New York City commercial photographer John S. Johnston took this photo a few minutes before 1:00 pm on a lively day in 1895. We are looking north from 33rd Street where Sixth Avenue and Broadway converge to form Herald Square.
This vantage point from the Sixth Avenue Elevated station’s platform was a favorite for many photographers in the 19th century.
In the center stands the New York Herald newspaper building. The paper had just moved from Park Row to its new headquarters designed by McKim Mead and White in 1894.
A train is about to pull into the Sixth Avenue Elevated 33rd Street Station. Trolleys and horse drawn carriages share Broadway’s wide street and the sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians.
The large painted advertisement on the side of its building marks the eight story Hotel Normandie which was completed in 1884 and located at Broadway and 38th Street.
Years after our photograph of Herald Square was taken, the Hotel Normandie received a new advertising sign, but not for advertising the hotel.
On June 18, 1910 the Hotel Normandie unveiled one of the largest moving illuminated advertising signs in the world on its roof. The sign showed a Roman chariot race with three chariots appearing to race one another speeding around an arena. The sign had 20,000 white and colored lights and astounded crowds of people who gawked at its illusion of movement.
How The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons Looked in 1936 – Snapshots Taken From Broadway & 92nd Street
Macy’s Parade 1936 120 foot long Dragon balloon
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924. In 1928 helium filled balloons made their first appearance. By the early 1930’s over one million people were attending the parade.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade held on November 26, 1936 was quite a different affair than it is today.
At 1 pm on 110th Street near the south wall of The Church of St. John the Divine just off of Amsterdam Avenue, the paraders and balloons lined up and made their way west to Broadway. The parade route then remained on Broadway for its entire length until it reached Herald Square. There were 2,311 policemen assigned special parade duty along the route, with mounted men to lead the march and bring up the rear. As incredible as this may seem, on the main crosstown arteries of 34th, 42nd and 59th streets, traffic was let through, even if it meant temporarily halting the parade.
Herald Square (Before It Became, Herald Square) circa 1888
34th Street where Sixth Avenue and Broadway intersect is known as Herald Square because the New York Herald newspaper had their building located there. It was designed and completed in 1894 by the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. The building was torn down in two phases, 1928 and 1940.
This photograph predates the naming of Herald Square. The 71st Infantry Regiment (not their armory, which was on 34th Street and Park Avenue) two story building occupies the triangular spot on the right side that would become the location for the Herald’s building.
Macy’s moved uptown from 14th Street to the Herald Square area in 1902.
The train tracks in the lower right side of the photo are part of the Sixth Avenue Elevated. It was opened in 1876 and closed in 1938 and finally demolished in 1939. There was a much believed rumor that scrap metal from the elevated was sold to Japan and the Japanese then used that steel to make munitions that were used against the United States in World War II.