Tag Archives: 1900s

Dignity For A Little Girl Killed By A Truck – 1904

Three-Year-Old Nettie Delaney Dies In A Horrific Accident & A Homeless Man Performs A Selfless Gesture – 1904

A kind act can transcend time. When researching our previous story about Times Square this tragic, but touching story was found.

Combining accounts from The New York Tribune, The New York Herald and The New York Times, this is what happened on August 31, 1904:

POOR, BUT A GENTLEMAN
With His Only Coat He Taught the Morbid a Lesson.

Nettie Delaney, three and a half years old, of 14 West One Hundred and Thirty-Third Street, was run over and killed almost in front of her own home yesterday afternoon by a horse drawn heavy truck carrying stone.

Every day, it is said, trucks drive rapidly westward through 133rd Street on their way to stables, and children several times have narrowly escaped being run down.

Just west of Fifth Avenue and leading a caravan of three stone trucks, Alphonso Greer of 137 Morris Street, the driver of the truck, in order to pass two furniture vans, had to turn to the north side of the street. He did not see the child running across the street until she was directly under the horses feet, and it was then too late to stop the horses.

The heavy wheels passed over the child’s head, crushing it badly.

A menacing crowd gathered quickly. Greer whipped up his horses to try and get away, but several men grabbed the bridles and refused to allow him to proceed. He probably would have been handled roughly but for the timely arrival of policeman Farley. He arrested Greer and took him to the East One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth-Street police station. A charge of homicide was made.

Keeps The Morbidly Curious From Gazing

Somebody carried the little girl’s body into a drug store a few doors away at Fifth Avenue and 133rd Street and put it on the floor. A crowd of men, women, and children crowded into the store spilling out to the doorway to view the child. Then a young man about twenty-one years old, evidently a laborer from his dress, stepped from the crowd, and, removing his coat. spread it tenderly over the mangled face of the dead child, hiding it from the gaze of the morbidly curious. Then, without a word, he turned and left the store.

About an hour later after the accident the young man, in his shirt sleeves, walked into the police Station where the body had been taken. He told the Sergeant that he would Ike to have his coat if they were quite through with it.

“It is the only one I have,” he said, “and as I have no job just now I sleep wherever I can and use the coat for a pillow.”

The young man was asked to give his name and address. He declined to give his name, and said that he had no home at present. The policemen were touched by his act, and the Sergeant made up a small purse for him. He was at first inclined to refuse the gift, but the Sergeant insisted, and he left with his coat and enough money to procure food and shelter for several days.

Postscript –

If Greer was convicted of homicide there is no online record that can be found. In 1910 the U.S. census lists the 26-year-old Greer working in New Hampshire as a laborer at a brickyard. That is the last known fact about Greer.

Unfortunately the name of this virtuous young man performing an act of decency is lost to posterity forever. Modesty aside, maybe if he later had a family, he shared this story with them.

Old New York In Photos #127 – Times Square 1906

Times Square 1906  – The New Hotel Astor, Olympia Theatre & Surroundings

Times Square New Astor HotelThis stereoview image of Times Square was taken by the H.C. White Company in 1906. Before The New York Times moved their headquarters here it was called Long Acre Square.

The view is titled, “New Astor Hotel and 20 story Times Building.” We are looking south from 46th Street towards the New York Times Tower. The flatiron-style building opened in 1905. The building was mutilated in 1965 when purchased by Allied Chemical. Today it is unrecognizable after it was altered again in the twenty first century to become a giant garish billboard.

Hotel Astor

On the right is the 500 room Hotel Astor comprising 14 city lots from 44th to 45th Street where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect. The 10-story Hotel Astor cost owner William Waldorf Astor over $7 million to build and furnish. The land was purchased decades earlier as farmland  by his great-grandfather John Jacob Astor for $100 an acre. The Grand Ballroom was a baroque masterpiece.

Hotel Astor Grand Ballroom interior 1904

After some labor related delays Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #126 – Transportation Center At Brooklyn Bridge

Afternoon Rush Hour At The Manhattan Entrance To The Brooklyn Bridge Transportation Center / Terminal Shed c. 1903

While the structure no longer exists the scene still does- commuters heading back to Brooklyn after work.

This structure unfamiliar to modern New Yorkers is the transportation center also called the terminal shed at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on Park Row.

The building not only provided pedestrian access to the bridge but to the elevated and trolley lines. We tell the story of the transportation center here. It was demolished by the city in the 1940s.

The photo titled Manhattan Entrance To Brooklyn Bridge was taken about 1903 by the Detroit Publishing Company.

Let’s zoom in and take a brief close-up look at our photo.

People

I particularly like the two men in the foreground standing near the railing of the uncovered section of the second story. They are both aware of the photographer and stare directly at the camera.

The young man on the left in bowler hat and bow tie does not seem to be in a hurry. There is something endearing Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #123 – 110th St. Elevated Curve

The 110th Street Elevated Curve of the Ninth Avenue Elevated c. 1905

Elevated train on curve at 110th Street New York City photo: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, RiversideWe see here the dramatic 110th Street “suicide” curve of the El at Eighth Avenue (Central Park West) from around 1905. From this vantage point a great view of the city could be had for the price of the El’s fare – a nickel.

Above 53rd Street the Sixth and Ninth Avenue Elevated lines combined their tracks to run along Ninth Avenue. When the tracks reached 110th Street, they turned east on to Eighth Avenue  continuing into Harlem.

The “S” shape curve was set at a dizzying 60 feet above street level to reach the plateau of Harlem Heights at an acceptable grade. Continue reading

Paul Cornoyer, Painter of New York- Washington Square Park, Winter 1908

Winter Snow Scene At Washington Square Painted By Paul Cornoyer

& A Brief History Of The Life Of The Artist

Impressionist and tonalist, Paul Cornoyer (August 15, 1864 – June 17, 1923) depicts Washington Square Park after a snowstorm circa 1908. Cornoyer’s strength lies in his ability to celebrate wet days. Many of his paintings feature rain or snow and its aftereffects. Cornoyer was a master at evoking a gloomy mood with interesting lighting effects bringing about an emotional response from the viewer. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #116 – Fifth Avenue & 27th Street 1903

Fifth Avenue Between 26th & 27th Street – The Old Hotel Brunswick

5th Avenue 27th Street 1903 photo Detroit Publishing CoA Detroit Publishing Co. photographer got this shot on a rare day without any traffic. Every building seen here is soon to be demolished.

The Hotel Brunswick

This photograph shows the east side of Fifth Avenue from 27th to 26th Street in 1903. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #114 – Grand Street c. 1908

A Trolley Accident Draws A Crowd On Grand Street

Grand Street c 1910 photo via Columbia University Community Service Society CollectionOur vantage point is just past Eldridge street looking west on Grand Street towards Forsyth Street (the shoe store on the corner). The Third Avenue El is in the background. 

While this scene appears to be a just a typical crowded street scene on the lower east side, it is not. Schoolboys crowd the sidewalk and a big police officer keeps the peace.

In the center of the street it is clear that a trolley has had an accident and has come off its rails. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #113 – 42nd Street Looking West 1906

42nd Street Looking West From Sixth Avenue c. 1906

42nd Street c 1906 Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at RiversideOur photograph of 42nd Street is from the Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography. Keystone was one of the leading providers of stereoviews at the turn of the century.

The Keystone photographer shot this unusual second story viewpoint sometime around 1906.  The New York Times Tower Building was the new addition to the city’s skyline. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #112 – Cortlandt Street 1908

Cortlandt Street – Spring 1908

Detroit Publishing Cortlandt Street 1908 New York City

Cortlandt Street 1908 via Detroit Publishing Co. collection held at the Library of Congress. (click to greatly enlarge)

Our view made by the Detroit Publishing Company is looking east from the corner of West Street along Cortlandt Street towards Broadway. Unlike some of their photographs, this one is copyrighted 1908 and that can be  confirmed by advertising in the background.

The street is named after one of Dutch New York’s leaders Oloff (Olaf) Stevense Van Cortlandt. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #108 – Fifth Avenue & 33rd Street c. 1908

Fifth Avenue Looking North From 33rd Street c. 1908

5th Ave 33rd Street Waldorf-Astoria

The Detroit Publishing Company photographer captured a typical summer day on Fifth Avenue looking north from 33rd Street. The date is sometime between 1905 -1910 based upon the vehicles seen on the streets and style of dress.

Two prominent buildings are on the west side (left) of the street. The Waldorf- Astoria Hotel in the immediate foreground between 33rd and 34th Streets. One block further north is the Knickerbocker Trust Building.

The Waldorf-Astoria as some people know is a combination of two different entities. Seen here on the near corner of 33rd Street is the 13 story Hotel Waldorf built by William Waldorf Astor in 1893. The 17 story Hotel Astoria was opened four years later on November 1, 1897 by his cousin John Jacob Astor IV. Before the Hotel Astoria was completed the two hotels agreed to combine operations to form the world famous hostelry that stood on the site until 1929. The Waldorf Astoria set up their new hotel on Park Avenue and 50th Street and the Empire State Building went up on  the hotel’s old site.

In this close-up you can see the dividing line between each hotel as the exterior wall colors are different. The Waldorf-Astoria was unified in many design elements such as exterior lighting and window canopies. Though slight differences between the two hotels are apparent. The Hotel Astoria put some extra flourishes beside their windows in the form of lion head bas reliefs. Continue reading