Looking Up Broadway From 9th Street – 1884
Because of an advertising banner hanging over the middle of the street and type of clothing worn by passersby, we can narrow the date to autumn 1884.
The advertisement is for The Theatre Comique located at 728-730 Broadway between 4th Street and Astor Place. The comic farce Investigation with matinees Tuesdays and Fridays opened September 1. The show was written by Edward Harrigan of the famous 19th century theatrical team Harrigan and Hart.
Unfortunately, The Theatre Comique burned down in the early morning of December 23, 1884. No injuries or fatalities were suffered, but the company lost all their wardrobe, scenery and props costing around $175,000. Neither Harriagan or Henry Hilton, the owner of the building, had insurance.
After the fire, Harrigan and Tony Hart opened a new show, McAllister’s Legacy on January 5, 1885 at the nearby 14th Street Theatre.
Glancing at our photo, the streets are crowded with derby wearing men and horse drawn vehicles.
On the right side of our photo, atop a small gas lamp is a street indicator displaying the words “10th Street.”
A small portion of architect Richard Upjohn’s magnificent Grace Church (1846) can be seen to the right of a much larger gas lamp.
Beyond Grace Church, an advertisement for Herts Brothers Furniture is visible on the side of their building at 806-808 Broadway.
On the left, at 10th Street, the building housing M. Stern & Sons Furs & Cloaks takes up much of the west side of Broadway.
The St. Denis Hotel was a steady presence in the ever-changing city, standing on the southwest corner of 11th Street since 1853.
Though the hotel had been significantly altered over the years and was no longer a hotel, it was still there in 2018.
Then it was acquired by a developer and despite preservationists pleas to save it, it was destroyed.
This is the glass ziggarut-like box that replaced the St. Denis in 2021. Juxtaposed across the street from historic Grace Church makes this sort of soulless architecture even more special. Lovely isn’t it?