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Oktoberfest circa 1947 on East 86th Street

Oktoberfest circa 1947 on East 86th Street

Germantown doesn't exist anymore. Even Yorkville is an unfamiliar term to present-day Upper East Siders. But until as recently as the 1990s, East 86th Street hosted many German restaurants, butcher shops, and pastry shops, and at the time of this photograph in the late 1940s, East 86th Street was known as the German Broadway. Nowadays, Oktoberfest is an excuse for Yuppies to go on a pub crawl and puke in the street, but as this photo attests, the finer elements of the tradition have been lost.

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Amsterdam Avenue and West 96th Street, 1919

Amsterdam Avenue and West 96th Street, 1919

By the dawn of the Jazz Age, the Upper West Side was already starting to take on its modern appearance. Twenty years before, buildings would have been sparse, but by the time this photo was taken in 1919, apartment buildings had sprouted along the avenue as far as the eye could see. However, they still had much growing to do; St. Michael's Episcopal Church, on West 99th Street, towers above the "seedling" dwellings of the UWS of this era.

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Aerial Overview of the Statue of Liberty and Upper New York Bay, 1956

Aerial Overview of the Statue of Liberty and Upper New York Bay, 1956

The Statue of Liberty stands at the entrance to New York Harbor, welcoming all to the land of liberty. Looking past her, you can see a string of barges heading into the harbor and an Ocean Liner heading out. Beyond them are the Lower Manhattan Skyline and the East River bridges. The golden age of transatlantic sailing  was coming to an end by this time, and the era of jet travel was about to begin.

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The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartment building, with its twin tower construction, epitomizes Upper West Side luxury. Construction began in 1929 and completed shortly before this photograph was taken in 1932. Many of the larger apartments had to be subdivided during the Great Depression to make them more affordable to renters. Since then, the New York real estate market has changed dramatically, and now the San Remo is amongst the most expensive locations in Manhattan, housing many wealthy business tycoons and celebrities.

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