New York City

Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street, 1922

Seventh Avenue and West 31st Street, 1922

In this black and white photograph from 1922, we see Pennsylvania Station from the corner of 7th Avenue and W. 31st Street. Several cars and a street car are going past its columned facade. This monument to transportation, architected by the firm of McKim, Mead & White, would be torn down in 1963. At the time of this photo passenger volume had yet to reach its peak. The streets themselves look empty compared to today.

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Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

In this black and white photograph from 1920, a woman walks along the sidewalk in Little Italy, past a Neapolitan pizzeria and a row of curbside carts selling produce. The absence of visible street signs makes it hard to know exactly which block this was. In 1920, Little Italy was far larger than the three blocks along Mulberry Street it is today.

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Broadway and West 38th Street, 1910

Broadway and West 38th Street, 1910

By the time of this photograph in 1910, this part of Broadway had become "Broadway," or the Great White Way. The heart of the theater district had been further downtown in the Nineteenth Century, but by the early Twentieth, it had moved closer to Times Square where it resides today. In this photograph, looking north from West 38th Street, one can see three famous theaters along the west side of the avenue, The Knickerbocker, the Casino, and Maxine Elliott's.

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Broadway and West 138th Street, 1933

Broadway and West 138th Street, 1933

The photographer shoots south, along Broadway from just outside Montefiore Square Park on W. 138th Street. People sit on benches chatting and reading the paper. A boy in a sandwich board offering brand new 1933 automobiles for rent walks past the subway kiosk. Between the trees and the lamp post, one can see the tower of Riverside Church 18 blocks south.

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Broadway and East 10th Street, 1884

Broadway and East 10th Street,  1884

The photographer shoots north along Broadway from the corner of East 10th Street. Aside from Grace Church, which can be seen on the right, very little of this view remains. M. Stern & Son Fine Furs and Cloaks has been replaced with a residential high rise, and obviously the drays, coaches, and horsecars are long gone. Thanks to the banner advertising the play Investigation at the Theatre Comique, located at 728 Broadway, we know this scene was captured in the fall of 1884.

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Broad Street and Exchange Place, circa 1920

Broad Street and Exchange Place, circa 1920

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.

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Portrait of Fraunces Tavern, 1905

Portrait of Fraunces Tavern, 1905

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.

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Aerial Overview of the Woolworth Building, circa 1930

Aerial Overview of the Woolworth Building, circa 1930

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.

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Aerial Overview of the George Washington Bridge, 1957

Aerial Overview of the George Washington Bridge, 1957

The river is smooth and the traffic is minimal on this bright winter day in 1957. If it weren't for the distinctive Pallisades of the Jersey side, the low-rise buildings of Washington Heights would be indistinguishable from those of Fort Lee, across the river.

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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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