Skyline

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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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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Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Looking westward across the East River from the Brooklyn shore beneath the Manhattan Bridge in the mid-1950s, one could see the Manhattan skyline from the Lower East Side to Midtown. Today there are more highrises along Manhattan's eastern shore, but the apartment houses on the Lower East Side are still there, and the Empire State Building is still visible, although it no longer towers above it neighbors.

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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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A Squadron of U.S. Navy Biplanes Flies of Madison Square Park, 1930

A Squadron of U.S. Navy Biplanes Flies of Madison Square Park, 1930

On this beautiful day in 1930, two squadrons of U.S. Navy planes can be seeing flying over Union Square and Madison Square Parks. The Metropolitan Life Tower lives up to its name, towering over the remainder of the skyline, including the not-so-tall Flatiron building, which cuts like the prow of a ship through the confluence of Fifth Avenue and Broadway.  Drivers of today should look on in envy at the traffic -- or lack thereof -- passing through the famed intersection.

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Aerial View of Lower Manhattan, c. 1930

Aerial View of Lower Manhattan, c. 1930

In this eastern-looking aerial photograph of Lower Manhattan and Tribeca, taken around 1930, one gets a view of many of the most notable structures of the day, including the Woolworth Building, the Municipal Building, City Hall and the Post Office, as well as the Federal Courthouse, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Aside from the Woolworth and Municipal Buildings nothing in view could be called a skyscraper. It's is a very different Lower Manhattan Skyline than today's.

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Aerial Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Croton Reservoir, 1929

Aerial Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Croton Reservoir, 1929

This aerial photograph, taken in the late 1920s, offers a view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lower Reservoir in Central Park, and the skyline of Central Park West. The Lower Reservoir was drained in 1930, having become redundant some years before, and was filled in to create the Great Lawn. During the early years of the Depression, the site became a Hooverville, until Robert Moses ushered the project along in the mid-1930s.

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Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

In this black and white photograph from 1909, we see a group of men and ladies with parasols standing in Madison Square Park, observing the construction of the Metropolitan Life Tower. The main building had been constructed over a decade and half before.  The architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons modeled the tower after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. It was the world's tallest building for three years, until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building.

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Photographing New York City, 1905

Photographing New York City, 1905

In this black and white photograph taken in 1905, a man with a camera perches on a steel girder at East 19th Street and Fifth Avenue. The viewer looks north, towards the Flatiron Building, while photographer shoots west. Lord & Taylor can be seen between the girder and the photographer's dangling leg. Lord & Taylor, which is the oldest upscale retail department store in the United States, moved to the Ladies' Mile location you see here in 1870, more than three decades before the construction of the Flatiron Building three blocks north.

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