This Pastoral Scene Is Broadway and 79th Street
While the quality of this photograph is far from perfect, we thought it was unusual enough to share.
With laundry hanging off a clothesline, a horse grazing near the front door of a tree filled yard, this bucolic area is Bloomingdale, near the corner of the Boulevard and 79th Street. At least that is what is written on the back of the circa 1890 photo.
As you may know, The Boulevard was the continuation of Broadway above 59th Street.
Robinson’s Atlas of New York City 1885
Checking Robinson’s Atlas of New York City from 1885, I’ve tried to figure out where this house stood and what direction the photograph was taken from.
The atlas key is as follows: structures shaded in yellow are made of wood, pink are brick and brown are stone. We can see our three story house is made of wood. In the background on the right there is another building. But which of these buildings fits the description?
The authoritative book on the Bloomingdale area (the Dutch name for Valley of the Flowers) is The New York of Yesterday (1908) by Hopper Striker Mott. According to Mott, the house that was nearest that site was the van den Heuvel homestead a two story stone and wood home built approximately in 1759.
The end is near for the former van den Heuvel / Burnham mansion c. 1905 photo: Robert Bracklow NYHS
Sometime in the early 19th century the van den Heuvel home had an additional story added after a fire destroyed the original slanted roof. Continue reading →