Ephemeral New York chronicles the worthiness of timepieces on New York’s Fifth Avenue:
A grand avenue like Fifth should be adorned with lovely, stately street clocks, right?New York business owners whose shops were located on this pricey stretch of real estate seemed to think so. These towering timepieces (which also functioned as advertising vehicles) sprouted up in the late 19th century until about 1920, when watches became more popular.
I notice the intersection of cities and timepieces when I’m running — in New York and elsewhere. I always head out first thing in the morning before commuters stir, the time a city betrays its secrets, bare with honesty, without its citizens clothing it with attitude. When I do, the relationship of that city with time stands apparent. Run through Brooklyn on a given morning, and you’ll go no further than eight blocks before a church tower, park clock, or intersection reveals the time. Yet other cities are void of public reveals. Time dissipates into the pockets of citizens, and the absence and presence of time and timepieces is just as tangible and meaningful as the time itself.