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
New Year’s Celebration 1907 – New York Police Commissioner Bans Horn Blowing
A photographer from the Montauk Photo Concern decided to photograph the scene inside the Cafe Martin, at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue on New Year’s Eve December 31, 1906.
As midnight approached the revelers at Cafe Martin noisily whooped it up, raised their glasses and toasted the coming New Year of 1907. This photograph captures a singular moment: right before the stroke of midnight the lights were put out and at exactly twelve, were put on again. The guests then sang along as the band broke into the Star Spangled Banner. Afterwards guests blew horns and confetti was strewn everywhere. Young men filled with the idea of making a speech got up on chairs and spoke to the heart’s content without anyone to stop them.
The guests, all elegantly attired, look like they are having an extraordinary time.
Outside the restaurant it was supposed to be quieter. A city ordinance forbidding horn blowing in the streets had been on the books for years. Earlier in the day Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham informed the newspapers that the bells of Trinity and Grace Church would be heard when they tolled the midnight hour.
Bingham instructed the police to enforce the noise law. All horn blowing was prohibited on New Year’s Eve! Continue reading
A View Of New York From The Steeple of Trinity Church
In mid-19th century New York City if you wanted to be above it all and get a sweeping view of the city there was one place to go: the steeple of Trinity Church on Wall Street.
The steeple of Trinity rose 281 feet into the air and gave New Yorkers and visitors alike an unobstructed view of the city as far as the eye could see.
Trinity Church was originally constructed in 1696 and was burned down by the British in 1776 during the Revolutionary War.
If you’ve ever seen the Nicholas Cage movie National Treasure, you can be assured that there is no treasure buried under Trinity Church as the British troops sacked the original building before burning it. Continue reading
From An 1892 Guidebook – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About New York
The old New York City guidebooks always contain interesting information. These facts are from an 1892 guide.
The New York Post Office handled over 600,000,000 pieces of mail matter annually. That may not be so amazing. What is amazing is that they had an annual profit of $3 million dollars!
Trinity Church is part of Trinity Parish. The Parish was the richest in America. Income from its real estate and other holdings amounted to over $500,000 annually
It was free to walk over the 9-year-old Brooklyn Bridge. Vehicles had to pay a toll of 3 cents each way.
At Centre and Franklin Streets stood the City Prison, better known as The Tombs, because of the architectural resemblance to Egyptian tombs. Before the death by electrocution law went into effect in 1889, all condemned murderers sentenced to death by the New York courts were executed in the Tombs. Continue reading
Two Views of Wall Street – 1880 & 1904 – With A Story From A 19th Century Stockbroker
The changes in Wall Street from 1880 to 1904 are clear by comparing these two photographs taken from Broad Street. The center of each photograph is unchanged with historic Trinity Church at the foot of Wall Street and Broadway.
In the 1880 photo the church clock indicates it is 9:40 in the morning. Wall street looks almost provincial with gas lit lamps and small five story buildings, mainly housing insurance companies, brokers and banks. With the wild stock swings in this tumultuous era, many firms were here today, gone tomorrow.
On the far left side behind the gas lamp you can see the advertisement on the stairs leading to 17 Wall Street for stock brokers Taylor Brothers. Directly adjacent is a three story building with a sign above its entrance for Duff and Tienken, gold brokers. Immediately next to Duff and Tienken at 13 Wall Street is the first building owned by the New York Stock Exchange. Looking closely at the sidewalk in front of most of the buildings, the small circular cylindrical objects are coal chute covers.
Fast forward 24 years later to 1904 and Wall Street is lined with tall buildings. Continue reading
This great view of Broadway looking south from Park Place was taken in 1875 by Thorne & Co. publishers of New York City views. With evidence from the shadows and with virtually no street traffic and few pedestrians, this photo apparently was taken early on a Sunday morning.
On the right hand side of the photo we see a couple of five story commercial buildings populated with local businesses offering sales including a clothing store, a jeweler and a toy distributor. One sign on the side of the stairs offers soda for a nickel.
The next building taking up the entire west side of Broadway from Barclay to Vesey Streets is the Astor House Hotel. Beyond the Astor House is St. Paul’s Chapel, followed by the recently completed Western Union Building. Further in the distance you can see the spire of Trinity Church. Continue reading
Lower Manhattan’s Skyline Evolution
On March 21, 1909 The New York Sun newspaper published an illustration (reproduced below) that showed the rapid growth of the New York City skyline as seen from New Jersey in four line drawings from 1880 -1909.
Click to greatly enlarge this illustration.
We have added a photograph from approximately 100 years later showing the same view.
The two constants are Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel Continue reading
Festivities In New York City On New Year’s Eve 1906
A couple of years ago we featured photos of Times Square and New Year’s celebrations from the 1950’s – 1960’s. This time we went back in time a bit further to New Year’s Eve 1906.
Probably something you never thought about: where else did New Yorkers celebrate New Year’s besides Times Square, which started drawing crowds in 1904 with the completion of the New York Times Tower Building?
The answer is all over the city at various churches, hotels, restaurants and clubs, with Trinity Church being a focal point for large crowds.
Seen below is the crowd outside of Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street on New Year’s Eve 1906 awaiting the arrival of 1907.
It proves again that celebrating the New Year has not changed that much over the years. People have always liked to congregate on New Year’s Eve in New York City even in freezing weather. It’s just that back then the majority of celebrants were New Yorkers, unlike today where many revelers are visiting from all over the globe.
Here is how the New York Tribune described Continue reading