Building

Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

In this aerial black and white photo from about 1950, we see the spires of Midtown East, including the Helmsley Building and the Chrysler Building. The midcentury haze obscures southern manhattan and Queen, giving the sense that the world beyond Midtown Manhattan ceases to to exist.

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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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Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

In this black and white photograph from 1909, we see a group of men and ladies with parasols standing in Madison Square Park, observing the construction of the Metropolitan Life Tower. The main building had been constructed over a decade and half before.  The architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons modeled the tower after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. It was the world's tallest building for three years, until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building.

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Photographing New York City, 1905

Photographing New York City, 1905

In this black and white photograph taken in 1905, a man with a camera perches on a steel girder at East 19th Street and Fifth Avenue. The viewer looks north, towards the Flatiron Building, while photographer shoots west. Lord & Taylor can be seen between the girder and the photographer's dangling leg. Lord & Taylor, which is the oldest upscale retail department store in the United States, moved to the Ladies' Mile location you see here in 1870, more than three decades before the construction of the Flatiron Building three blocks north.

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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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Erecting a Skyscraper, 1907

Erecting a Skyscraper, 1907

Three iron workers take a break from constructing the Singer Building on a girder high above Liberty Street. The Singer Building was the headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and, from its completion in 1908 until the completion of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in 1909, was the tallest building in the world. Thanks to fearless men like this that was a record that was continually broken during the early part of the Twentieth Century.  The Singer Building was demolished in 1968 and is now the site of 1 Liberty Plaza.

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Federal Hall on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, 1915

Federal Hall on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, 1915
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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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Flatiron Building with Horse and Carriage in the Snow, 1910

Flatiron Building with Horse and Carriage in the Snow, 1910

New York City can be a winter wonderland. This black and white photograph of the Flatiron Building in the winter of 1910 conjures all the magic of those snowy landscapes of yesteryear. Can you hear the jinglebells ringing? The only thing wrong with this picture is the two horse carriage instead of the one horse open sleigh.

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