The View From The Roof Of The Flatiron Building c. 1910
New York photographers around the turn-of-the-century were always looking for unique vantage points to shoot from.
Here the Keystone Co. photographer went up to the roof of the Flatiron Building and took this shot around 1910. The gentleman in the foreground could be the photographer’s assistant. As the intrepid hatless man dangles his legs over the edge of the roof, we see the northeast cityscape.
A Good View Of The Buildings Along Lower Madison Avenue
In the foreground the trees of Madison Square Park can be seen. To the extreme right on Madison Avenue is the Metropolitan Life Building, the tallest building in the world from 1909-1913.
Next in our photo the building with the dome is the new Madison Square Presbyterian Church.
Metropolitan Life acquired the original Madison Square Presbyterian Church on the southeast corner of 24th Street in 1903 intending to build their new skyscraper Continue reading →
This beautiful night scene of Herald Square was taken in 1912. The Herald Building between 35th & 36th Street and Broadway and Sixth Avenue is brilliantly illuminated as the presses work to get the next morning’s paper out.
Lining the roof of the McKim, Mead & White designed Herald Building are 20 gilt owl sculptures. Electricity would light up the owl’s green eyes. The two illegible lighted discs in the front of the building are a clock and wind dial.
The Demolition of the Drexel Building c. 1913 aka J.P. Morgan Building
One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in New York City is 23 Wall Street at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets. From 1876 -1913 the site was occupied by this building, the Drexel Building seen in the photo above made by the Detroit Publishing Co.. Continue reading →
Would Having Graduating High School Students Take An Oath Of Allegiance Be Held Unconstitutional Today?
New York City school children in a display of patriotism, September 1902, “Saluting The Flag” photo: Florence Maynard
After World War I and the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, declaring your loyalty to America was not taken lightly. In 1919, President of the New York City Board of Education, Anning S. Prall, set a requirement that all graduating New York City High School children recite a pledge of allegiance to the United States before receiving their diplomas. This is quite different than the pledge most Americans know by heart.
“I will reverence my country’s flag and defend it against enemies at home and abroad.”
“I will respect and obey the President of the United States and the law of the land.”
“I will support, in school and out, American ideals of justice and fair play, including the right of unhampered opportunity under the law for all.”
“I will hold the ideal of rational patriotism above loyalty to any individual, political party, social class or previous national connection.”
“I will actively oppose all revolutionary movements, such as Bolshevism, anarchism, I. W. W.-ism, or any movement antagonistic to the laws of the United States or tending to subvert the Constitution of the United States.”
How long Prall’s allegiance pledge was retained is undocumented. But in 2019, can a student refuse to say a pledge of allegiance in school? Continue reading →
Innovative(?) Women’s Brassieres From The 1890s – 1910s
Bra device designed by Mary Jacob from the U.S. Patent Office 1914
What’s the old saying? “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” The American Patent Office is filled with ideas, some practical, some brilliant, some completely off the wall.
These inventors from the early 1900s focused on one item of apparel – the brassiere. From squeezing to pushing, each of these inventors believed they had discovered the secret to enhancing a woman’s figure. Continue reading →
Using Semi-Clad Women To Sell Products At The Turn-Of-The-Century
Ads That Wouldn’t Cut It Today
Clysmic table water- will….bring you to climax?
Pretty women sell products or so it seems. Since the dawn of advertising alluring images of women have been used to attract potential customers. Many times the image has absolutely nothing to do with the product being offered. That hasn’t changed in the 21st century, just look at any perfume ad.
Though they were not considered unusual at the time they originally appeared, here are some semi-nude advertisements featuring women that would probably cause outrage among the sensitive and hyper-politically correct today.
What this advertisement really says about Sunny Brook and Willow Creek Distillery is open to debate. But I guess we all know that any group of women after drinking rye whiskies will strip and go skinny dipping in a lake.
Brotherhood Overalls of course? Did Levi Strauss take this company as a serious competitor? This look apparently never caught on in the 1910s. Continue reading →
At The Turn-Of The Century, 4th of July Celebrations Injured Thousands and Killed Hundreds of Revelers
This small informative chart was reprinted in the 1915 World Almanac. The Journal of the American Medical Association provided the statistics of accidents occurring during Fourth of July celebrations from 1904 – 1914.
According to the AMA the most accident prone cities were:
Grand Rapids, MI
Des Moines, IA
In a large city, like Philadelphia, PA, 22 were killed and 422 injured on July 4, 1907. Usually the cause was fireworks related.
A fireworks warning to children (who were smart enough to read a newspaper?) from The New York Tribune, 1908
Foolish acts by children causing injuries included pinning a string of firecrackers on to the back of another unsuspecting child. Another dim-witted act was throwing a lighted firecracker or shooting a roman candle at somebody. Continue reading →
Postcard Views 1910 – 1949 & A Short History Of Chinese Restaurants In New York City
The Chinese Tuxedo Restaurant in New York’s Chinatown 1910
Along with Chinese immigration to the United States in the 1850s, came Chinese food. It wasn’t long before Americans took a liking to the transoceanic cuisine. The Chinese population in New York City was only 747 in 1880. By 1900 it had grown to 6,321.
There “are eight thriving Chinese restaurants that can prepare a Chinese dinner in New York, almost with the same skill as at the famous Dan Quay Cha Yuen (Delmonico’s) of Shanghai or Canton,” according to Wong Chin Foo in the October 1888 Current Literature Magazine. With only one day off, Chinese patrons, usually working as laundrymen, would crowd the Chinese restaurants on Sunday’s.
Port Arthur Restaurant 7 & 9 Mott Street, considered among the finest Chinese restaurants in New York City est. 1899
The Story of Two Forgotten And Buried New York City Bridges
This is Kings Bridge connecting upper Manhattan to the Bronx and Westchester. The Kings Bridge was originally constructed in 1693 under a grant from the Crown and maintained by the Philipse family as a toll bridge until the revolution.
The toll was collected on every person, animal and vehicle crossing to the mainland excepting the King’s soldiers. At night the rates doubled. The bridge was reconstructed in 1713 and altered slightly a few times in the intervening 200 years. Continue reading →