Posts Tagged ‘old New York photos’

Three centuries at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue

February 24, 2014

“The pace was leisurely, with bicycles, horsecars, broughams, and hansom cabs comprising traffic,” states the caption to this 1898 photo looking north on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. It’s from New York Then and Now.


The twin lamppost makes a nice contrast to the twin Moorish-style towers of Temple Emanu-El, built in 1868 and a mainstay of this section of Fifth Avenue until 1927.

The building on the northwest corner at 42nd is the circa-1875 Hotel Bristol. See the stone wall with a low fence on the far left? There’s no New York Public Library Building yet.

The year this photo was taken, the Croton Reservoir would be torn down—the wall looks like part of the reservoir structure.


What a difference 76 years make. Fifth Avenue’s residential era is long over; it’s now the city’s commercial heart.

The temple, lampposts, and Hotel Bristol are gone, but the six-story building from 1870 on the far right still exists, with a Russell Stover candy store at the ground floor.


Thirty-eight years later, in 2014, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street is still a crowded commercial corner, with one church steeple still in view.

What happened to the six-story building at the far right? It was swallowed up by H&M!

A rural-looking Fifth Avenue at 44th Street

August 18, 2011

Ye Olde Willow Cottage, the wood-frame building with the shutters and porch in this 1902 New-York Historical Society photo, looks like the kind of tavern you’d find in an upstate hamlet, not the center of New York City.

But there it is next to another small-town kind of shop, Tyson’s Fifth Avenue Market.

Strangely, this is Fifth Avenue and 44th Street—at the time lined with mansions and other designations of contemporary luxury yet containing pockets that “still looked almost rural,” notes New York: A Guide to the Metropolis, which published the photo.