Old New York In Photos #104 – Mystery Church & Street In New York City

A New York City Tree Lined Street With A Church – Where Is This?

Street in New York City and Vicinity circa 1870s possibly 34th Street looking west Broadway TabernacleAt first glance you might think this would be some rural village scene, not New York City.

But this old stereoview photograph has identification which says, American Scenery; N.Y. City & Vicinity and 1285.

I do not know where this is. The photograph appears to be from the late 1860s / early 1870s, based upon the sparse surrounding scenery and architecture. Below is the original stereoview:

Broadway Tabernacle possibly in this unmarked stereoview which says NY City and Vicinity and nothing else.Looking at the church, it has a strong resemblance to the Broadway Tabernacle which was constructed in 1857 and stood on the northeast corner of 34th Street and Sixth Avenue.

If it is the Broadway Taberbnacle we would be looking west along 34th Street towards Sixth Avenue. The Sixth Avenue Elevated was not under construction until the mid-1870s.  But the street proportions do not make sense. The corner closest to us which is undeveloped would be Fifth Avenue?  How could there be buildings to the rear of the church, if that is not itself an avenue?

The stereoview scene looks more like we are looking up or down an avenue not a street, even a wide one like 34th Street.

Below is a photo of the Broadway Tabernacle taken in 1901. Across Sixth Avenue, along Broadway, Macy’s Department Store is under construction.

Broadway Tabernacle c. 1901The similarity between the Broadway Tabernacle and our stereoview is in the tower section of the church and its Gothic arches at the top, along with the spires that are on top of it. There is also the slanted roof which is about the right height in comparison to the tower. There are also small brownstone buildings that are immediately adjacent to the church in both photographs. Are they the same? I am unsure.

So we will ask our readers: does anyone have any ideas where the stereoview was taken?

4 thoughts on “Old New York In Photos #104 – Mystery Church & Street In New York City

  1. Matthew P. Seltzer

    Could this be the Martha Memorial [Dutch] Reformed Church? It would have been located on W. 52 St. near Ninth Ave. My g-grandfather, the Rev. Frederick W. Fox, founded it, but, other than written records from Franklin and Marshall College in PA, I have no photos. There was some connection between the Broadway Tabernacle and Martha Memorial but I am not sure of the nature of it. The NY Historical Society has papers from both the Broadway Tabernacle and Martha Memorial.

  2. Ronnie

    As a real estate agent I can verify it and it’s now just a distant memory.
    That’s one of my many old neighborhoods, Jackson Heights Queens!

    A quick search in ACRIS as well as the city digital tax grid, based off of the Block (#1285) and it would have been Roosevelt Ave and 37th Rd and 74th thru 73rd Streets.

  3. Anthony D Clum

    I think it’s the same. The gothic style, the flying buttress, the pointy spires flanking the south entrance of the tabernacle, and the building directly to the east having the same general proportion as other verified photos. The odds of two nearly identical large churches in the New York area are slim. What congregation in the same metro area would so copy a nearby church? The photo could have been taken shortly after it’s construction, say 1860s. Broadway should cross to the west, but it’s hard to tell if there is any break in any of those buildings down the street. 34th St. was wide, even then.

  4. Close@Hand

    It is not the same as the Broadway Tabernacle. The proportion of the triangular peak over the window to that of the window just does not mtach.


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