Cars

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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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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Bowery and Canal Street, 1929

Bowery and Canal Street, 1929

February 11, 1929 looks like it was a pleasant day on the Lower East Side. The Twenties were still Roaring, with the stock market crash still 8 months away, and these New Yorkers were going about their business, hustling along the snowless streets, on foot, in cars, or on streetcars, or riding above it all on the open air trains of the Third Avenue Elevated. Elsewhere in the world, Benito Mussolini and the Pope's representative were signing the Lateran Pact, giving the Vatican autonomy from Italy, and former Brooklynite and Bowery Boy Al Capone was planning the St.

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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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Amsterdam Avenue and West 207th Street, 1926

Amsterdam Avenue and West 207th Street, 1926

The streets are bustling in Inwood on this beautiful day in 1926.  Looking west toward Post Avenue and beyond, one can see the Corn Exchange Bank, several dance halls, a Chop Suey restaruant, and the Dyckman Theater.  The theater was a 1,700 seat movie palace that opened in 1913 and ultimately became part of the Loews chain.  This neighborhood is the northernmost in the island of Manhattan, and it is believed to be the location where Peter Minuit bought the island from the Lenape Indians.

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Sixth Avenue and West 52nd Street, 1937

Sixth Avenue and West 52nd Street, 1937

You're looking north from very near the center of the world, in 1937.  The Rockefeller Center complex, behind you on your right, was not entirely complete, although Radio City Music Hall had been open for about five years at the time this photo was taken.  The Sixth Avenue Elevated Line, overhead, would run for another year.  It was closed in December 1938 and demolished in 1939, making way for the development of the area and the replacement of the low rises you see in this photo with majestic high rises that currently line the avenue.

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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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Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, 1930

Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, 1930

To photograph this street scene from the winter of 1930, the photographer stood in Fifth Avenue, his back to Washington Square Park, and aimed his camera north. From his point of view, it was probably an unremarkable winter morning. Traffic flowed in both directions, pedestrians went about their business, and off in the distance the 14th Street Traffic Tower ensured that everyone kept moving along. For us, however, this photograph is a remarkable moment in time. The cars, the style of dress, and the Traffic Tower itself are all artifacts of a New York City that is no more.

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