More New York Illustrations From Around 1870
Part II – Familiar Names – Vanished Sites
We continue our look at New York of 150 years ago from Reverend J.F. Richmond’s New York and Its Institutions 1609-1871 (E.B. Treat; 1871).
The names may be familiar, but possibly not the building or site.
While Central Park has remained a constant presence in New York City for over 160 years, it has constantly changed.
There were always developers looking to infringe upon the park with buildings and schemes. A fair portion of Central Park has managed to keep its original spirit, but many of its early additions have changed or no longer exist.
The Children’s Playground in Central Park. There was no “Great Lawn” when Central Park was built. The Great Lawn opened in 1937, the result of filling in one of the two receiving reservoirs located within the park. The Central Park Playground seen above is an open field where children can play within its great expanse. This section was located in the southern end of the park, now site of the Heckscher playground and ballfields. Continue reading
Illustrations Of New York As Seen By Artists Around 1870
Part I – Demolished & Mostly Forgotten
Demolition of anything old goes on every day without regard for New York’s history. I believe a day will come when all the pre-20th century buildings not given landmark protection will be gone. Demolished in the name of progress. Real estate values rule, not history values. That’s always been the way of New York.
When a historic structure like The St. Denis Hotel is obliterated instead of renovated it is a shame.
I see more and more ordinary tenement and commercial buildings falling at an astonishing rate. So I look around trying to see vestiges of things my great-grandparents might have known and been familiar with.
What did they see?
Recently I took out my copy of Reverend J.F. Richmond’s New York and Its Institutions 1609-1871 (E.B. Treat; 1871) and started to re-read it. I had forgotten how many excellent illustrations were in the book. Belying the name, New York and Its Institutions is not solely focused only upon hospitals, asylum, charity and worship facilities. The book thoroughly covers other important sites and buildings with their respective histories. Though it was not written as a guide book, it essentially is one.
What my ancestors saw were these historic buildings which are now not even memories to most New Yorkers, most having been taken down over a hundred years ago,
Let’s take a look at what New York City looked like around 1871 and take in what the visitor and native New Yorker would have seen.
Part I – Buildings No Longer In Existence
Very few lamented the loss of the old Post Office at the corner of Nassau and Liberty Street – — until they saw what replaced it in 1875.
The Grand Central Hotel stood on the west side of Broadway opposite Bond Street between Amity and Bleecker Street. Illegal alterations caused a major collapse of the Broadway facade on August 3, 1973. Incredibly only four people were killed. The remaining section of the hotel was soon demolished. Continue reading
A Panoramic View of Lower Manhattan Including The Unbuilt Brooklyn Bridge
Our view is from the November 19, 1870 Harper’s Weekly. Entitled, “Bird’s-eye view of the southern end of New York and Brooklyn showing the projected suspension bridge and East River from the western terminus in printing house square, New York.”
That long title reflects a fairly accurate view of New York, Brooklyn and surrounding area drawn by Theodore R Davis. Marine traffic crowds the river and piers with ferries, paddle-wheelers, steamships, schooners and sloops of all descriptions. The building of the bridge would slightly alleviate this nautical congestion.
Construction on the bridge began on January 2, 1870. Continue reading
100+ Years Later- What is the “Difference”?
A while ago, browsing through old news sources for verification of a story, I came across an illustration from Harper’s Weekly from the early 1900s.
If there is an artist’s signature, unfortunately I could not find it.
The Illustration taking the entire page is titled “The Difference.” It might be construed by some people today as politically incorrect, totally sexist or completely accurate. Continue reading
A Winter Scene Of Madison Square 1887
This charming etching by Frank M. Gregory (1848-1927) comes from a limited edition book Representative Etchings By Artists of To-day In America by Ripley Hitchcock, 1887, Fredrick A Stokes. The book included ten original etchings from noted artists of the day including Frederick S. Church, Robert F. Blum and Stephen Parrish.
We are looking north up Fifth Avenue. The busy street scene with horse drawn carriages, delivery wagons and pedestrians features a Broadway Squad policeman escorting a young girl across the street.
On the left is the Fifth Avenue Hotel and beyond that is Broadway. The obelisk in the center is the General William Worth Monument. Directly behind the monument on 25th Street, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway diverge is the building that housed The New York Club, an exclusive men’s club, in 1887. The building was originally built in 1865 as a hotel named Worth House. In 1888 a fire displaced the New York Club. The structure that now occupies that site, was built in 1918 and is the New York flagship store of Porcelanosa.
Madison Square Park is barely visible on the right.
Further up Fifth Avenue on the corner of 26th Street is the Brunswick Hotel. Diagonally opposite the Brunswick is the famous Delmonico’s restaurant.
The steeple in the distance on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street is the Marble Collegiate Church.
The Fabulous New York City Paintings Of Paul Cornoyer
We’ve covered Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923) previously and want to showcase some more of his splendid work. He is not a name well known outside of the fine art world, but his New York City paintings are extraordinary and deserve wider appreciation.
Paul Cornoyer was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri where he studied at the School of Fine Arts in 1881 working in a Barbizon style of painting. In 1889, Cornoyer went to Paris for further training, and returned to St. Louis in 1894. He came to New York City in 1899 where he established a studio. He remained in New York until 1917 painting various scenes about Manhattan.
Paul Cornoyer’s impressionistic and tonal paintings of New York City at the turn-of-the-century have a genuine charm to them. Cornoyer’s paintings capture a feeling which is difficult to describe. Cornoyer’s work is very different from any of the other Impressionist or Ashcan artists painting New York City at the same time, such as Childe Hassam or John Sloan. Cornoyer’s work is a little bit softer as are his subjects. There is melancholy present in many of his paintings. But Cornoyer also conveys the palpable exuberance of a new century. A city growing, expansively and vertically yet still clinging to its 19th century humanity.
Six More Views of New York City From The 1920s & 30s by Artist Luigi Kasimir
Seven years ago we featured the art work of Luigi Kasimir.
In the first half of the 20th century Kasimir was admired by peers and critics in the art world. His name has been forgotten in the 21st century by most people, except New York art aficionados.
Luigi Kasimir was born in 1881 in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and later came to New York where he repeatedly captured the architectural sights of the city. Kasimir is best known for his detailed etchings, many of which were done in color, which apparently was not the norm for early 20th century etchings. The New York Times distinguished Kasimir from other etchers of the time at a contemporary exhibition in 1926 by referring to him as a “colorist.” These aquatints have a vibrancy that makes the New York of the 1920’s and 1930’s come alive. Kasimir was prolific and produced hundreds of works until his death in 1962.
We thought it was worth taking another look at Kasimir’s delightful scenes of New York. So here are six additional etchings of Luigi Kasimir’s New York City.
(click on any etching to enlarge.)
Wall Street, April 1936 Continue reading
Five Classic New York City Saturday Evening Post
A magazine with great cover art? The New Yorker fits the bill with every issue having an illustration adorning the covers since beginning publication in 1925.
Over the course of the 20th century photography eventually replaced magazine cover art. But if there was a magazine that could give The New Yorker a challenge in the cover art department, it would be The Saturday Evening Post.
If The New Yorker was the quintessential representative for sophisticates, then The Saturday Evening Post represented the rest of America. The covers of The Saturday Evening Post mirrored America, the same way The New Yorker echoed New York.
Arguably no New Yorker cover artist past or present is widely known to most Americans. The Post fostered the career of a legendary artist, Norman Rockwell. From the late teens until the 1960s Rockwell drew an astounding 321 covers for the magazine. Rockwell’s name and work is still recognized by millions of people nearly 40 years after his death.
But what of the hundreds of other talented artists who illustrated magazine covers? There were only a few artists who worked for both the New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. Each magazine wanted exclusivity considering the illustration style was at times somewhat similar.
Every now and then, the Post would feature a New York City scene on its cover.
Here are five examples from the 1940s.
John Falter (1910-1982) drew over 120 covers for the Saturday Evening Post. The April 30, 1949 cover shows Central Park and the skyline of the upper east side. The original cover Falter submitted had a lightning bolt and a rainbow simultaneously, which concerned the Post’s editors. They consulted the weather bureau asking if it was possible to have both lightning and a rainbow appear at the same time? The weather bureau replied they had never seen the phenomenon but where weather was concerned “anything could happen.”
The Post’s Art Department decided to remove the lightning and the illustration appeared as seen here.
Constantin Alajalov (1900-1987) was one of those few artists who worked concurrently for The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. The February 12, 1949 cover has a young lady in a travel office dreaming of getting away from the cold as she’s surrounded with posters advertising sunny locales. Note there is something never seen in New York City anymore: clotheslines connected from building to building. Alajalov originally drew snowflakes falling in the courtyard, but then decided to remove them when he thought: would anyone be drying clothes in a snowstorm? Probably not. So either remove the clotheslines or the snowflakes. Alajalov chose to remove the snowflakes. Continue reading
6 Drawings Of New York Unseen For Over 100 Years By Vernon Howe Bailey
Obscure publications can yield hidden gems. These drawings by famed artist Vernon Howe Bailey appeared in the Illuminating Engineer in 1911 and as far as can be determined have not been reproduced since then.
Vernon Howe Bailey (1874-1953) was a prodigious illustrator whose work appeared primarily in newspapers and magazines.
He eventually made his way to the New York Sun newspaper in the 1920s where he captured New York’s architecture and streets with exquisite on-the-spot illustrations.
Eventually a good deal of Bailey’s New York City work was compiled in a book called Magical City. These illustrations were not included in that book. So for the first time in over 100 years here are Vernon Howe Bailey’s renderings of New York City in 1911.
As these illustrations were intended for a magazine promoting electric lighting, you will notice that electric light fixtures appear rather prominently in each illustration.
The Harlem Speedway, where wealthy New Yorker’s used to take out their horse drawn carriages for a spirited run, was eventually incorporated into the highway that became the Harlem River Drive. Continue reading