10.27.2014

Kodachrome Classic Monday #17


Every Monday, I'll be spotlighting a different classic Kodachrome slide that I've picked up, and trying where I can to detail the who, what, when, where, why, and how (much) of the image:

This Week:

What: Street Scene of a Shopping District.

Why: I am always interested in photos of Downtown Shopping Districts during their heyday.  It is really interesting to think of the number of generational changes that have occurred since this era, first with the gradual decline of the fortunes of many a Downtown shopping district to the suburban shopping mall culture that began to sprout up in the 1950's, leaving many Downtown areas to breathe their last retail gasps by the 1980's.  As much as this seemed to be a permanent change, the proliferation of online shopping at the beginning of the new millennium combined with a decline of many aging suburbs has seen many once prosperous malls reduced to ghost towns, while the once-forlorn Downtown cores have been rebuilt as mixed use developments with a commercial emphasis not as much on retail but more on dining.  

When: May, 1964, as noted on the mount.

Where: Washington DC. Though the slide was sold as possibly being from "New York" by the seller, I instantly recognized the actual location from the shuttle bus in the picture. Honestly, I had no excuse not to know the area in which this was taken, so this was fairly easy.  I didn't instantly recognize where in Downtown Washington it was, but a few suspicions turned out to be correct, namely that this is G Street looking east towards 14th Street, just a few blocks east of the White House.  Since I'm in the vicinity of this shot daily, I had no excuse not to forego the usual Google Street view to attempt a comparative view of the scene today.  Below is how the same scene looks.  The district still is pretty thriving, though no bus routes pass along this corridor today.



The Hahn Shoe store still shoes evidence of the past, but alas is closed at present and awaits a new owner and likely reinvention to a new retail purpose.



And what of the church that stands prominently in the original image but seems to have vanished in the "then and now" match?  It's still there, just a bit obscured by commercial property to its west.



Who: I know nothing of who the shoppers show in the original are, nor the hapless folks who wandered into my contemporary shots.     

How (much): Picked up for $5.50 on ebay.  The slide was a bit of a challenge to get a good color balance on, favoring a magenta hue, but worked out to a more neutral balance with some effort in Photoshop.