Monday, February 19, 2007

Lives in Letters: Postcard - Toot

"In every city, on every street, there are forgotten buildings...."


Cities Service Building
New York’s Third Highest Skyscraper

New York, NY
August 11, 1932

Addressed to Mr. J. E. L-
Lebanon, Pa.

Everything going O. K.
up here. The floors
will all be painted by
the time they get back.
Orders from War Dept.
to close Post Exchanges.
Ft. Hamilton and West Point
are already closed. Uncertain
how it will effect this place.
Received your mail.

Is it from someone nicknamed Toot, or is Toot a way of signing off, like "Tootles?"

The Cities Services building is located in the Wall Street area, and was so-named for the petroleum company that made its home there in 1932. It is now the AIG building. Here's a bit more info (see # 15). And then there's this interesting article about the skyscrapers of the age ("In every city, on every street, there are forgotten buildings...") including this building. The most interesting part of the article? Near the end, when the author says:
Though now dwarfed by young upstarts, such as the World Trade center, these office buildings have lost little of their original beauty and interest.
The article was written in July, 2001.

Post Exchange (PX) or Base Exchange was the name for the discount store located on a military base. Here's a bit of history on that.

My big questions:

What base was the postcard-sender writing from? My best guess is either Governor's Island off the tip of Manhattan, or maybe Fort Schuyler in the Bronx.

Why were they closing the post exchanges? Most likely because it was peace-time and the US had a very small army. Not to mention the fact that we were in the middle of the Depression, so the government could not afford to subsidize the PX's.

Who were "they" and why were they having the floors painted? I have no idea.

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