Southwest Overview of Pennsylvania Station, 1910

Southwest Overview of Pennsylvania Station, 1910

In 1910, New York City opened its Temple of Transportation. In this photograph, taken shortly after the opening of Pennsylvania Station, we can see McKim, Mead & White's neo-classical monument in all its glory. Covering more than 7 acres, Penn Station was the largest indoor space in New York City and one of the largest public spaces in the world.

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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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Pennsylvania Station Restaurant, 1910

Pennsylvania Station Restaurant, 1910

In 1910, Pennsylvania Station was the paragon of New York elegance. This restaurant, populated by ghosts thanks to the photograph's long exposure, is a far cry from the fast food joints of today's Penn Station. Not only did one enter the city like a god, one was expected to eat like a human being.

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Broadway and West 106th Street, 1900

Broadway and West 106th Street, 1900

In this photo, taken on September 25, 1900, we look north along the Broadway center mall from West 106th Street. To the left is a triangular green space, bounded by 106th Street, Broadway, and West End Avenue, which would eventually be named Strauss Park, after Isidor and Ida Strauss, who perished in the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.

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Eighth Avenue and Bleecker Street, 1908

Eighth Avenue and Bleecker Street, 1908

In this 1908 black and white photo, a horsecar (a streetcar pulled by horses) passes Abingdon Square Park. The park is one of the oldest in New York City, the quarter-acre plot it's on having been acquired by the city in 1831. The southern tip of the triangular green-space is at the intersection of Bleecker Street and Eighth Avenue or Abingdon Square.

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Immigrants Awaiting Examination, Ellis Island, c. 1910

Immigrants Awaiting Examination, Ellis Island, c. 1910

This crowd of immigrants waits in line at Ellis Island to be examined before being admitted to the United States. Their clothing bespeaks their relative wealth, compared to many others who passed through this way-station. Regardless of their economic means, these were incredible people, willling to leave everything behind in search of a better life.

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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 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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34th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, 1937

34th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, 1937

In this black and white photograph from 1937, a man crosses West 34th Street in the middle of the block between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, pausing for traffic as he heads toward the Macy's entrance. The movie theater across the street is playing "The Longest Night" and "Come and Get It."

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Broadway and West 43rd Street, 1939

Broadway and West 43rd Street, 1939

Times Square in 1939 differs from the Times Square of today only in the details. The Internation Casino may now be Toys R Us, but the essential nature of the place is unchanged. Traffic, enormous signs and advertisements, and throngs of people are still the order of the day.

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