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.
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.
Tags: 116th Street corner, 116th Street photo, Bloomingdale's ad East Harlem, East Harlem photos, East Harlem Street, faded ads, Italian East Harlem, Lexington Avenue then and now, New York then and now