Two Views of New York’s Historic Madison Square Taken From the Flatiron Building 1903 & 1958
The New York Daily News used to do a feature, where they showed an old photograph of New York and had a modern photograph of the same scene.
From the newly completed Flatiron Building, here is Madison Square from about 1903.
Madison Square Garden and its tower are in the center of the photo. Brownstones and mostly low-rise buildings surround the Madison Square neighborhood. There are so few tall buildings that you can see the East River off in the distance. The building with the columns at the bottom of the photo is the Appellate Division courthouse. A small corner of Madison Square Park can be seen in the lower left,
Fast forward about 55 years and the changes are dramatic.
Daily News photographer David McLane had access from a similar vantage point in the Flatiron Building to take this photograph circa 1958. Continue reading →
Looking Straight Down On Madison Square During The Construction Of The Metropolitan Life Tower -1909
The Metropolitan Life Building added a tower to its existing building in 1908-1909 enhancing the skyline of New York. An enterprising photographer from the Keystone View Company made his way to the top of the building to take this incredible stereoview photograph of Madison Square Park and the surrounding area.
Click to enlarge the photograph to bring out some great details.
Dividing the photo into four quadrants starting with the lower right, you can see two workers adjusting rope, one sitting, the other standing on steel beams 700 feet above the street.
In the upper right corner just past the beams we can see horse drawn vehicles along Madison Avenue and across 26th Street. The nearest building in the foreground is the roof of the Beaux-Arts style Appellate Division Courthouse on Madison Avenue and 25th Street. The courthouse is a New York City landmark.
On the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 26th Street stands Madison Square Garden with its theater sign clearly visible. Directly across 26th Street on the northwest corner is a four story limestone building, home to The Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Next to the SPCA building along 26th Street facing the park, are eight brownstones, with all their stoops intact. Continue reading →
Fifth Ave and Broadway Looking North From The Top of the Flatiron Building 1904
The Fuller Building known more commonly as the Flatiron Building sits at the convergence of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. It is a great place to get a nice view of Manhattan, so the Keystone View Company sent a photographer to take this picture on a clear late summer day in 1904. This photo shows the two principal avenues of Manhattan splitting north after 24th street with Broadway branching off to the left and Fifth Avenue on the right.
The streets are busy with horsecars, trolleys and a few automobiles making their way up and downtown as all streets had traffic running both ways. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
Hamilton Fish Armstrong was the longtime editor of the magazine Foreign Affairs. His charming memoir, Those Days published in 1963 by Harper and Row is a wonderfully evocative description of an upper middle class boyhood spent in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Quebec. The book’s dust jacket description states that it is: “A lively, spontaneous re-creation of the childhood of a famous editor and writer at the turn of the century – an unforgettable picture of a vanished New York.”
It’s one of those out of print, forgotten books that deserve to be read by a new generation. I highly recommend it.
Here is an excerpt from pages 68-69 where Armstrong describes getting uptown to school from his home on 10th street via the Fifth Avenue coach which was pulled by horses.
When I was nine the time came for me to go to a “real” school uptown, and unless it was pouring pouring rain or snowing I went of course, on skates. When the weather ruled this out I used the Fifth Avenue stage or the Sixth Avenue El.
On the stage I rode by choice on the outside, either perched up behind the driver or, if I was lucky, along side him. Continue reading →
Paul Cornoyer Madison Square in the Afternoon – 1910
Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923) was an impressionist painter who worked primarily in New York City. This beautiful scene was painted in 1910 and is looking east across Madison Square Park, towards the tower of Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden was built in 1890 by McKim, Mead & White, and took up the whole block from 26th to 27th streets between Madison and Park Avenues. Madison Square Garden was demolished in 1926 to make way for the New York Life Building.