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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Madison Square Garden, 1924

Madison Square Garden, 1924

The second Madison Square Garden, seen here decorated for the 1924 Democratic National Convention, was located at East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, where the New York Life Building stands today. This incarnation of the Garden replaced a more primitive open-air arena. Designed by the famed architect Stanford White in 1890, it was also the site of his 1906 murder by socialite Harry K. Thaw over White's affair with Thaw's wife, the actress Evelyn Nesbit. The building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style and boasted a roof garden restaurant.

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Statue of Diana atop Madison Square Garden, circa 1925

Statue of Diana atop Madison Square Garden, circa 1925

There was a time when Madison Square Garden was located at Madison Square, on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, in what is today called the Flatiron District. In this black and white photograph, taken shortly before the demolition of this Madison Square Garden, we see the famed Statue of Diana by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This is actually the second version of the statue. Both the sculptor and the architect of the building, Stanford White, thought the original was too heavy at 18 feet tall and 1800 pounds, so Gaudens made a shorter, hollow version.

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Pennsylvania Station, Prior to Opening, 1910

Pennsylvania Station, Prior to Opening, 1910

In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad Station, or Penn Station, opened to the public. The building, which was torn down in 1963 prompting the creation of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission, had been designed by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in the Beaux-Arts style. The interior concourse, which you see in this black and white photograph taken just prior to the station's completion in 1910, was inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla.

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Broadway and 8th Street, 1937

Broadway and 8th Street, 1937

Looking north along Broadway from 8th Street in this photo, taken on June 13, 1937, one sees two rows of parked cars lining the curbs, and two pairs of streetcar tracks running down the middle of Broadway. Grace Church, which was consecrated in 1846 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, occupies the center of the frame and what was then the Annex to John Wanamaker's Department Store is on the right.

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Construction of Stuyvesant Town, 1947

Construction of Stuyvesant Town, 1947

This black and white photograph, taken in early 1947, shows the early stages of the construction of Stuyvesant Town. The photographer shoots east along 14th Street from an elevated position on First Avenue. In the distance, to the south and east one can see the Williamsburg Bridge. A few years before this photo was taken this area was known as the Gas House District because of the large Gas Tanks in the area.

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Horace Ashton, Photographing the Construction of the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

Horace Ashton, Photographing the Construction of the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

In this black and white photograph, taken in 1907, an unknown photographer has captured the intrepid Horace Ashton, sitting on a girder above the East River, capturing the view from his own unique perspective. At this time, Ashton was probably working for the Underwood & Underwood studio.

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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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Empire State Building Under Construction, Late 1930

Empire State Building Under Construction, Late 1930

The Empire State Building may no longer be the tallest building in the world, but it is easily one of the most recognizable. It holds a place in pop culture that few man-made structures ever attain, most probably thanks to a giant fictional gorilla. In this black and white photograph, King Kong's exploits are still a couple of years off. The building is incomplete, its dirigible dock is still under construction.

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Herald Square with Streetcars and the Sixth Avenue Elevated Train, 1899

Herald Square with Streetcars and the Sixth Avenue Elevated Train, 1899

Herald Square, pictured here in 1899, was named after the New York Herald, the largest circulation newspaper of the time. The New York Herald Building was designed by McKim, Mead & White, and constructed in 1895. Herald Square could be called the ancestor of Times Square as the hub of New York City life. At the intersection of Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and 34th Street, with access to the Sixth Avenue Elevated Train and numerous streetcars, it was certainly a pre-eminent crossroads, well-trafficked enough to entice Macy's to open their flagship store there in 1907.

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