Lower Manhattan

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.

View South from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, 1912

View South from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, 1912

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.

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Broadway and Park Place, 1914

Broadway and Park Place, 1914
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Woolworth Building Under Construction, July 1, 1912

Woolworth Building Under Construction, July 1, 1912
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Shoeshine Boys in Little Italy, c. 1900

Shoeshine Boys in Little Italy, c. 1900

In this photo from the turn of the last century, shoeshine boys gather in Columbus Park, in what used to be Little Italy, to play marbles. While their poverty is evident -- one of the boys has no shoes -- they seem like pretty normal kids. Some of them smile charmingly at the camera, while others eye it with suspicion. 

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Greenwich and Fulton Streets, 1914

Greenwich and Fulton Streets, 1914

In this black and white photograph, taken in 1914, we see a man walking beneath the elevated train line at the intersection of Greenwich and Fulton Streets in Lower Manhattan. There's a lot of detail in this old picture, from the guy getting a nickel shoe shine on the left to the storefronts across the street. But perhaps the most intersesting thing about this photograph is that Greenwich and Fulton Streets no longer intersect. Their union was broken in the 1960s when the designers of the World Trade Center carved out a Super-Block in Lower Manhattan.

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Erecting a Skyscraper, 1907

Erecting a Skyscraper, 1907

Three iron workers take a break from constructing the Singer Building on a girder high above Liberty Street. The Singer Building was the headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and, from its completion in 1908 until the completion of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in 1909, was the tallest building in the world. Thanks to fearless men like this that was a record that was continually broken during the early part of the Twentieth Century.  The Singer Building was demolished in 1968 and is now the site of 1 Liberty Plaza.

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Federal Hall on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, 1915

Federal Hall on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, 1915
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Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Ah, Wall Street. You can almost smell the money -- unless, like the gentleman in the extreme foreground, you have your finger jammed up your nose. On this day in 1916, the photographer captured the bustling activity of New York City's Financial District. Looking west along Wall, on the right you can see Federal Hall, which at the time was the United States Sub-Treasury building, on the left sit the newly-built House of Morgan and the New York Stock Exchange, and straight ahead, beyond Broadway is Trinity Church.

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Christmas Dinner Line at the McAuley Mission, 1905

Christmas Dinner Line at the McAuley Mission, 1905

The McAuley Mission, now the New York City Rescue Mission, was founded in 1872 by Jerry and Maria McAuley. Survivors of New York City's hard-knock life of the middle Nineteenth Century, they opened the doors of their Water Street mission every night of the year to the city's poor and outcast. In this photo, we can see they were doing a booming business on Christmas in 1905.  Hundreds of men and boys lined up for a Christmas dinner.

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Lower Manhattan Skyline looking North, 1930

Lower Manhattan Skyline looking North, 1930

A man in silhouette looks out from a high office in City Bank-Farmers' Trust Company Building toward 40 Wall Street, then known at the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, which had only recently passed the Woolworth Building, visible further uptown, as the tallest building in the world. 40 Wall held that title for only a few weeks before being surpassed by the Chrysler Building, which can be seen through the window to the extreme right.

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