Broadway on the Upper West Side Close-up Circa 1908
Details Of Life and Architecture From One Photograph
From the Detroit Publishing Company comes a great photograph showing the busy thoroughfare of Broadway on the upper west side of Manhattan. The photo above is just one detailed portion of the main photograph (see below).
By zooming in we can clearly observe details otherwise unnoticed. We see three children taking in the sights of the city while riding in the back of an open horse drawn wagon. Pedestrians walk across the street without being too concerned about the light vehicular traffic. Notice the woman in the center of the photo holding up her dress slightly so it did not scrape the street. But it wasn’t just women who were careful: all New Yorkers had to be rather adept at avoiding horse urine and manure that littered the streets. On the right, horse waste can clearly be seen near the man stepping off the curb.
But where exactly are we on Broadway?
Here is the answer…
We are looking north on Broadway from 70th Street to about 79th Street. There are two main buildings that stand out in the photograph. On the right between 71st and 72nd Streets is The Dorilton, an exceptionally ornate apartment building by architects Janes & Leo, completed in 1902. On the left on the northwest corner of 73nd Street, just beyond the subway station, is the Ansonia Apartment Hotel completed in 1904.
Zooming in again on the details in the center portion of the photo, trolley number 3061 makes its way down Broadway, passing the subway station of the IRT at 72nd Street. It appears workers are repairing or painting the doors leading to the station.
Now let’s look at some other details.
An fine example of electric street lighting is on display between 70th and 71st Streets. To the right of the 72nd Street subway station stands the monument to the Italian composer, Giuseppe Verdi. On the corner of 71st Street we see a bishops crook lamppost with a street sign indicator telling traffic and pedestrians that this is indeed 71st Street and Broadway. North of 73rd Street we can see trees lining the east side of the street with fancy lampposts spread along Broadway’s center median.
A close-up of the Ansonia. Directly behind the trolley and in front of the Ansonia we can see the turret of Rutgers Presbyterian Church. To the left of the Church is the Hotel St. Andrew built by architect Andrew Craig in 1893, demolished 1937.
Further up Broadway beyond The Ansonia on 77th Street is the Hotel Belleclaire, (built 1903 by architect Emory Roth) with its large rooftop advertising sign. The luxury Apthorp Apartment Building (built 1906-1908 by architects Clinton & Russell) occupies the northeast corner of 79th Street and Broadway. All three buildings are still extant today.
Though the upper west side has changed in the last 100 years, many buildings along Broadway remain unchanged.