Columbus

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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Shoeshine Boys in Little Italy, c. 1900

Shoeshine Boys in Little Italy, c. 1900

In this photo from the turn of the last century, shoeshine boys gather in Columbus Park, in what used to be Little Italy, to play marbles. While their poverty is evident -- one of the boys has no shoes -- they seem like pretty normal kids. Some of them smile charmingly at the camera, while others eye it with suspicion. 

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Construction of Streetcar Tracks at Columbus Circle, 1897

Construction of Streetcar Tracks at Columbus Circle, 1897

In 1897, Columbus Circle was still the frontier. The monument to Columbus had been erected in 1892 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus's voyage, but construction of the circle was still underway until 1905. By 1920, in a traffic study commissioned by Special Deputy Commissioner in charge of Traffic, John A. Harriss, Columbus Circle was the business intersection in the world

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