Washington Square

Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, 1930

Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, 1930

To photograph this street scene from the winter of 1930, the photographer stood in Fifth Avenue, his back to Washington Square Park, and aimed his camera north. From his point of view, it was probably an unremarkable winter morning. Traffic flowed in both directions, pedestrians went about their business, and off in the distance the 14th Street Traffic Tower ensured that everyone kept moving along. For us, however, this photograph is a remarkable moment in time. The cars, the style of dress, and the Traffic Tower itself are all artifacts of a New York City that is no more.

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New York City Christmas, Washington Square Park, 1950

New York City Christmas, Washington Square Park, 1950

There's something magical about Christmastime in New York City.  The cold air, the smell of chestnuts, the extra hustle and bustle -- all of these things play into it, but it's also the sights, the images, that stay with you, like this Christmas tree lit up in front of the Washington Arch. There's an almost holy peace captured in this black and white photograph. Despite the absence of snow, you can feel the icy air and almost see your breath frosting in front of you. You can feel the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Past.

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Original Washington Square Arch, 1890

Original Washington Square Arch, 1890
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Washington Square Arch, 1905

Washington Square Arch, 1905

The Washington Square Arch was erected to commemorate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration. This is not that arch. This arch was erected in 1892 to replace the temporary plaster and wooden structure which spanned Fifth Avenue just north of the park. In this photo, we are looking at the north face of the permanent marble arch designed by Stanford White. Absent are the two statues of George Washington, which were added in 1918.

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