Midtown East

Vintage images of iconic Midtown buildings and sights, including Bloomingdales, the Chrysler, Daily News and Lincoln Buildings, Grand Central, Tudor City, and our most popular image, the Fifth Avenue Traffic Tower. Includes Fifth Avenue to the East River, between East 30th St. to East 60th Street.

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

At the time this black and white photograph was taken in 1930, the Chrysler Building was brand new and had the distinction of being the tallest building in the world. It took that crown from 40 Wall Street, which held if for only a few weeks, and yielded it less than a year later to the Empire State Building.

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The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 1911

The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 1911

This view of the New York Public Library, taken in 1911 from the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, shows the entranceway of the newly constructed building before the famous lions were installed. Streetcars, horsecars, and numerous pedestrians can be seen in the foreground.

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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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Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Looking East from East 59th Street and Second Avenue across the Queensboro Bridge on this day in 1920, one sees an Elevated Train car, a few trucks and motor cars, and a few pedestrians.  This cantilever bridge opened in March 1909, and approximately 11 years into its existence, seems very much underutilized.  Not so, today. Today there is no time of day or night when significantly more than half a dozen vehicles will be found crossing its spans. 

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Empire State Building Under Construction, Late 1930

Empire State Building Under Construction, Late 1930

The Empire State Building may no longer be the tallest building in the world, but it is easily one of the most recognizable. It holds a place in pop culture that few man-made structures ever attain, most probably thanks to a giant fictional gorilla. In this black and white photograph, King Kong's exploits are still a couple of years off. The building is incomplete, its dirigible dock is still under construction.

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Third Avenue Elevated Station at East 42nd Street, 1915

Third Avenue Elevated Station at East 42nd Street, 1915

This particular station on the Third Avenue Elevated line opened for business in 1878 and remained open until the main line of the Third Avenue El was shut down in 1955. In this shot, taken on March 5, 1915, we look north along the track from East 41st Street toward the platforms at 42nd Street with a southbound local in the distance.

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Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

In this aerial black and white photo from about 1950, we see the spires of Midtown East, including the Helmsley Building and the Chrysler Building. The midcentury haze obscures southern manhattan and Queen, giving the sense that the world beyond Midtown Manhattan ceases to to exist.

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Grand Central Station, 1905

Grand Central Station, 1905

There have been three train stations bearing the name Grand Central in New York City. This photo shows the second structure, Grand Central Station, which only existed in this form for about a decade. Grand Central Station replaced Grand Central Depot in an effort to relieve congestion and improve safety. A catastrophic train collision in 1902 impelled further improvement, and Grand Central Station was torn down in stages and replaced by Grand Central Terminal completely by 1913.

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Grand Central Depot, 1885

Grand Central Depot, 1885

There have been three structures at East 42nd Street and Park Avenue, bearing the name Grand Central. In this black and white photograph taken about 1885, we see the first one, Grand Central Depot. This station, which opened in 1871, brought the lines of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, the New York and Harlem River Railroad, and the New York and New Haven Railroad together under one roof. In this view, looking north from Vanderbilt Avenue, we see horse-drawn streetcars and carts ambling past.

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