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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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Memorial Day in the Bronx, circa 1890

Memorial Day in the Bronx, circa 1890

Memorial Day began in both the North and the South, following the Civil War, as a day to honor soldiers who had died in military service. Initially, the holiday was called Decoration Day, after the practice of decorating the graves of the fallen soldiers, but in 1882, not long before this photograph was taken, the name of the holiday was changed to Memorial Day. In this picture, we see the remaining members of Union Regiment 73 taking part in a Memorial Day Parade on Tremont Avenue in the Bronx.

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Park Avenue and East 85th Street, 1929

Park Avenue and East 85th Street, 1929

Late April, 1929, and Park Avenue, looking south from East 85th, doesn't seem remarkably different from today. The street had yet to be widened, and clusters of brownstones still peppered the avenue, but the luxury highrises were already the order of the day. According to the sign in the lower right, 1021 Park Avenue was being constructed as a "100% Cooperative Apartment."

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West 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, circa 1950

West 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, circa 1950

It's a wet day in the early 1950s, and the Fashion District is all abustle.  Looking southeast from the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 34th Street, one sees two way traffic on Eighth Avenue, including a "Train Connection" bus heading uptown. A Greyhound Bus heads east along 34th Street. Beyond the low-rise stores along Eighth, one can see the great Beaux Arts edifice of the original Pennsylvania Station.

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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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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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Boys in Front of 14th Street Theater, 1916

Boys in Front of 14th Street Theater, 1916

These boys, just exiting a the Fourteenth Street Theater, look like they are having the time of their lives. It's a beautiful spring day, April 30, 1916 to be exact, and nothing could be better than seeing an auto-racing movie and then palling around New York City with your chums. It's unlikely any of these boys knew or cared, but the theater they just exited had only recently become the "Downtown Home of Paramount Pictures." It had been built in 1866 as the Theater Francais and originally staged French comic operas. 

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Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Ah, Wall Street. You can almost smell the money -- unless, like the gentleman in the extreme foreground, you have your finger jammed up your nose. On this day in 1916, the photographer captured the bustling activity of New York City's Financial District. Looking west along Wall, on the right you can see Federal Hall, which at the time was the United States Sub-Treasury building, on the left sit the newly-built House of Morgan and the New York Stock Exchange, and straight ahead, beyond Broadway is Trinity Church.

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Flatiron Building, 1907

Flatiron Building, 1907
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Central Park near East 62nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1940

Central Park near East 62nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1940

It's a beautiful summer day in 1940, and from where you stand in Central Park, you can see two of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Sherry Netherland and the Plaza. The Plaza is perhaps the better known of the two, but sadly will eventually become a luxurious residence. The Sherry Netherland, however, will remain the pinnacle of New York City luxury for some time to come.

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