A busy shopping district downtown in 1855

This lovely print of then-bustling Liberty Street is a promotion for Witte & Brunswig, importers of French and German “fancy goods.”

“The printmaker included several anecdotal details: a pigtailed Chinese man (lower right); a black man fashionably attired in plaid trousers, leaning against a lamp post (near lower right); and, cleverly, a man wearing placards advertising his own commercial lithography business (toward the lower left)” writes Marilyn Symmes in Impressions of New York.

So who are the “friends” this ad addresses? Probably other German immigrants, according to Symmes. At this time, Germans made up the second largest group of immigrants in the city (first: the Irish).

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2 Responses to “A busy shopping district downtown in 1855”

  1. Josie Says:

    A wonderful image. Who could imagine Liberty Street having ever been like that.

  2. Theater District | FM Boston Radio Says:

    […] A busy shopping district downtown in 1855 « Ephemeral New York […]

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