lower manhattan

Financial District Skyline from East River Pier, circa 1935

Financial District Skyline from East River Pier, circa 1935

In this black and white photo of the Lower Manhattan skyline, we can see the Financial District as it looked in the mid-1930s. In the center of the frame is 40 Wall Street, which was for most of May 1930 the tallest building in the world, losing its crown to the Chrysler Building.

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Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, March 1909

Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

Construction on the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901, and it opened to the public on December 31, 1909.  In this black and white photo, taken from Main Street, in Brooklyn, on March 23, 1909, we see it nearing completion. Both towers are up and the span between them is under way.  The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the bridges connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Battery Place, Iron Steamboat Company Ferry Terminal, 1914

Battery Place, Iron Steamboat Company Ferry Terminal, 1914

Sure, you could get to the beach by subway, but on this day at the end of July in 1914, you could take the Ferry from Lower Manhattan to Coney Island or Rockaway Beach. The Iron Steamboat Company operated summer ferry service to a number of seaside locations until the close of the season in 1932. In 1914, you could get a ride to Steeplechase Pier and spend the day at the amusement park or the beach.

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Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

Curbside Carts in Little Italy, 1920

In this black and white photograph from 1920, a woman walks along the sidewalk in Little Italy, past a Neapolitan pizzeria and a row of curbside carts selling produce. The absence of visible street signs makes it hard to know exactly which block this was. In 1920, Little Italy was far larger than the three blocks along Mulberry Street it is today.

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Broad Street and Exchange Place, circa 1920

Broad Street and Exchange Place, circa 1920

In this black and white photo, a messenger on the rooftop overlooks the curbmarket activity in Broad Street. This market handled stocks of companies too small to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and eventually grew up to be the American Stock Exchange. At the time of this photo, they were known at the New York Curb Market, and shortly after this photo was taken, they moved indoors to a site on Greenwich Street.

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Aerial Overview of the Woolworth Building, circa 1930

Aerial Overview of the Woolworth Building, circa 1930

The Woolworth Building was the tallest in the world from 1913 to 1930, around the time of this photo, when it was surpassed by 40 Wall Street. This photo makes its size apparent, as it towers over the surrounding neighborhood.  Also in the photo are City Hall and the Municipal Building.

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Oyster Seller on South Street, c. 1900

Oyster Seller on South Street, c. 1900

Back when the South Street Seaport had yet to be turned into a tourist attraction and mall, carts like this could be found selling their wares along the pier.  This Oyster Seller is offering free ice water to all -- although it probably tastes a little fishy.

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Cherry Street and Rutgers Slip, c. 1890

Cherry Street and Rutgers Slip, c. 1890

A group of children play on a cart on Cherry Street in Lower Manhattan in the late 1800s. Children have a wonderful way of making fun where they find it and children of yesterday were no exception. It is a beautiful day in the city, and these children are forgoing one of the city's many playgrounds to make the most of this unattended cart.

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Broadway and Park Place, 1914

Broadway and Park Place, 1914
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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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