Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, March 1909

Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

Construction on the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901, and it opened to the public on December 31, 1909.  In this black and white photo, taken from Main Street, in Brooklyn, on March 23, 1909, we see it nearing completion. Both towers are up and the span between them is under way.  The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the bridges connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Battery Place, Iron Steamboat Company Ferry Terminal, 1914

Battery Place, Iron Steamboat Company Ferry Terminal, 1914

Sure, you could get to the beach by subway, but on this day at the end of July in 1914, you could take the Ferry from Lower Manhattan to Coney Island or Rockaway Beach. The Iron Steamboat Company operated summer ferry service to a number of seaside locations until the close of the season in 1932. In 1914, you could get a ride to Steeplechase Pier and spend the day at the amusement park or the beach.

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Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street, 1922

Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street, 1922

In this black and white photograph from 1922, we see Pennsylvania Station from the corner of 7th Avenue and W. 31st Street. Several cars and a street car are going past its columned facade. This monument to transportation, architected by the firm of McKim, Mead & White, would be torn down in 1963. At the time of this photo passenger volume had yet to reach its peak. The streets themselves look empty compared to today.

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Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

In this black and white photograph from 1920, a woman walks along the sidewalk in Little Italy, past a Neapolitan pizzeria and a row of curbside carts selling produce. The absence of visible street signs makes it hard to know exactly which block this was. In 1920, Little Italy was far larger than the three blocks along Mulberry Street it is today.

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Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

In this amazing shot, taken in 1940, a squadron of B-17 bombers flies over Midtown Manhattan. One of the planes appears to be impaled on the spire of the Empire State Building. Also visible in the shot are the Chrysler Building and the original Pennsylvania Station, and beyond are the East River and Queens.

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Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Looking westward across the East River from the Brooklyn shore beneath the Manhattan Bridge in the mid-1950s, one could see the Manhattan skyline from the Lower East Side to Midtown. Today there are more highrises along Manhattan's eastern shore, but the apartment houses on the Lower East Side are still there, and the Empire State Building is still visible, although it no longer towers above it neighbors.

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Broadway and West 38th Street, 1910

Broadway and West 38th Street, 1910

By the time of this photograph in 1910, this part of Broadway had become "Broadway," or the Great White Way. The heart of the theater district had been further downtown in the Nineteenth Century, but by the early Twentieth, it had moved closer to Times Square where it resides today. In this photograph, looking north from West 38th Street, one can see three famous theaters along the west side of the avenue, The Knickerbocker, the Casino, and Maxine Elliott's.

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Broadway and West 138th Street, 1933

Broadway and West 138th Street, 1933

The photographer shoots south, along Broadway from just outside Montefiore Square Park on W. 138th Street. People sit on benches chatting and reading the paper. A boy in a sandwich board offering brand new 1933 automobiles for rent walks past the subway kiosk. Between the trees and the lamp post, one can see the tower of Riverside Church 18 blocks south.

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Broadway and East 23rd Street, 1884

Broadway and East 23rd Street, 1884

Looking south at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue at East 23rd today, you would see the prow of the famed Flatiron Building, but in 1884 you would see a much different "ship." The distinctive shape of the intersection makes the location easily identifiable. At this time, the site was owned by Amos Eno and was known as Eno's flatiron. As can be seen in the photograph, Eno sold advertising on the side of the Cumberland apartment building he owned. Apparently there was a big market for various medicinal plasters.

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Broadway and East 10th Street, 1884

Broadway and East 10th Street,  1884

The photographer shoots north along Broadway from the corner of East 10th Street. Aside from Grace Church, which can be seen on the right, very little of this view remains. M. Stern & Son Fine Furs and Cloaks has been replaced with a residential high rise, and obviously the drays, coaches, and horsecars are long gone. Thanks to the banner advertising the play Investigation at the Theatre Comique, located at 728 Broadway, we know this scene was captured in the fall of 1884.

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