Postmen of Old New York

Mailmen.jpg.CROP.original-originalAccording to Slate, “Early in Martin Elkort’s career, the New York photographer would walk out of his home and adjust his camera settings to prepare for a day of street photography, with the comparable success rate of an amateur meteorologist lifting a finger to test the weather.”

One such day Elkhort caught three mailmen sorting through mail in 1947. From their peaked caps and short ties to their leather mailbags, the three exemplify a vanished era.

Back then, my parents lived on one of those same New York streets, and mailed and received letters that might have been delivered by one of those very postmen. Mail tied my mom to her sister and father in Baltimore, and my dad to his cousin and sister in the midwest. They provided a link to hometowns that moved at a different pace of life than the hurly burly bustle of madcap NYC.

The photo has such a sense of immediacy that I feel as if somewhere there should exist a “pause” button I could click off, allowing life on that 1947 corner to resume humming. Wouldn’t you love to step into that photo, cross the cobblestone street and see what’s around the corner?

Take a look at the article in Slate for a few more views of post World War II New York.