midtown

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

At the time this black and white photograph was taken in 1930, the Chrysler Building was brand new and had the distinction of being the tallest building in the world. It took that crown from 40 Wall Street, which held if for only a few weeks, and yielded it less than a year later to the Empire State Building.

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The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 1911

The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 1911

This view of the New York Public Library, taken in 1911 from the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, shows the entranceway of the newly constructed building before the famous lions were installed. Streetcars, horsecars, and numerous pedestrians can be seen in the foreground.

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Broadway and 45th Street, 1915

Broadway and 45th Street, 1915

In this black and white photograph from September 26, 1915, we see the Loews New York theater at 45th and Broadway. The signs boast continuous performance from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Today's showing was Trilby, released on September 20, the drama, set in England and France, was filmed in Fort Lee, NJ. The theater was demolished in 1935, but in 20 years of operation reportedly sold 50 million tickets.

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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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Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

In this amazing shot, taken in 1940, a squadron of B-17 bombers flies over Midtown Manhattan. One of the planes appears to be impaled on the spire of the Empire State Building. Also visible in the shot are the Chrysler Building and the original Pennsylvania Station, and beyond are the East River and Queens.

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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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Pennsylvania Station, Prior to Opening, 1910

Pennsylvania Station, Prior to Opening, 1910

In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad Station, or Penn Station, opened to the public. The building, which was torn down in 1963 prompting the creation of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission, had been designed by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in the Beaux-Arts style. The interior concourse, which you see in this black and white photograph taken just prior to the station's completion in 1910, was inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla.

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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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Midtown Manhattan Overview from West 31st Street, c. 1930

Midtown Manhattan Overview from West 31st Street, c. 1930

In this black and white photo from the early 1930s, the camera looks northwest from West 31st Street, taking in the roof of Penn Station and the high-rises that have grown up around it.

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