Broadway

Prow and the Shadow of the Flatiron Building, 1902

Prow and the Shadow of the Flatiron Building, 1902

This is a seldom seen view of one of New York City's most famous buildings, the Flatiron Building. In this black and white photograph taken in 1902, the Fuller Building (as it was then known) was still under construction. Here the photographer stands on an upper floor of the nearly complete building and aims his camera down. From above, you can see horsecarts, streetcars, and pedestrians, but precious few by contemporary standards.

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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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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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Broadway and 8th Street, 1937

Broadway and 8th Street, 1937

Looking north along Broadway from 8th Street in this photo, taken on June 13, 1937, one sees two rows of parked cars lining the curbs, and two pairs of streetcar tracks running down the middle of Broadway. Grace Church, which was consecrated in 1846 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, occupies the center of the frame and what was then the Annex to John Wanamaker's Department Store is on the right.

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Looking West from Wall and William Streets, 1907

Looking West from Wall and William Streets, 1907

Looking west from William Street, along Wall Street, toward Broadway, one sees Trinity Church. At the time of this photograph, 1907, the church was already 209 years old. Half-way between Trinity Church and the camera is Federal Hall. A statue of George Washington stands outside the building, commemorating his inauguration as First President of the United States on that site. At the time of this photograph, Federal Hall was the United State Sub-Treasury Building.

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Flatiron Building Seen from 26th Street, 1907

Flatiron Building Seen from 26th Street, 1907

The Flatiron District doesn't look terribly different today, with the iconic Flatiron Building cutting like a ship's prow through the combined traffic of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. It's the nature of the traffic that's changed. Here we see horses, carriages, and streetcars, rather than the cars, taxis, and buses of today. Oh, and maybe there are a few more tall buildings. But really, with the Flatiron in view, who notices them?

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Depression Era Apple Seller at Broadway and W. 32 Street, 1930

Depression Era Apple Seller at Broadway and W. 32 Street, c. 1930

In 1930, the International Apple Shippers Association, overstocked on fruit, came up with short term solution for the unemployed. They sold them apples at a greatly reduced rate on credit. By November, there were 6,000 apple sellers in New York City alone. This remedy only worked while the overstock of fruit lasted, and by the end of 1931 the apple sellers were all gone. Here we see a young woman buying an apple from an unemployed man at Greeley Square. The Sixth Avenue Elevated Station can be see in the background.

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The Old Met, c. 1885

The Old Met, c. 1885

The original Metropolitan Opera House occupied an entire city block between West 39th and 40th Streets along Broadway. It was built in 1883, and this photograph shows it not long after its opening, before the fire that gutted it in 1892. The building was demolished in 1967, and the Metropolitan Opera Company relocated to its present quarters in Lincoln Center.

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