True, the streets don’t look as festive, and store facades aren’t as decked out as they are today (where are all the usual wreaths and tinsel?).
But in terms of the crowds, the vendors, and all the kids captivated by toy displays, holiday shopping in New York City hasn’t really changed much in the past century, as these photos from abut 1910 reveal.
Then and now, there’s lots of action at the fancy, exclusive department stores, such as the old B. Altman building on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street (above).
Street peddlers put out their wares on the sidewalk, just as they do today (above, selling stuffed toys on Sixth Avenue).
Kids were drawn to toys, naturally. This audience of little ones seems quite taken with the doll and furniture display at the shop above.
I have no idea what this gadget is, but I wonder if this vendor managed to unload it on any of these boys.
Even in an age without web shopping and next-day delivery, Christmas delivery truck drivers were still kept very busy.
And of course, fake-bearded Santas stood at their posts on Midtown streets, soliciting change for charity. This Kris Kringle is raising money for holiday dinners for the needy.
[Photos: The George Bain Collection of the Library of Congress]
Tags: B. Altman shopping NYC, Christmas in New York 1910, Christmas shopping in New York City, George Bain photos NYC, holiday shopping NYC, old photos of Christmas shopping, vintage Christmas shopping photos NYC