Broadway

Broadway and Park Place, 1914

Broadway and Park Place, 1914
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Showgirls Charleston Down Fifth Avenue, c. 1924

Showgirls Charleston Down Fifth Avenue, c. 1924

It could be a scene out of a Fitzgerald novel. Seven showgirls in furs, one of them toting balloons, dance the Charleston down Fifth Avenue, while pedestrians watch. The dance was popularized by the Broadway show, Runnin' Wild, which ran from October 1923 through June 1924. Although the show ran only briefly, the dance continued to gain popularity and even today brings to mind Flappers and the Roaring Twenties.

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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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Broadway and West 43rd Street, 1939

Broadway and West 43rd Street, 1939

Times Square in 1939 differs from the Times Square of today only in the details. The Internation Casino may now be Toys R Us, but the essential nature of the place is unchanged. Traffic, enormous signs and advertisements, and throngs of people are still the order of the day.

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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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East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

In 1901, the great crossroads of 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway had not yet taken its final form. The Flatiron Building, also known as the Fuller Building, was just beginning construction. In this black and white turn of the century image, the only sign of the iconic skyscraper is the fence around the construction site. The Heinz 57 ad on the side of the Cumberland Hotel was about to be hidden forever.

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The Flatiron Building after a Snow Storm, 1906

The Flatiron Building after a Snow Storm, 1906

In this view south from East 26th Street and Fifth Avenue, the Flatiron Building looks like it is plowing through the snow. It looks like a substantial amount of fresh snow has blanketed the city, all of which has been shoveled by hand. The streets are as clear as they are likely to get until the hooves of the horses tramp it into slush. But luckily for us, some anonymous photographer captured the clean beauty of this moment forever.

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