A Small Cottage On Broadway (Boulevard & 123rd Street)
At first glance this might appear to be a small home in rural New Jersey, Kentucky or maybe South Dakota. It is in fact the northeast corner of The Boulevard and 123rd Street. The Grand Boulevard or simply Boulevard is the old name for Broadway above 59th Street and a street sign is visible at the top of the light pole.
The photograph was taken around 1895 by Robert Bracklow (1849-1919), a member of the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York, which became the Camera Club of New York in 1896 and exhibited Bracklow’s photographs along with those of Richard H. Lawrence and Alfred Stieglitz.
The Street Light & Sign
Bracklow took two photographs of this scene moments apart. This second photograph of the street shows more of the vista. The apartment buildings behind the trees on the northern side of 125th Street reveal an urban setting. The Broadway / Boulevard trolley tracks are clearly visible.
The Same Corner
The 1891 Bromley Atlas of New York City shows how few structures are in this area. The house in our two photographs is on the map in the middle of of lot 1 (yellow rectangle below lot 4).
The wood building is a dilapidated cottage where at least one of the inhabitants, an older woman, is visible near the fence in both photographs. The 1900 census lists Jeremiah Hanafin a day laborer age 40 born in Ireland living at this location. The other occupants are Jeremiah’s wife of 16 years, Catherine age 45, and their 13-year-old son John.
The cottage has no plumbing facilities as evidenced by the outhouse to the right of the cottage.
The cart parked on the corner has an illegible name written on it. There’s a good chance that this man and his horse go with the cart, as the horse still has its harness attached to its rein lines for pulling.
Ripping up these upper Broadway streets began in 1900 for the construction of the IRT subway. The little cottage was torn down soon after and in 1908 Regent Hall, a six story apartment building was erected. 3100 Broadway where the cottage and Regent Hall stood is now home to a parking lot and 1957 apartment building. The building is part of Morningside Gardens, a 984 family middle-income cooperative covering the entire block.