Upper West Side

Vintage Photographs of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between Central Park West and the Hudson River, from West 61st Street to West 124th Street.

Museum of Natural History, 1913

Museum of Natural History, 1913

The photo, taken by the Irving Underhill Studios in 1913, shows the Museum of Natural History's 77th Street Facade.  This was the main entrance to the museum until 1936 when it was moved to the Central Park West side at 79th Street.  The view here is northeast from the Elevated Train platform.  The tracks can be seen in the foreground, running along Columbus Avenue.  The Ninth Avenue El closed in June 1940, when the City of New York purchased the IRT line.

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The Dakota Apartments, 1903

The Dakota Apartments, 1903

The Dakota Apartments at Central Park West and West 72nd Street is probably one of the most iconic buildings in New York City. Often remembered nowadays as the location of the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980, the Dakota's place in New York history and in popular culture arises from more than that single tragic event. Aside from Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, the building's residents over the years have included many well-known New Yorkers, such as Lauren Bacall, Jason Robards, Jose Ferrer, Lillian Gish, Judy Garland, and Gilda Radner -- among others.

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Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street, c. 1910

Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street, c. 1910

Looking north along Columbus Avenue from West 79th Street, one can see the 81st Street Station for the Ninth Avenue Elevated Train. On the east side of Columbus Avenue, out of the frame of this photo is the American Museum of Natural History. The Ninth Avenue El became part of the IRT in 1903 and was dismantled when the City of New York purchased the IRT in 1940.

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Broadway and West 106th Street, 1900

Broadway and West 106th Street, 1900

In this photo, taken on September 25, 1900, we look north along the Broadway center mall from West 106th Street. To the left is a triangular green space, bounded by 106th Street, Broadway, and West End Avenue, which would eventually be named Strauss Park, after Isidor and Ida Strauss, who perished in the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.

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Amsterdam Avenue and West 96th Street, 1919

Amsterdam Avenue and West 96th Street, 1919

By the dawn of the Jazz Age, the Upper West Side was already starting to take on its modern appearance. Twenty years before, buildings would have been sparse, but by the time this photo was taken in 1919, apartment buildings had sprouted along the avenue as far as the eye could see. However, they still had much growing to do; St. Michael's Episcopal Church, on West 99th Street, towers above the "seedling" dwellings of the UWS of this era.

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Broadway and West 104th Street, 1902

Broadway and West 104th Street, 1902

This black and white photograph, taken in 1902, captured a busy day on Broadway.  Looking south from West 104th Street, we see a number of streetcars rumbling through the construction of the subway, past the construction of a high rise.

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Broadway and West 111th Street, 1900

Broadway and West 111th Street, 1900

In this photo of Broadway and 111th Street, taken in late September, 1900, we look north along the center mall through the trees. A horse-drawn cart ambles uptown on the east side of the street. Very few people can be seen, despite the beautiful weather, this far north.

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Broadway and West 96th Street, 1909

Broadway and West 96th Street, 1909

In this black and white photo, taken in April of 1909, we look northeast along the east side of Broadway.  People move like ghosts through the frame, while a streetcar rumbles north along its tracks, and an early automobile shudders past a street cleaner.

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The Boulevard on a Rainy Day, c. 1899

The Boulevard on a Rainy Day, c. 1899

North of Columbus Circle, Broadway was known as The Boulevard, until the name was officially changed around the time of this photograph. Hanging above the roadway is a sign that doesn't apply in the context of contemporary New York City. It reads, "Pleasure Traffic Keep Over to the Left. Business Traffic Keep Over to the Curb."

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The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartment building, with its twin tower construction, epitomizes Upper West Side luxury. Construction began in 1929 and completed shortly before this photograph was taken in 1932. Many of the larger apartments had to be subdivided during the Great Depression to make them more affordable to renters. Since then, the New York real estate market has changed dramatically, and now the San Remo is amongst the most expensive locations in Manhattan, housing many wealthy business tycoons and celebrities.

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