Broadway on the Upper West Side Close-up Circa 1908
Details Of Life and Architecture From One Photograph
(Click to enlarge any of the photographs.)
From the Detroit Publishing Company comes a great photograph showing the busy thoroughfare of Broadway on the upper west side of Manhattan. The photo above is just one detailed portion of the main photograph (see below).
By zooming in we can clearly observe details otherwise unnoticed. We see three children taking in the sights of the city while riding in the back of an open horse drawn wagon. Pedestrians walk across the street without being too concerned about the light vehicular traffic. Notice the woman in the center of the photo holding up her dress slightly so it did not scrape the street. But it wasn’t just women who were careful: all New Yorkers had to be rather adept at avoiding horse urine and manure that littered the streets. On the right, horse waste can clearly be seen near the man stepping off the curb.
But where exactly are we on Broadway?
Here is the answer…
We are looking north on Broadway from 70th Street to about 79th Street. There are two main buildings that stand out in the photograph. On the right between 71st and 72nd Streets is The Dorilton, an exceptionally ornate apartment building by architects Janes & Leo, completed in 1902. On the left on the northwest corner of 73nd Street, just beyond the subway station, is the Ansonia Apartment Hotel completed in 1904.
Zooming in again on the details in the center portion of the photo, trolley number 3061 makes its way down Broadway, passing the subway station of the IRT at 72nd Street. It appears workers are repairing or painting the doors leading to the station.
Now let’s look at some other details. Continue reading
What Happened To Those Old Street Signs?
From the Look Magazine photo archive comes this photograph taken by Philip Harrington in 1962 showing the street signs at the intersection of Nassau and Pine Streets.
The humpback street signs which had served New York City for about 50 years were discontinued over the next few years and replaced by rectangular yellow signs with black letters. Those signs lasted until the early 1980’s when they were taken down.
The old elegant blue street signs with white serif lettering ended up being bought en masse by Stamford House Wrecking in Stamford, CT in the 1970’s Continue reading
Fifth Avenue Looking North From 51st Street – 1913
In this one hundred year old view of Fifth Avenue, we see some of the many methods of transportation that New Yorker’s took to get around the city.
A double-decker Fifth Avenue bus ambles to its terminus at 22nd Street and is packed with riders on the top deck taking in the sights. There are horse drawn carriages and many types of automobiles traveling both north and south as Fifth Avenue was a two way street until 1966.
And of course pedestrians crowd the sidewalks on this brisk sunny day.
A couple of things to take note of: Continue reading
Looking Above Street Level
There is nothing extraordinary about 1113 First Avenue, the building at the northwest corner of 61st Street and First Avenue. A late 19th century five story walk-up building with a restaurant at ground level. But if you look up to the corner between the second and third floors you will see the street name etched in stone and attached to the building, circled in red in the photo above.
The rectilinear street grid layout imposed upon Manhattan at the beginning of the nineteenth century assured the builder of this building that it would be located at 61st street and First Avenue seemingly forever.
Before the twentieth century street signs were not at every corner. There were in fact few street signs in New York and they were usually at major intersections or the nicer parts of town. Continue reading