Old New York In Photos #117 – Corner Cornelia & West 4th Street

Cornelia & West 4th Street Greenwich Village August 25, 1900

Cornelia St West 4th Street Aug 25 1900 photo Robert Bracklow

This portrait of a group of children in the heart of Greenwich Village was taken 120 years ago today.

Photographer Robert Bracklow frequently traversed the city taking pictures of city scenes.

Today nothing from Bracklow’s Cornelia Street photo remains except the street itself. This is what the intersection looks like in 2020 from West 4th Street looking south. The Coca Cola truck is on Sixth Avenue. Cornelia Street is on the right.

The Details

At the turn-of-the-century this area of the Village was inhabited by the working class and poor. A photographer coming around to take pictures was an unusual sight. The ragamuffins flocked to pose for Bracklow with many smiling for the cameraman.

I especially like these two affectionate chums on the extreme left.

Cornelia street like many New York City streets in 1900 has Belgian Block pavement. The sturdy Belgian Block  is most likely still there beneath the current asphalt covering.

William H. Housener Jr., builder occupies the two story carpenter shop with exterior stairs and a broken pane of window glass.

Atop Housener’s shop half a billboard remains displaying two ads; one unidentifiable; the other for Red Raven Spirits for conquering constipation.

On the side of the building are paste up ads. One is for Edmund F “Hanks Dentists”who had a large dental practice nearby at 205 Sixth Avenue. Another ad heralds a revival at The Casino Theatre: The Belle of New York, a musical in two acts. Unfortunately it ran only 24 performances from January through February 1900. Mr Daniel Sully was about to open at Haverly’s 14th Street Theatre on August 30 in The Parish Priest. The production closed in October. Gibson N. Vincent at 171 Sixth Avenue has the most ads, (there are many more further down the block) with serge suits for sale at $6.50. That’s about half a week’s salary for a blue collar worker.

Beyond the carpenter shop to the extreme left a glimpse can be had of the railing and supports for the Sixth Avenue El.

Finally, every New Yorker wants beauty in their lives and a Cornelia Street resident on the second floor has plants in the window boxes.

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