Tag Archives: Subway

Covers of 100-Year-Old Souvenir New York View Books

New York City Souvenir View Book Covers From 1911 – 1919

New York of To-Day published by L.H. Nelson 1913

According to NYC & Company over 58 million people visited New York City in 2015. Many of them possibly bought a keepsake to bring back home; a t-shirt, mug or some other knick-knack.

Souvenirs have remained a constant in the world of tourism. Since about 1880, view books have been one of the souvenirs that appealed to visitors of New York City. With everyone now  having a camera to photograph where they were and sights they have seen, view books are pretty much on their way to becoming extinct.

During their heyday from the late 1800s until the 1940s view books were a popular and inexpensive souvenir choice. Most view books generally ranged in price from a quarter to a dollar. They generally contained anywhere from a dozen to 400 photographs of buildings, tourist sights and attractions. Many had plain covers, while others had covers to attract the eye.

Going through my collection, I selected a few view books that date between 1911-1919.

These examples are relatively common for collectors. When they were new I think would have caught the eye of a visitor, because they are still striking today.

Scenes of Modern New York published by L.H Nelson 1911.  A nice cover featuring The Williamsburg Bridge (completed 1902), The Fuller Building aka Flatiron (completed 1902) and The Subway (opened 1904).

New York Illustrated published by C. Souhami 1914. A colorful panorama of lower Manhattan taken from the Brooklyn tower. On the left is the tallest building in the world, The Woolworth Building (completed 1913). To the right is the 40 story Municipal Building (completed 1914). On the waterfront, South Street with its docks and shipping activity was still the hub of maritime New York. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #60

Broadway on the Upper West Side Close-up Circa 1908

Details Of Life and Architecture From One Photograph

Broadway 70th closeup of people(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…

Broadway north from 70th streetWe 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.

Broadway 70th closeup subway station trolleyZooming 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

Old New York In Photos #58

Panoramic View of Columbus Circle – 1904

Columbus Circle Trolley 1904 photo: National ArchivesThis phenomenal panoramic street level view of Columbus Circle comes via the National Archives. On their website it is misidentified as Eighth Avenue Trolley, (true – Eighth Avenue changes names to Central Park West) Downtown (which it certainly is not.) Click the photo to greatly enlarge.

We are looking north from 59th Street (Central Park South). The Columbus monument is not visible, but would be to the extreme left near where two gentlemen are standing in the street. Directly behind them are two subway kiosks for the entrance and exit of the soon to be opened New York City subway system.

Besides the subway, the new metropolis is emerging in other ways. An automobile is heading east towards Central Park South. To the left of the automobile, a trolley makes its way up Central Park West. To the left of the trolley is one of many horse drawn vehicles traveling up and down Broadway. Continue reading

Child Labor and Poverty In New York – 1910

7-Year-Old Gerald Schaitberger Sells Newspapers At Columbus Circle – October 8, 1910 At 9:30 p.m.

We Answer The Question: What Became of this Little Boy?

Jerald Schaitberger of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helps his older brother sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. 7 yrs. old. 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Photograph number 1 of Jerald Schaitberger 7 yrs. old, of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. as he helps to sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. Photo taken 9:30 P.M. on October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

This scene captured by photographer Paul Schumm at 9:30 in the evening of Saturday, October 8, 1910 shows 7-year-old Gerald Schaitberger selling newspapers at Columbus Circle in front of a subway kiosk. The Library of Congress holds two photos of Gerald (misspelled as Jerald on the LOC website) seen here.

Over 100 years after they were taken, these two photographs still stir strong emotions about child labor and poverty.

According to 1910 census records, Gerald lived a couple of blocks away from Columbus Circle with his 36-year-old father Emanuel, mother Julia, six siblings and grandfather Michael. Emanuel was a clerk working in the fur industry and his eldest son Joseph, 15, worked at the newsstand to help make ends meet.

Apparently this cool October evening  Joseph enlisted the help of younger brother Gerald to aid in selling the papers.

Here is the second photo of Gerald taken a few seconds after the first. After he has apparently made the successful sale, Gerald looks up for approval at his older brother.

Jerald Schaitberger of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helps his older brother sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. 7 yrs. old. 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Photograph number 2 of Jerald Schaitberger 7 yrs. old. of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helping sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. taken at 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Young Gerald is so eager to help his poor family. When you zoom in on the photographs, you notice some interesting details.

The first is a close-up is of Gerald himself.

Jerald Schaitberger 416 W57th St loc 10 8 1910 Columbus Circle close upThe anticipation shows in Gerald’s eyes as he meekly offers the paper to the awaiting customer. The evening newspaper headline says that the “Yankees Win Two” and that the Giants lost the second game of their doubleheader on the final day of the regular season. Continue reading

50 Years Ago – New York’s Big Blackout

Tuesday, November 9, 1965 – The Night The Lights Failed

Blackout Grand Central stranded 1965 11 10Nov. 10, 1965 – New Yorkers During Blackout – People sleep sitting up and lying down in New York’s Grand Central Terminal early today during the power failure. This area is lit up with emergency lighting. (AP Wirephoto)

In the past 50 years New York has experienced three huge blackouts; August 14, 2003; July 13-14, 1977; and the first large scale blackout that affected much of the northeast, November 9-10, 1965.

30 million people were affected when the electricity went off, cascading from Ontario to Buffalo to New Hampshire and on through to New York City where at 5:40 pm the power failed, plunging the city into darkness. Trains, elevators, traffic lights and all electric ceased to function as many New Yorkers were literally stopped in their tracks.

Blackout: Using a candle for a light passengers look at another passenger sleeping on the floor of a stalled subway train during power failure. November 10, 1965 (AP Wirephoto)

Blackout: Using a candle for a light passengers look at another passenger sleeping on the floor of a stalled subway train during power failure. November 10, 1965 (AP Wirephoto)

There was no looting Continue reading

New York City Subway Advertising 1912

Broadway & 207th Street IRT Subway Station – 1912

Subway Station Broadway 207th St 1912Some things in New York have not changed in 100 years and advertising in the subway is one of them. Paper ads are still put up at stations all along the subway system.

The IRT’s Broadway and 207th Street station is captured here on June 12, 1912 and shows a deserted station. Currently the “1” train runs on this line and the station is elevated and outdoors.

Looking at the photo we notice the thin strip wood plank flooring and tasteful globe lighting to illuminate the station at night.

As for the ads we see from right to left: Continue reading

Graffiti As Vandalism, Not Art

Museum of The City Of New York Graffiti Exhibition Doesn’t Show What The Majority Of Graffiti Is – Unintelligible Scrawls By Vandals

I caught the newest exhibit at The Museum of the City of New York entitled “City as Canvas,” which glorifies the practitioners of graffiti and their “work” during the 1970’s and 1980’s in New York City.

For anyone who thinks that graffiti is something to be celebrated in a retrospective by an exhibition at an important cultural institution, here is some evidence to contradict that viewpoint.

Iouri Podladtchikov, Olympic half-pipe king visits the lower east side with typical graffiti defacing a grand old building.  photo - Casey Kelbaugh for the New York Times

Iouri Podladtchikov, Olympic half-pipe king visits the lower east side with typical graffiti defacing a grand old building. photo – Casey Kelbaugh for the New York Times

A typical display of current graffiti “art” as seen in this building covered by spray paint on the lower east side really is a better representation of the so called graffiti artist. It pains me to see old handcrafted stone buildings covered with paint. The beautiful Queensboro Bridge girders and stonework are always being cleaned and re-painted due to these miscreants who attack our public property with their spray cans, markers and etching knives.

Subway graffiti photo taken Feb 8, 1982

Subway graffiti photo taken Feb 8, 1982

The onslaught of graffiti began in earnest in the subway system in the 1970’s where riding a train was a demoralizing prospect. Almost every single car was covered in dripping unintelligible paint and marker scrawls, which obliterated any blank spaces. Continue reading

When The New York City Subway Opened On October 27, 1904

20 Cool Facts About The New York City Subway When It Was Brand New

"What The Subway Means To New York City" New York Evening World October 27, 1904 (click to enlarge)

“What The Subway Means To New York” New York Evening World October 27, 1904 (click to enlarge)

109 years ago on October 27, 1904, the New York City Subway was opened to an enthusiastic public with great fanfare and accolades.

New Yorker’s were proud of this engineering sensation and its features were highlighted in newspapers and magazines around the world.

On the occasion of the opening, the New York Evening World published a “Subway Souvenir Special” to commemorate the event. With articles describing many aspects of the subway, the special issue compiled a list of 100 facts about the subway. Here are some of the better ones:

1. In 1894 the people of New York voted to create a tunnel for a subway which was to be owned by the city. After six years of preliminary work by the Rapid Transit Commission, bids were accepted to build and operate the subway on November 15, 1899.

2. Only two companies bid for the job. John B. McDonald and the Onderdonk Construction Company. McDonald’s bid was accepted January 15, 1900.

3. McDonald proposed to construct the tunnels for $35 million with an additional $2,750,000 for station sites, terminals and other incidentals.

4. The money for the construction was loaned by the city. It was to be paid back with interest in fifty years.

5. McDonald organized a construction company with August Belmont as its president. Another company within this company, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was organized to operate the subway.

6. The IRT had the privilege of operating the system for 50 years, with an option for a 25 year renewal. When the subway passed into the hands of the people, the equipment was to be purchased by the city at a valuation to be determined by arbitration.

7. McDonald sublet the construction to thirteen sub-contractors. Ground was broken March 25, 1900 in front of City Hall.

8. McDonald pledged to have the subway ready in four and a half years. The actual time spent on construction was only 1275 days.

9. The final amount spent was just $40 million.

Union Square June 8, 1901 Subway Construction

Union Square June 8, 1901 Subway Construction

10. There were 120 lives lost during the construction. Continue reading

Old New York in Photos #32

1915 Subway Explosion Kills Seven, Injures Scores: 7th Avenue Between 24th and 25th Streets

This photograph taken on September 24, 1915 looking east across Seventh Avenue between 25th and 24th Streets shows the extent of a tragedy that took the lives of seven people and injured more than 100.

At about 7:50 a.m. on September 22, 1915 during the subway excavation for a new line, an explosion followed by a massive street collapse threw 7th Avenue into a scene of pandemonium and carnage.  A blast of dynamite caused the temporary roadway of wood planking to give way. A trolley loaded with passengers plunged 30 feet into the abyss created by the cave in. A beer truck minus the driver also fell into the excavation.

The reason more people were not killed was because the street undulated for a few seconds before collapsing which allowed precious time for people on the street to scatter to safety.

The motorman of the northbound trolley, John Mayne said, “The car sank just where I stopped it. I had no stop at Twenty-fourth street and there was no warning there. When I was half way to Twenty-fifth street I saw a flagman and set my brakes. As I set the brakes I felt the earth going from under me. The next thing I knew I was being pulled out of hell.”

Fanny Borie, 18,  of Brooklyn was on the trolley, on her way to work when it went down into the hole. “When the car started to sink there were terrible screams, and I think I fainted,” she said. “I remember feeling people tugging at my feet, as I was buried under some timbers. Then I lost consciousness and came to again when I was being carried up a ladder to the street.” Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #23

Subway Excavation, Broadway and 49th Street – 1901

While the MTA is currently striving to build the new Second Avenue subway without disturbing businesses along the route, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) had no such compunction about hampering businesses as demonstrated by this photograph taken on November 26, 1901.

We are looking north along Broadway towards 49th Street. The J.B. Brewster Carriage showroom is on the left at 1581 Broadway. The “cut and cover method” of subway building is shown here in full swing. More than half the street is blocked off to dig the necessary trench.

This method of building, which disturbed all the utilities, businesses, and residents along the route, was not only cost effective, but fast.

Ground Breaking Ceremony Brochure 1900

It took less than four and a half years for the original subway line, nine miles in length, to be completed. Ground breaking for the subway occurred March 24, 1900 and the first section from City Hall to 145th Street was opened to the public on October 26, 1904.  According to the book Interborough Rapid Transit The New York Subway Its Construction and Equipment (McGraw Publishing; 1904) the amount paid by the city for the construction was $35,000,000 and an additional sum was given not to exceed $2,750,000 for terminals, station sites, and other purposes.

It was an amazing accomplishment considering what New Yorker’s are currently putting up with just to build a two mile section of a new subway on Second Avenue.

First New York Subway Map 1904