Old New York In Photos #124 – Central Park & The Dakota 1889

Central Park On A Sunny Day In 1889

It is 1889 and we are looking west across Central Park on 72nd Street towards the Dakota flats apartment building. Unlike today, there are no bicycle lanes, rollerbladers or joggers on the roadway. And the park seems to be bereft of crowds. But the photograph, taken by the Albertype Co., does record a view in which all the elements seen are still present over 130 years later.

In 2021 there are still mounted police patrolling Central Park. Behind this mounted policeman a horse drawn carriage ambles crosstown.

The policeman observes the small group on the sidewalk who have stopped to gaze at the cameraman taking the picture.

The group includes a boy, and a well dressed woman with a child being held by a servant under the umbrella.

To the left of the pedestrians, on the bluff is the statue The Falconer which was installed in the park in 1875.

Placed in the park the following year along the West Drive is the heroic size monument to Daniel Webster. Daniel Webster was a gifted lawyer, United States Congressman, Senator, Presidential nominee, Secretary of State and a phenomenal orator.

Stop a New Yorker on the street and ask them who Daniel Webster was. The “dictionary guy,” many might guess. I’ll bet ninety-five out of hundred people would have no idea because Webster’s life is not taught in schools anymore.

Finally, directly behind Webster’s statue is one of New York’s most famous residences, The Dakota. The highly desirable co-op apartments come on the market infrequently and when they do, they sell for big money.

One interesting fact about The Dakota: when it was built in 1884, its top floors which have some of the best views of the park were utilized as the living quarters for many of the residents servants!

1 thought on “Old New York In Photos #124 – Central Park & The Dakota 1889

  1. Brian

    I went to NYC with a church group in December 1980, about a week after John Lennon had been shot and killed in front of the Dakota. A group of us went to the Dakota to have a look, but there were still so many crowds that we couldn’t get near the building.

    Regarding servants on the upper floors of the Dakota: it wasn’t until the invention of elevators that upper floor became fashionable and desirable. Before then, street-level dwellings were the prime real estate.


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