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View from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1909

View from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1909

Remember the opening of Welcome Back Kotter with the shot of the sign that reads, "Brooklyn, 4th Largest City in America"? Well, what was true in the 1970s was also true in the turn of the Twentieth Century. Seen from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1909, Brooklyn is clearly a thriving industrial metropolis, a worthy companion to her sister across the river. Had the five boroughs not consolidated into Greater New York in 1898 and remained independent cities, Brooklyn would today be the largest of them.

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New York Central Railroad Train on Eleventh Avenue, 1929

New York Central Railroad Train on Eleventh Avenue, 1929

Before the West Side Improvement Project created the High Line, trains ran down Tenth and Eleventh Avenue. Here a New York Central Freight Train heads south on Eleventh. A flagman, or West Side Cowboy, should be preceding the train, but in this shot is out of the frame. The train is passing the George Kern building. Kern was a packing, wholesale, and retail distributor of pork and beef products, which was bought by Adolf Gobel, Inc., in 1927 for $10 million.

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Third Avenue Elevated Station at East 42nd Street, 1915

Third Avenue Elevated Station at East 42nd Street, 1915

This particular station on the Third Avenue Elevated line opened for business in 1878 and remained open until the main line of the Third Avenue El was shut down in 1955. In this shot, taken on March 5, 1915, we look north along the track from East 41st Street toward the platforms at 42nd Street with a southbound local in the distance.

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Pennsylvania Station at Night, c. 1922

Pennsylvania Station at Night, c. 1922

What have we lost? Prior to the establishment of the Landmarks Commission, many wonderful buildings were torn down in the name of progress. Perhaps none was a greater loss than the original Penn Station. In this exterior night shot, it looks a worthy successor to the Roman monuments it was meant to evoke.

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