Posts Tagged ‘New York at the turn of the 20th century’

When tenements were named for U.S. presidents

December 1, 2010

I wonder if New Yorkers respected their presidents more around the turn of the 20th century, when all of these residences went up.

Or perhaps developers gave their buildings presidential monikers because they were all constructed in poor neighborhoods.

Maybe having the name of a leader above the front entrance lent a low-rent tenement a more aspirational air.

Whatever the reason, there sure are a lot of presidentially named buildings. Lincoln (on West 51st Street) is understandable, and Roosevelt (East 14th Street) was New York’s former governor.

But McKinley’s (East Village) connection to New York? I’m not aware of one. His may be a sympathy choice; he was assassinated in 1901, right around when the building named for him appeared.

Central Park in a horse-drawn sleigh

January 3, 2010

Makes you wish snow was on the ground right now, doesn’t it? This turn-of-the-century postcard depicts winter in the park as even more magical and enchanting than it usually is.

Sleighing in the park was a popular pastime after a snowstorm. View a December 1898 clip of horse-drawn sleighs traveling through Central Park here.

When trolleys cut through Union Square

July 11, 2009

Judging from the lack of automobile traffic on 14th Street, Broadway, and University Place—as well as the streetcar trolleys and horse and carriages—I’d guess this photo is from just about the turn of the 20th century.


It’s a great picture. There’s a statue at the southwest corner of Union Square, but it certainly isn’t Ghandi, who occupies that spot now.

Instead of Whole Foods we’ve got Automatic Vaudeville, a penny arcade offering a basement shooting gallery, peep shows, and phonographs in individual listening booths—kind of what the Virgin Megastore had for customers who wanted to sample music before they closed up shop last month.

And in place of Forever 21 is Brill Brothers, a men’s clothing store.