trolley

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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Amsterdam Avenue and West 125th Street, 1927

Amsterdam Avenue and West 125th Street, 1927

If it weren't for the date inscribed on the negative, one would never know this was a fall day in 1927. Neither the clothing nor the very few trees give anything away. Here the photographer shoots south along Amsterdam towards Columbia University. Nowadays, you'd see the bridge across Amsterdam between the Main Campus and the East Campus where the Law and SIPA buildings are located. In 1927 neither the buildings nor the bridge had been built yet.

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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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Bowery and Canal Street, 1929

Bowery and Canal Street, 1929

February 11, 1929 looks like it was a pleasant day on the Lower East Side. The Twenties were still Roaring, with the stock market crash still 8 months away, and these New Yorkers were going about their business, hustling along the snowless streets, on foot, in cars, or on streetcars, or riding above it all on the open air trains of the Third Avenue Elevated. Elsewhere in the world, Benito Mussolini and the Pope's representative were signing the Lateran Pact, giving the Vatican autonomy from Italy, and former Brooklynite and Bowery Boy Al Capone was planning the St.

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Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Looking East from East 59th Street and Second Avenue across the Queensboro Bridge on this day in 1920, one sees an Elevated Train car, a few trucks and motor cars, and a few pedestrians.  This cantilever bridge opened in March 1909, and approximately 11 years into its existence, seems very much underutilized.  Not so, today. Today there is no time of day or night when significantly more than half a dozen vehicles will be found crossing its spans. 

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Delancey and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Delancy and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Imagine coming off the Williamsburg Bridge into this mess at Delancey and Clinton Streets on the Lower East Side.  It's enough to send you right back to Brooklyn.  The traffic jam depicted in this 1923 Black and White photo shows a snarl up of cars, trolleys, and the Third Avenue Rail line.  Even by today's standards this is vehicular congestion of epic proportions.

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