Category Archives: New York

Old New York In Photos #132 – Fulton Fish Market

Unloading The Cargo At The Fulton Fish Market 1923

Fulton Fish Market 1923 photo Percy Loomis SperrThe Fulton Fish Market turned 200 years old in 2021. According to Richard C. McKay author of South Street A Mariritme History of New York (Putnam) 1934, after a fire in January 1821 destroyed a large number of wooden buildings around South Street, a fish market building was erected in the area and was open for business in November of that year.

Our photograph was taken by Percy Loomis Sperr in 1923 and shows the loading of fish into barrels. Continue reading

New York Scenes From “Central Park” – The Movie 1932

Central Park 1932 Movie, On Location Shots

An out of work man, a beautiful woman, gangsters, an about to retire visually impaired cop, an escaped lion and a robbery at The Central Park Casino make up the plot of Warner Bros. 1932 drama Central Park. Continue reading

Whoops. Army Anti-Aircraft Guns Hit The Equitable Building

The Army Fires Live Shells & Hits New York’s Equitable Building – 1942

Equitable Building hit by army anti-aircraft shell March 13 1942 photo AP

Photograph shows where New York City’s Equitable Building was struck by an anti-aircraft shell. March 13, 1942 Photo: AP

The old Equitable Building at 120 Broadway was destroyed by fire January 9, 1912.

A different sort of accident occurred thirty years later to the new Equitable Building.

On Friday, March 13, 1942 during World War II, eight anti-aircraft shells were mistakenly launched by the army from the East River. The Equitable Building was hit by one of the 37 millimeter shells. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #131 – 3rd Avenue & 34th Street From The El 1930

Looking North From The Third Avenue Elevated Station At 34th Street

34th St 3rd Ave El photo Percy Loomis Sperr

Our photograph was taken in 1930 by Percy Loomis Sperr who documented the changing scenes of New York during the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

We are looking north from the Third Avenue El’s station at 34th Street. Continue reading

Central Park Mall – Protect The American Elm

The Signs Are There For A Reason

The trees lining The Mall in Central Park are mature American Elms, over 100-years-old.

You don’t need to be a dendrophile to appreciate the American Elm. But, most people take for granted the canopy of trees that surround The Mall.

For the last 93 years the American Elm has been decimated by the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. Those who study plant pathology, phytopathologists, first identified the fungus which causes Dutch Elm Disease in 1921. Continue reading

Never Before Seen Photos Of 9/11 & The World Trade Center Devastation

Never Before Seen Photographs Around The World Trade Center After The 9/11 Attacks

It was one week after the September 11 attacks. America and New York City was still in a state of disbelief. There was fear and grief. There was apprehension, And there were heroes. People who ventured into ground zero endangering their own lives for search and rescue. Continue reading

New York City’s Famous Drake’s Restaurant 1900-1937

Drake’s Restaurant Was Open 24 Hours A Day For 37 Years Until Labor Troubles Set In

In our previous story we briefly told the story of Jack’s a famous New York restaurant that never closed. There was another “never closed” restaurant which was a New York institution for 37 years.

Drake’s was located at 111 West 42nd Street near Broadway. The restaurant was founded in 1900 as Rigg’s as part of the Rigg’s chain. Continue reading

Old New York In Postcards #24 – Pre-Prohibition Manhattan Restaurants 1900 -1920

Manhattan Meals – Some Pre-Prohibition Turn-Of-The-Century Restaurants

Maxim’s Restaurant 108-110 West 38th Street. Maxim’s was the first restaurant raided a few hours before prohibition went into effect January 15, 1920

With few exceptions owning a restaurant is among the most precarious businesses to enter. Long hours, high upfront costs for rent, food and labor and changing public tastes almost insure that few restaurants can make a long and successful run.

100 years ago many of New York’s older restaurants shut down because of an unexpected decline in business- the victims of prohibition.

Once cafes and restaurants lost the right to sell beer, wine and liquor many closed soon after the Volstead Act went into effect in 1920. Some restaurants known for fine cuisine were able to ride out 13 years with no alcohol sales. Other restaurants would turn to selling spirits illegally. Others like cafeteria and luncheon type restaurants survived, having always been patronized for their food.

All of the following restaurants shown below closed long ago.

Restaurant and Cafe Leo

Cafe Leo 14th Street New York CIty Restaurant and Cafe Leo stood on the southwest corner of 14th Street and Fourth Avenue. Note the Star of David over the entrances, not always the sign of a Jewish establishment, but a decorative element. In this case however, proprietor Leo Greenbaum was letting potential diners know this was a Jewish owned business. By 1923 Cafe Leo vanished from the city directory. Continue reading

1858 NYC Real Estate Sales Literature – For Sale 5th Avenue & 42nd Street

Selling 5th Avenue & 42nd Street In 1858 For “Moderate Terms”

From Its Windows One Could See The Hudson and East Rivers, Staten Island, Long Island, The Palisades and Westchester!

Fifth Avenue dwellings for sale 1858

This Gothic style structure stood on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The view is from an 1858 real estate advertising broadside print. On the southwest corner you can see a portion of the retaining wall of the massive Croton Distributing Reservoir which supplied New York’s drinking water. The main branch of the New York Public Library now occupies the site of the reservoir.

5th Ave and 42nd St. 1855 before construction of The House of Mansions. Croton Distributing Reservoir is on the right.

Though the structure appears to be one large building, it is actually 11 separate buildings. It was nicknamed The House of Mansions.

The buildings were designed by famed architect Alexander Jackson Davis and built by merchant George Higgins in 1856 as a speculative real estate investment. The buildings boasted  amazing views of distant vistas including Long Island, the Palisades and Westchester. Continue reading