Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square 1900’

A rainy September evening at Madison Square

September 21, 2015

It’s just after the turn of the century in this enchanting postcard of the Fifth Avenue side of Madison Square Park.


The Flatiron Building is there, so it must be at least 1902. But carriages and drivers still line the street opposite the park, likely waiting for the city’s wealthy and powerful to emerge from the Fifth Avenue Hotel, demolished in 1908.

The postcard itself is postmarked 1910, and the writer has scribbled, “I am loving New York and having a great time.”

Madison Square’s sensuous “throbbing fountain”

August 10, 2015

When painter John Sloan arrived in New York City in 1904, he first settled in Chelsea, not far from Madison Square Park.


The park soon became one of his favorite haunts, partly because of the diverse mix of people he could observe there, but also due to a 30-foot fountain at the south end of the park.

In his diary he called it the Throbbing Fountain. “Sat in Madison Square,” he wrote on September 9, 1906. “Watched the Throbbing Fountain.”


“Think I’ll soon tackle a plate on this subject,” he continued. “The sensuous attraction of the spurts of water is strong subconsciously on everyone.”

Sloan painted two views of the fountain, one in 1907 and one at night in 1908 (painted from memory, as it was apparently dismantled by then), and both show a fountain with its own hypnotic pull.

Stay at the Hotel Arlington in Madison Square

January 25, 2013

According to this century-old postcard, $2 at the Hotel Arlington in genteel Madison Square gets you a room and a bath. Looking for a suite? That’ll run you at least $4.

Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 25th Street hasn’t changed excessively since the early 1900s. Madison Square Park is just as pretty, but it’s no longer all that centrally located.


The Arlington Hotel building still stands and it’s still a hotel—a Comfort Inn. A low-rise holdout building that could be the one in the postcard (though remodeled) sits on its right.

The Gothic Revival church across the street remains. Built in 1868 by Richard Upjohn, it was once Trinity Chapel and is now home to a Serbian Orthodox congregation.

New York’s “Flat Iron and Fifth Avenue Buildings”

February 14, 2011

I like Flat Iron as two words; it doesn’t obscure the origin of the building’s name.

Aside from the streetcars navigating Broadway, the best part of the postcard is the caption on the back: “Facing Madison Square, these two buildings are among the most interesting in the uptown district.”

Uptown for 1905, I guess.

In the center is the still-standing, seven-story Western Union Building, by late 19th century starchitect Henry Hardenburgh.

And look—no Shake Shack!


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