Posts Tagged ‘86th Street 1914’

Three ways of looking at East 86th Street

April 23, 2012

Few city neighborhoods have changed in the past 100 years as much as Yorkville, the center of German immigrant life through much of the 20th century. This new Kleindeutschland was a hub for German food, culture, and politics for decades.

This photo shows the main drag, 86th Street, looking east from Lexington Avenue; it was published in the wonderful book New York Then and Now.

The book tells us that the six-story building on the right, behind the middle of the second car on the Third Avenue El, was the Yorkville Casino, a popular social center.

Sixty-one years later, here’s the same view of 86th Street. High-rise apartment buildings have replaced walkups, movie theaters, and the Casino, and street traffic has increased dramatically—no more Third Avenue El to whisk passengers above ground.

Here’s the same view today: fewer tenements, more high-rises, lots of chain stores, same amount of traffic. It’s still called Yorkville on maps, but it’s less of a distinct neighborhood than ever.