A postcard shows off the pretty girls of New York

Most of New York City’s vintage postcards feature beautiful sites of the city itself—not Gotham’s beautiful women. But this turn-of-the-century postcard is a strange exception to the rule.

“Pretty girls, pretty girls everywhere, but the New York belles are claimed most fair” reads the caption, with the images of six women, none of whom I recognize but could be actresses of the era.

The inset image of Herald Square is interesting—perhaps it’s pictured because West 34th Street was part of the Theater District at the time, and it was the place to see these and other “New York belles.”

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6 Responses to “A postcard shows off the pretty girls of New York”

  1. Shayne Davidson Says:

    They were likely artist’s models.

  2. countrypaul Says:

    It’s fascinating how standards of beauty morph over time. Thank you for this post. (And I wish I could ride on that el, too….)

  3. velovixen Says:

    As you point out, 34th Street was part of the Theater District of that time. It was also,’if my knowledge is correct, the upper end of Ladies’ Mile, so those women might have been models for one of the boutiques—or Macy’s or Lord and Taylor, which I believe were in business around that time.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      How could I forget about Macy’s moving to Herald Square in 1902 and turning the neighborhood into the new shopping mecca of New York? Thanks for pointing that out; I agree the models on the postcard may be connected to this.

  4. Bill Wolfe Says:

    Not sure if it signifies anything more than coincidence, but “Pretty Girls Everywhere” was a big R&B hit for Eugene Church in 1959. Chances are probably slim that he ever saw this postcard, though.

    • countrypaul Says:

      I doubt he saw it, but that’s a really cool record. I remember hearing it on NY radio, but couldn’t tell you which station.

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