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. Continue reading
This photograph shows the east side of Fifth Avenue from 27th to 26th Street in 1903. Continue reading
When you say the words “old New York” a monochrome picture may materialize within you. What is old? It depends how old you are. To many people under the age of 40, the 1950s is considered ancient. To modern eyes, the 1950s was a black and white world because most movies were still not made in color and television sets were black and white.
So when you see the old Kodak Kodachrome moments, the pre-1960 vibrant colors still deliver a wow effect.
Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village marks the beginning of Fifth Avenue. Continue reading
Hollywood, Calif.: When a testimonial dinner honoring Emanuel Cohen, studio head, was given last night, all of filmdom turned out in their finest. Among the many stars present at the gala affair, were Queenie Smith, motion picture actress, accompanied by Cary Grant, handsome screen lover and estranged husband of Virginia Cherrill, beautiful motion picture actress. Hollywood wonders if this is a new romance. Credit photo: Wide World Photos 10/13/1934
For Cary Grant and Queenie Smith there was no romance. The publicity agents at Paramount made sure Grant escorted women to various Hollywood events. At the time Grant lived with actor Randolph Scott, an arrangement that lasted until the early 1940s. Cary wed heiress Barbara Hutton in 1942.
But, who was Emanuel Cohen?
Cohen is one of the forgotten behind the scene power brokers of the 1930s film world. As vice president in charge of production at Paramount Studios, Emanuel Cohen (1892-1977) was largely responsible for keeping Paramount afloat during the Great Depression. In the early 1930s the studio was essentially bankrupt. Continue reading
The Plaza, The Waldorf Astoria and the St. Regis have over a century of history. Those hostelry’s are the exception to longevity. Many of New York’s hotels are constantly in flux with ownership and name changes. Often smaller hotels have gone out of business because the real estate they sat upon was too valuable. Developers acquire the hotel and surrounding parcels and the hotel passes into history. Other times the buildings are spiffied up after years of neglect and converted from hotels to apartments.
Here are some views of the upper west side’s hotels of the past.
The Hotel Emerson at 166 West 75th Street off Broadway was a 300 room 16 story hotel opened in 1922, designed by Robert Lyons. In 1959 it became the Hotel Lincoln Square. The building has been remodeled and turned into rental apartments and is now named the Amstrdm. (That’s right, they cut out some vowels.) Continue reading
Fashionable ladies, trolleys, horse drawn vehicles and turn-of-the-century buildings abound in this picture of Long Acre Square otherwise known as Times Square.
This photograph looking south down Broadway from 45th Street is identified by the Library of Congress as Long Acre Square circa 1911. The date is close, only off by three years. At the end of the story we have a cropped high resolution version of the same scene and every detail is crystal clear.
Taking a closer look at the left side of the photograph we can see an ad for Richard Carle (1871-1941) in the musical comedy Mary’s Lamb in front of The New York Theatre. The show played from May 25 – September 5, 1908. Richard Carle not only starred, produced and staged Mary’s Lamb but wrote the book, music and lyrics! The amazing Carle would later appear in motion pictures acting in 45 films including Ninotchka, The Great McGinty and The Devil and Miss Jones
Next to the Mary’s Lamb advertising sign, is an advertisement for The Ziegfeld Follies, obviously of 1908, at the Jardin de Paris which ran from June 15 until September 4, 1908.
The Jardin De Paris, was part of the Olympia Theatre entertainment complex located at 1514-16 Broadway at 44th Street (opened November 25, 1895, demolished 1935). The Jardin de Paris was located on the roof of The New York Theatre.
Roof garden’s were popular around New York City at the turn of the century. There was no air conditioning in theaters so roof gardens gave audiences a chance to enjoy a show during the hot summer months out in the open air. The roof garden of The New York Theatre underwent many name changes depending on who was the manager of the theater. It was showman Florenz Ziegfeld who in 1907 renamed the space Jardin de Paris when he gave the evening’s entertainment a French atmosphere.
There is a small poster only visible in the high resolution photo, advertising Hattie Williams at The Criterion Theatre, also part of the Olympia complex. The Williams musical, Fluffy Ruffles, ran from September 7 – October 17, 1908.
Therefore this photo was taken in the summer of 1908.
On the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street we can see the signage and two buildings of the world famous Rector’s restaurant. Adjacent to Rector’s is the Hotel Cadillac. Behind the Hotel Cadillac, the tallest building visible is the Knickerbocker Hotel on 42nd Street. Much further in the distance almost looking like it is blocking Broadway’s continuation is Macy’s.
At the extreme right of the photo we can see a sliver of the New York Times Tower Building which gave Times Square the name it’s known by today.
Previous to being called Times Square this area was known as Long Acre or Longacre Square. In London, Long Acre was the name of the area where the horse and carriage businesses were located. In the 1870s New York’s carriage trade had settled in the 42nd – 47th street area and New Yorkers began calling the area Long Acre Square after the London counterpart. The first mention of Long Acre Square found in print is an 1883 New York Sun advertisement for Barrett House a hotel, at 42nd Street and Broadway.
Besides the obvious: the New York Times moving to the area and building their headquarters there, how did Long Acre Square become Times Square? Continue reading
This charming etching by Frank M. Gregory (1848-1927) comes from a limited edition book Representative Etchings By Artists of To-day In America by Ripley Hitchcock, 1887, Fredrick A Stokes. The book included ten original etchings from noted artists of the day including Frederick S. Church, Robert F. Blum and Stephen Parrish.
We are looking north up Fifth Avenue. The busy street scene with horse drawn carriages, delivery wagons and pedestrians features a Broadway Squad policeman escorting a young girl across the street.
On the left is the Fifth Avenue Hotel and beyond that is Broadway. The obelisk in the center is the General William Worth Monument. Directly behind the monument on 25th Street, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway diverge is the building that housed The New York Club, an exclusive men’s club, in 1887. The building was originally built in 1865 as a hotel named Worth House. In 1888 a fire displaced the New York Club. The structure that now occupies that site, was built in 1918 and is the New York flagship store of Porcelanosa.
Madison Square Park is barely visible on the right.
Further up Fifth Avenue on the corner of 26th Street is the Brunswick Hotel. Diagonally opposite the Brunswick is the famous Delmonico’s restaurant.
The steeple in the distance on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street is the Marble Collegiate Church.
New York Hotel Using Girl Bell-Hops
The newest wrinkle in hotel service these days is girl bell-hops. The Almanac Hotel, New York City, is probably the first hotel in the country to use girls for bell-hop service. Hotel customers say they give “real service” too. Here are three of them standing by while a patron registers. The girls are, left to right: Eleanor Julin, Mildred Wilson and Edith Gillin. – Associated Press Photo 11/13/1929
Only at the high class hotels do you still find bell-hops. Until the 1970s, almost all hotels had them.
The Almanac Hotel, (aka Hotel Almanac), was being “progressive” at the time, by hiring female bell-hops, in what was traditionally a male occupation. Or were they? Continue reading
We are looking north on Broadway from 28th Street. This unusual ground level photograph is from a personal photo album and was taken in October of 1896. Though the photographer is an amateur and a bit of a tilt exists in the exposure, a lot of interesting details appear here.
The ornate street sign marking West 28th Street has something attached to it that was once very common and has now gone the way of the Dodo, a mailbox. Thousands of these sort of mailboxes were once attached to lampposts and street signs throughout the city.
Just past the street sign is a large sign denoting the site of the 5th Avenue Theatre. It’s a bit of a misnomer since the theatre was situated on the corner of 28th Street and Broadway, not on Fifth Avenue.
Across the street between 28th and 29th Streets near a parked horse cart we can see a good deal of the six-story Sturtveant House Hotel. The hotel was completed in 1871 and did a solid business through the turn-of-the-century. Sturtveant House was sold in February 1903 and demolished in autumn of that year. The twelve-story Hotel Breslin went up in its place, opening on November 12, 1904.
Further up the block on the right side of Broadway on the northeast corner of 29th Street is the Victorian masterpiece, Gilsey House which began construction in 1869. Continue reading
Knowlton set up his camera from the 42nd Street station of the Third Avenue Elevated looking west towards Grand Central Station. If you’re thinking, “wait a minute, why are there elevated tracks running west towards Grand Central?” The answer is, this connecting spur was in place between 1878 and 1923, taking commuters to and from Grand Central directly to the Third Avenue El. As practical as the connection was for the 15,000 daily riders still using it in 1923, the city’s Board of Estimate ordered its removal in October of that year. The IRT complied and the spur was closed at midnight December 6, 1923 and the tracks and station were demolished soon afterwards.
A little about the buildings seen in this photograph. Running along the northern (right) portion of 42nd Street at 145-147 East 42nd Continue reading
This bustling scene was captured by a Detroit Publishing Company photographer around 1903. The view is from the southeast corner of 42nd Street looking north up Fifth Avenue.
It is obviously a cold and sunny day with most people wearing warm coats. Enlarging our photograph the first thing you may notice is that everyone is uniformly dressed. All the women have the same dress length, just past the ankle. Every man wears a suit or overcoat. Take a look around. There is not a single person hatless.
Let’s zoom in on some of the details.
On the northeast corner of 42nd Street an elderly man stops to take a look at the work going on inside an open manhole.
As usual, at all very busy intersections, a policeman is on duty to help direct the flow of traffic both vehicular and pedestrian.
This gentleman on the left with the gold watch fob and chain looks to be a prosperous fellow, possibly on his way back to his office after lunch.
Of course other people look spiffy without being wealthy. This sharp looking mustachioed hansom cab driver holding a whip is dressed immaculately. Continue reading