The beautiful street clocks along Fifth Avenue

A grand avenue like Fifth should be adorned with lovely, stately street clocks, right?

New York business owners whose shops were located on this pricey stretch of real estate seemed to think so. These towering timepieces (which also functioned as advertising vehicles) sprouted up in the late 19th century until about 1920, when watches became more popular.

Several extant timepieces keep us informed to this day—like this beauty. It’s stood on 59th Street in front of the Sherry Netherland since the hotel opened in 1927.

At 57th Street is the clock that tops Tiffany & Co. The nine-foot figure of Atlas was carved in 1853 and first adorned Tiffany’s when the jeweler had its store on Prince Street and Broadway.

This 20-foot, cast-iron sentinel at 44th Street was built in 1907. It originally stood at 43rd Street, but when the bank it fronted moved up a block, so did the clock.

One of the most beautiful of the city’s street clocks is the “gilded cast-iron masterpiece,” as the Landmarks Preservation Commission called it, at 200 Fifth Avenue.

The 19-footer dates to 1909—when the Madison Square neighborhood was very posh, and the Fifth Avenue Building it stood outside was so well-known, it shared a postcard with the Flatiron Building across the way.

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15 Responses to “The beautiful street clocks along Fifth Avenue”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Those clocks are lovely. I hope they always stand.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I always met a date on 23rd St & 5th Ave right by the clock. Thanks for reminding me, it would look bad if I kept her waiting ;)

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Well, now you can slip into Eataly and grab a $7 espresso while you wait!

  4. fivepointsguy Says:

    I wonder if there’s any money in clock repair. It would seem to me to be a dying craft. But someone has to keep these beautiful clocks, as well as the ones on office buildings (Metropolitan Life, Con Ed, etc.), running.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    I was shocked they all worked and told the correct time. So someone must be taking care of them.

  6. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Years ago I saw them adjusting the clock on 14th St, it took them days but it had been out for years. It worked beautifully after that.

  7. wordgrl Says:

    These beautiful clocks and the few bishops crook street lanterns left remind us of earlier times and I hope we do what we can to keep them.

  8. Madame Weebles Says:

    There are some beauties downtown too, and I think most of them still work as well. It makes me happy when I see street clocks that are well cared for.

  9. Electric Time Says:

    Electric Time Company of Medfield Massachusetts just restored the clock at 200 fifth avenue. Please feel free to use our photographs of the clock at Street Clock Restoration Just provide a link to our website at http://www.electrictime.com/post_clocks/

    Thanks.

  10. the coolest old-school clock on Lafayette Street « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] York has lots of lovely street clocks—like these beauties along Fifth Avenue. Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  11. St Mark Says:

    Stunning. Wish we had more of these all over the city…

  12. Iconic Fifth Avenue Says:

    [...] Clock, located at 200 Fifth Avenue near 23rd Street at Madison Square Park is 19 feet high, one of several beautiful clocks you can find along the way. When it was first built in 1909, it had to be wound every eight days [...]

  13. Aleks V (@aleksvee) Says:

    That first clock is in the ending credits of The Odd Couple! I was looking for where that clock was and came across this page. :)

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