Posts Tagged ‘New York in 1975’

Three views of Sixth Avenue and 20th Street

March 19, 2012

In 1901, when this first photo was taken, Sixth Avenue and 20th Street was the center of the city’s posh shopping district.

It was part of the fabled Ladies’ Mile, where stores like Siegel-Cooper, Adams & Co., and Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store sold fashion and furnishings.

“By 1915, all these stores had failed, merged, or moved farther uptown,” states the caption to the photo, which was published in New York Then and Now.

Here’s the crowd of well-dressed, well-to-do women in front of O’Neill’s. A hansom cab waits, a gas lamp will light the street at dusk, and the Sixth Avenue El is hurtling down the tracks, bringing smoke and more shoppers to the 18th Street station.

By 1975, when the second photo (also from New York Then and Now) was shot, the area had become grungy and grim.

It hadn’t been a viable shopping district of any kind at least since the El was torn down in 1939. The gas lamppost has been replaced, and the lovely cast-iron buildings support light manufacturing and small offices.

Today, in 2012, it’s a bustling shopping strip again—and residential area too. The O’Neill building has been renovated into pricey luxury condos.

The ground-floor store is home to a bank branch, of course.

Three different ways of looking at 23rd Street

November 13, 2011

“Vine-covered homes and shade trees marked 23rd Street over a century ago,” explains the caption to this 1874 photo of the street, which looks East toward Sixth Avenue.

The photos and captions come from New York Then and Now, published in 1976. “It was not until 1878 that the Sixth Avenue elevated railroad was erected, but the 23rd Street crosstown horsecar line was already a year old.”

Here’s a much less residential 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, from 1975. “All the buildings visible in the 1874 photo have been demolished,” the caption states, including the Victorian Masonic Temple at the northeast corner, built in 1870.

“The Masonic Temple was torn down in 1910; the present 19-story Masonic Hall Building was erected on the site.”

By 1975, the famed department stores that made 23rd Street synonymous with fashion and shopping at the turn of the century—such as Stern’s and Best’s—were long gone.

The same stretch of 23rd Street today looks very similar to the 1975 version. Except for the Dunkin Donuts, even the stores look similar; the Citibank and Chase on the north side of the street replaced other bank branches.

And the tree on the far right—it looks almost identical to the one on the right in the 1874 photo!