Fifth Avenue Between 26th & 27th Street – The Old Hotel Brunswick
The Hotel Brunswick
This photograph shows the east side of Fifth Avenue from 27th to 26th Street in 1903. Above the Cremo cigar billboard on the eight story building in the center is an announcement. The General Building and Construction Company will be razing the site for the new 20 story Hotel Brunswick beginning June 1, 1903. The new hotel would contain 1,000 rooms. The old Hotel Brunswick (with the four large billboards) closed in 1896.
The backers of this scheme went into foreclosure and the site was sold on September 23, 1905, for $2,565,907. The hotel was never built and a 12 story office building by architects Francis H. Kimball and Harry E. Donnell was erected in 1907. The Brunswick Building is now a New York City designated landmark and was converted to apartments in 2006.
So why did our photographer take a picture of relatively mundane buildings? To document their passing? Probably. This photo also shows the home of The Detroit Publishing Company. Their retail shop is in the building immediately to the left at 229 Fifth Avenue.
Directly above the Detroit Photographic Company are tailors and shirt makers George H. Fullencamp and Samuel L. McGonigal. That may be the partners standing by their window.
While awaiting demolition the developers could make some money in lieu of rent. This explains the huge billboards that have gone up over the windows. Most of the buildings are or about to be vacant as seen by signs on the ground floor of some of the stores.
As miraculous as it may seem Lea & Perrin’s Original Worcestershire Sauce has survived into the twenty-first century. Amolin Deodorizing Powder on the other hand is no longer around. If you are wondering what “For Special Toilet Uses” means – it is for the unspeakable in 1903 – sprinkling on women’s sanitary pads to absorb odor.
The other advertisements covering the old Hotel Brunswick on the northeast corner of 26th Street are rather straightforward. The same, but larger, ad for Lea & Perrin’s. Benedictine proclaims they have “the best Cordial.” Bacardi currently owns Benedictine.
Pe-Ru-Na a quack patent medicine was popular for curing all Catarrhal (mucus buildup) diseases. Perhaps the reason Pe-Ru-Na was so popular was that it contained 28% alcohol.
Whereas with Wilson High Ball at least you knew you were downing hard liquor. Is it just me or does the gentleman in the ad look like a voracious alcoholic trying to get every last drop of booze out of that glass?
The strangest ad by far is for Ross’s Royal Belfast Ginger Ale with the tagline “The Safest Summer Drink.” What does this mean? Safe in what way? Non-alocholic? It appears the exploding ginger ale bottle is interrupting the mating activity of two canines.
According to the Ross’s own literature, Belfast, Ireland is apparently well known for aerated waters to produce soda. Besides that fact, I could find nothing that would explain the tagline or the dog image.
You May Not Notice
Some things you have to look more closely at to pick up.