Category Archives: Old New York In Postcards

Series: Postcards of Old New York

Old New York in Postcards #6

Rare Postcards Of The Upper West Side And Harlem 1900 – 1915

Broadway and 141st Street Looking North circa 1903

Broadway and 141st Street Looking North circa 1903

Most old postcards depicting turn of the century New York City usually show the typical tourist attractions, landmarks and notable buildings of the city.

It was uncommon for the big postcard manufacturers to produce postcards of average streets, buildings or scenes in New York City for people to send to their friends back home. After all who wanted to see an apartment building on 117th Street and Seventh Avenue?

That is what makes these scenes of New York City and upper Manhattan rather unique. They feature the areas not frequented by tourists. They are photographs, rather than illustrations, and were typically produced in small quantities by smaller or unnamed card manufacturers. The absence of vehicles and people on the streets belies the rapid housing development that occurred in upper Manhattan during the time.  Click on any postcard to enlarge.

Broadway 86th St Euclid HallEuclid Hall Apartments 2349 Broadway, northwest corner of Broadway and 86th Street. This view shows the Euclid Hall Apartments which was built in 1903 by Hill and Turner is a heavily ornamented seven story red brick building. It is still standing and the ground floor has been modernized and now houses commercial businesses.

Broadway 98th Street The WilliamThe William Apartments looking west at 243 West 98th Street, northwest corner of Broadway and 98th Street. The William, a seven story building was completed in 1899 and is currently a condominium. To the right of The William behind the trees is the Arragon at 2611 Broadway. Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #5

Postcards of Old New York –  Featuring Broadway and Fifth Avenue

These postcards generally depict New York from 1900 – 1920. We are concentrating this batch on the well traveled areas of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

pc Broadway S Warren St

As the brief description on the card says we are looking south and east along Broadway from Warren Street. The trees on the left belong to City Hall Park. The wide building with the large central rotunda is the General Post Office which was demolished in 1939. Behind the Post Office stands The Park Row Building which was once the tallest office building in the world when it was completed in 1899. The Singer Building surpassed the height of The Park Row Building in 1908. To the right of The Park Row Building stands the 26 story St. Paul Building built in 1907 and demolished in 1958.

Interesting to note: the flags are at half-staff on the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company Building on the right. Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #4

Public Schools In The Bronx In The Early 20th Century

Most of these postcards are from between 1905 -1925.  Some public schools were quaint schoolhouses as the Bronx was rural in most areas.

Click on any image to enlarge

PS 7 in Kingsbridge or referred to here as Kings Bridge.

PS 44 Prospect Avenue and East 176th Street Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #3 – A Tale of Three Buildings: Franconi’s Hippodrome, The Fifth Avenue Hotel & The Fifth Avenue Building

A Tale of Three Buildings: Franconi’s Hippodrome, The Fifth Avenue Hotel & The Fifth Avenue Building a.k.a. The Toy Center

The west side of Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets had been country land well into the middle of the 19th century. The land for many years had been occupied by a quaint tavern and horse changing station.

Franconi’s Hippodrome- Fifth Avenue 23rd -24th Streets (click to enlarge)

On this site in March 1853, Henri Franconi, a European from a long line of equestrian performers, arranged with investors to have an amphitheater built which was then called Franconi’s Hippodrome. This precursor of the modern day circus with performers, animals and chariot races was housed in a large structure shaped like an ellipse and was 338  feet by 196 1/2 feet that could seat 10,000 people and was covered by a red, white and blue canvas supported by a center pole 70 feet in height and a circle of smaller poles 40 feet in height.

It opened on Monday, May 2, 1853, and The New York Daily Times was not impressed with the class of people attending the Hippodrome shows. Attendees they said “…were blacklegs, gamblers, rowdies, and the miscellanea of polite roguery and blackguardism.”  The reporter added “The Hippodrome is badly conducted and Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #2

A Longer Tour Around Old New York

Today we will look at the old hotels of New York.  In some cases these buildings still stand. For others the names have changed. Some have been converted to apartments or other uses. And some are just a memory.  Working our way from south to north let’s look at a dozen of the lesser known of New York’s hostelry’s.

Hotel Marlton just off of 5th avenue circa 1920. The center of Greenwich Village and now a street of endless cut price shoe stores, 8th Street was once a fashionable residential neighborhood. Many famous literary and artistic figures resided at the Hotel Marlton at one time. Starting in 1987 the Marlton was leased as a residence for students of The New School of Social Research. It is now closed as a hotel and a dormitory, and its future is undecided.  Notice on the side of the hotel there is an advertisement for the hotel proclaiming it “absolutely fireproof.” There was a  good reason for touting this feature. On St. Patrick’s Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #1

A Short Postcard Tour Around New York circa 1900-1915 Part 1

How much has New York City changed? If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a postcard worth? These are all about 100 years old. Let’s start with these five views. We’ll be doing this feature regularly.


Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street looking North approximately 1915


Broadway looking North from Union Square circa 1910


Centre Street 1900


University Street & 9th Street showing Cafe and Hotel Lafayette circa 1914

Park Row showing The Old Post Office looking southwest 1900