Midtown West

Vintage images of iconic Midtown buildings and sights, including Macy’s, the Theater District, the Empire State Building, and the Times Tower. Includes Midtown West, from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, between West 30th Street and West 60th Street.

Times Square At Night, 1932

Times Square At Night, 1932

Times Square becomes magical at night when all the lights go on and the city begins to glow. On this wet night in 1932, the streets themselves glisten. The neon beckons you, almost commands you, buy Pepsodent (you'll wonder where the yellow went), drive a Chevy, see the Barrymores bring Rasputin and Empress to life. Afterwards you can have a cup of Maxwell House, smoke a Chesterfield, and now that you're all revved up again catch the late showing of Wallace Beery in Flesh.

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The Empire State Building Under Construction, 1930

The Empire State Building Under Construction, 1930

At the time of this photo, the Empire State Building was just surpassing the Chrysler Building as the tallest in the world. Completed in 1931, the Empire State Building was for forty years the pinnacle of skyscraper architecture. The portion that is still being constructed in this photo is not the familiar antenna that we know today, but what was intended to be a mooring mast and dock for airships. The first few attempts proved the impracticality of this idea. Imagine being a passenger disembarking across a gangplank 102 stories above Fifth Avenue.

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Times Square VE Day Celebration, 1945

Times Square VE Day Celebration, 1945

On May 8, 1945, the ticker tape came down on the throng flooding Times Square. The war had ended in Europe. A scale model of the Statue of Liberty was on site to oversee the proceedings. With brown-outs over now, Times Square will once again become the Great White Way, and the actual Statue of Liberty will be lit for the first time since the beginning of the war.

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Hats at a World War I Liberty Rally in Times Square, 1918

Hats at a World War I Liberty Rally in Columbus Circle, 1918

There was a time when everybody wore a hat. Here a crowd of thousands, mostly men, stand in Times Square during a WWI Liberty Rally.  There's not a bare head amongst them. If you look carefully, you can see a couple of women's hats.

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Columbus Circle, c. 1895

Columbus Circle, c. 1895

A view from Eighth Avenue and 59th Street northeast across Columbus Circle into Central Park.  In 1895, there doesn't seem to be all that much going on in this part of town -- a few pedestrians, a couple of bicyclists, a streetcar, some drays.  Seems like an odd place to put a monument.  This clearly demonstrates the foresight of the city planners.  What was a boondock, is now an epicenter of world commerce.  This photo is taken from the approximate location of what is today the Time Warner Center.

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Columbus Circle at Night, c. 1920

Columbus Circle at Night, c. 1920

The silhouetted hansom cab and driver look like they could be cruising for a fare in Victorian London, but this is a rainy night in post-war (the Great War, that is) New York.  The driver, parked along a slick, deserted Central Park South, looks west toward the bustle and lights of Eight Avenue and Columbus Circle.  The dark monument to Columbus stands in sharp contrast to the luminance of the surrounding commerce.

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Uncle Sam Balloon at Columbus Circle, c. 1935

Uncle Sam Balloon at Columbus Circle, c. 1935

Uncle Sam arrives at Columbus Circle after marching down Central Park West in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Macy's Department Store, 1908

Macy's Department Store, 1908

This is a northwest view of the Macy's department store at West 34th Street and Broadway.  Macy's open their flagship store at this Herald Square location in 1902, although the company had been operating for fifty years at the time of this photo.  The smaller building on the corner pre-existed the Macy's building.  It still exists today and currently sports the Macy's sign.

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