The Financial District, the South Street Seaport, the Manhattan Civic Center and more. Lower Manhattan the way it was. Hundreds of photos lower Manhattan from an era gone by. Includes popular downtown favorites such as the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Wall Street, and the Stock Exchange. Dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, these historical images document lower Manhattan’s street life, residents, and buildings. Perfect wall décor for your office or apartment in Lower Manhattan. For help sourcing an image from our extensive collection call 888-250-8956.
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.
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.
In this black and white photo, a messenger on the rooftop overlooks the curbmarket activity in Broad Street. This market handled stocks of companies too small to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and eventually grew up to be the American Stock Exchange. At the time of this photo, they were known at the New York Curb Market, and shortly after this photo was taken, they moved indoors to a site on Greenwich Street.
Fraunces Tavern, at the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets, is reputed to be the oldest surviving building in Manhattan and played a significant role in the early history of New York and the United States. Most famously, it is the site where George Washington bade farewell to his officers on December 4, 1783. Those who have been to the site in recent years will probably note that the building in the photo bears very little resemblance to the Tavern as it stands today.
The Woolworth Building was the tallest in the world from 1913 to 1930, around the time of this photo, when it was surpassed by 40 Wall Street. This photo makes its size apparent, as it towers over the surrounding neighborhood. Also in the photo are City Hall and the Municipal Building.
A barefoot boy stands on the cobblestones of South Street, in Lower Manhattan, looking northeast past the horsecarts and the ships in the harbor, toward the most astounding piece of construction he's seen in his lifetime, the Manhattan Bridge. From the looks of things, this bridge has probably been under construction during the entirety of his lifetime, the construction having started in 1901, and not due to be complete until 1910.
Back when the South Street Seaport had yet to be turned into a tourist attraction and mall, carts like this could be found selling their wares along the pier. This Oyster Seller is offering free ice water to all -- although it probably tastes a little fishy.
In this eastern-looking aerial photograph of Lower Manhattan and Tribeca, taken around 1930, one gets a view of many of the most notable structures of the day, including the Woolworth Building, the Municipal Building, City Hall and the Post Office, as well as the Federal Courthouse, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Aside from the Woolworth and Municipal Buildings nothing in view could be called a skyscraper. It's is a very different Lower Manhattan Skyline than today's.
Looking west from William Street, along Wall Street, toward Broadway, one sees Trinity Church. At the time of this photograph, 1907, the church was already 209 years old. Half-way between Trinity Church and the camera is Federal Hall. A statue of George Washington stands outside the building, commemorating his inauguration as First President of the United States on that site. At the time of this photograph, Federal Hall was the United State Sub-Treasury Building.
In this hand-colored photograph, taken in 1912 by Irving Underhill, we see a very different Lower Manhattan Skyline than we would today. In fact, Underhill was taking the picture from the tallest building in the world, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower. The Woolworth Building, which would take the title in 1913, was not yet completed. It can be seen at the vanishing point of the horizon. To its right is the Singer Building, which is now 1 Liberty Plaza, and a little further right, merely a speck in the harbor, is the Statue of Liberty.