1800's Checker Tile Vestibule - Click To Enlarge

Checker Tile Vestibule

I think you need to be of a certain age, from a certain place, and have a certain memory for this to be meaningful.

1800's Checker Tile Vestibule - Click To Enlarge
1800’s Checker Tile Vestibule – Click To Enlarge

To me this is NYC. Could be Broadway, Steinway street, maybe even Ditmars in Long Island City.

The tenements built with store fronts on these major streets all had a vestibule (an antechamber, hall, or lobby next to the outer door of a building). Glass store windows on either side, the checker tiles on the floor, and heavy wood front door.

Steinway was the ‘Boy’s and Men’s’ store. That was the name. Broadway was the drug store and butcher. Even my dentist was through a vestibule, up some ancient rickety creaky  wooden stairs, smelling that dentist smell all the way up. Scare the ___ out of a kid I can tell you. Oh yeah, the buildings were 1800’s tenements.

The tiles are gone now. They started being ripped up in the 1950’s, they did last 60-70 years though. They had a second life after being discarded. NYC kids cleaned them up. rubbed off the old mortar, and used them as ’tiles’ for games in the street.

A nail carved out a series of boxes in the asphalt, the tiles were shot like marbles. Every kid did it in NYC.

BTW, the floor above was found in an old defunct mining town, up a mountain, in Arizona. Who knew!

I probably should have stayed around to show the local kids how to shoot tiles.


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