Scenes of a young Manhattan, at work and play

There’s not very much information out there on an artist named Louis Augier.

I’m not even sure he was actually in New York in the first half of the 19th century, the time period these depictions were supposedly created.


But his life-like, detailed images of the new city of New York (above, “New York in 1831,” showing St. Paul’s Chapel on Lower Broadway) in the 1810s through the 1850s are captivating.

In the absence of photos, they seem to tell us how upper-crust residents lived (below, Bowling Green in 1831).


No doubt these images are cleaned-up versions of the way the city really looked: there’s no trash in the streets, no poverty, no problems bigger than a traffic jam.


Social realism they are not. Still, we see the fashions the city’s elite wore, the way their homes looked, and how they got around (those omnibuses in the top image look a little rickety).

And they seem to enjoy the same thing New Yorkers of today love doing: strolling along the streets of their neighborhoods, which look strangely similar now as it did then (above: City Hall, 1819).

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3 Responses to “Scenes of a young Manhattan, at work and play”

  1. S.S. Says:


  2. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News via Tigho Says:

    […] Scenes of 19th-century Manhattan (Ephemeral New York) […]

  3. Colorful poster stamp images of an older city | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] St. Paul’s Chapel on Lower Broadway is mostly known now for its role as a relief center on and just after September 11, 2001. The Washington Square Arch is still there and must-see for out-of-towners. But no cars anymore. […]

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