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Kids Cool Off in a Sprinkler on the Lower East Side, 1923

Kids Cool Off in a Sprinkler on the Lower East Side, 1923

Some things never change. One of the joys of childhood is running through a sprinkler in summer. For most this probably conjures images of suburban lawns, but as this photo attests city kids did it, too. On a hot summer day in 1923 on the Lower East Side, these kids cooled off by running in the street under a sprinkler hooked up to a fire hydrant.

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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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Broadway and Park Place, 1914

Broadway and Park Place, 1914
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Woolworth Building Under Construction, July 1, 1912

Woolworth Building Under Construction, July 1, 1912
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Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street, c. 1910

Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street, c. 1910

Looking north along Columbus Avenue from West 79th Street, one can see the 81st Street Station for the Ninth Avenue Elevated Train. On the east side of Columbus Avenue, out of the frame of this photo is the American Museum of Natural History. The Ninth Avenue El became part of the IRT in 1903 and was dismantled when the City of New York purchased the IRT in 1940.

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Pennsylvania Station Restaurant, 1910

Pennsylvania Station Restaurant, 1910

In 1910, Pennsylvania Station was the paragon of New York elegance. This restaurant, populated by ghosts thanks to the photograph's long exposure, is a far cry from the fast food joints of today's Penn Station. Not only did one enter the city like a god, one was expected to eat like a human being.

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Eighth Avenue and Bleecker Street, 1908

Eighth Avenue and Bleecker Street, 1908

In this 1908 black and white photo, a horsecar (a streetcar pulled by horses) passes Abingdon Square Park. The park is one of the oldest in New York City, the quarter-acre plot it's on having been acquired by the city in 1831. The southern tip of the triangular green-space is at the intersection of Bleecker Street and Eighth Avenue or Abingdon Square.

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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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Times Square At Night, 1932

Times Square At Night, 1932

Times Square becomes magical at night when all the lights go on and the city begins to glow. On this wet night in 1932, the streets themselves glisten. The neon beckons you, almost commands you, buy Pepsodent (you'll wonder where the yellow went), drive a Chevy, see the Barrymores bring Rasputin and Empress to life. Afterwards you can have a cup of Maxwell House, smoke a Chesterfield, and now that you're all revved up again catch the late showing of Wallace Beery in Flesh.

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