Something that I found notable was that by 1956 We the People (at least the ones on my block) had voted that standard transmissions (and six cylinder engines) were obsolete.