Three ways of viewing a Lexington Avenue corner

In 1915, when this photo was taken, Lexington Avenue at 116th Street was firmly in the Little Italy of East Harlem, hence the Italian in the signs on the far right above a chemist’s office.

“This section of East Harlem was developed  during the 1880s with the familiar New York brownstone residences and walk-up apartments,” states New York Then and Now, where the photo and the one below appear.

“One block west is the elevated crossing of the New York Central and New Haven Railroads on Park Avenue. The Subway Cafe, on the right-hand corner, anticipates the opening of the Lexington Avenue subway by three years.”

By 1975, the Italian neighborhood is mostly gone; Puerto Rican New Yorkers have moved in. The buildings themselves haven’t changed much—and the Bloomingdale’s ad from 1915 is visible 60 years later.

In 2012, the streetscape still looks similar. The corner building that went from saloon to Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet is now home to a taco shop, a sign of the neighborhood’s Mexican population.

And though the Bloomingdale’s ad on the corner has been painted over, next to it out of view, a second Bloomingdale’s ad is still legible! Here it is from an earlier Ephemeral post.

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5 Responses to “Three ways of viewing a Lexington Avenue corner”

  1. apoprincess25 Says:

    I grow up on 115 st between lex & third ave …. i remember when it was a little Italy … the best bakeries 1 on 2nd ave between 116 117st which now is some kind of Mexican store… and one @ 116st between 2nd & 1st ave. i just cant believe that the Mexicans hv slowly moved us out (im puerto rican, born there raised here from the age of 6months) … well i guess we getting the same feeling the Italian felt when we did it 2 them …. i still live in Spanish Harlem … now i give back to my community as a Auxiliary Police Officer … luv the pics … you forgot to mention La Marqueta … our little PR …

  2. rick mcginnis Says:

    It’s interesting that the first photo has no cars, the second tons, and the third … fewer? Visibly fewer. Is Manhattan driving so terrible that it’s had a discouraging effect?

  3. todd mc Says:

    The building on the corner has the word “centro” or “medico” on it in each of the photos. I also love seeing how the Bloomingdale’s ad is still present in the 1975 picture.

  4. metroatlantic Says:

    Beautiful! I’d love to see more of these street comparisons throughout the city. By the way, amazing blog, truly. I’ve enjoyed every post.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks so much! Feel free to suggest a corner and I’ll see what old photos I can dig up.

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