Tag Archives: Midtown Manhattan

Street clocks – how New Yorkers kept time on the go.

Street clocks once dominated the sidewalks of New York City. First introduced in the 1860s, the clocks quickly became popular with businesses looking for novel ways to advertise and with the general public who appreciated the convenience.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Broadway - Southwest Corner of 32nd Street Looking North. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17118

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Broadway – Southwest Corner of 32nd Street Looking North. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17118

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Theatre, American, 42nd Street Between 7th & 8th Aves. ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York. 29.100.1180

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Theatre, American, 42nd Street Between 7th & 8th Aves. ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York. 29.100.1180

Few of these clocks exist today, however. Some became casualties of accidents as automobiles proliferated in the 20th century. Others gave way to the digital timepieces that predominate today.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). The Corn Exchange Bank. West 42nd St. Branch. 303 West 42nd Street. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.15338

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). The Corn Exchange Bank. West 42nd St. Branch. 303 West 42nd Street. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.15338

Sensing this unfortunate trend, in 1981 the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated eight sidewalk clocks still standing as landmarks, including the one below.

Berenice Abbott. Tempo of the City I. 1938. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.249

Berenice Abbott. Tempo of the City I. 1938. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.249

This double faced cast-iron clock at 522 Fifth Avenue on the southwest corner of 44th Street was manufactured in 1907 by the Seth Thomas Company.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Sidewalk clock and Guaranty Trust Company building. ca. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.17786

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Sidewalk clock and Guaranty Trust Company building. ca. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.17786

It originally stood one block south on Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street in front of the American Trust Company, but was moved to its current location in the 1930s when the American Trust Company merged with the Guaranty Trust Company.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 513 5th Avenue and 43rd Street. Postal Life Building, detail of lower stories. ca. 1917. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.2106

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 513 5th Avenue and 43rd Street. Postal Life Building, detail of lower stories. ca. 1917. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.2106

Now it stands proudly as a reminder of a not too distant past.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Sidewalk clock and Guaranty Trust Company building. ca. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.17827

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Sidewalk clock and Guaranty Trust Company building. ca. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.17827

What skating rink is that? Who lived in that house? Solving mysteries in the collection.

From time to time, the Collections Department receives inquiries from the public about the information associated with images we’ve cataloged online.   The data in the catalog records is pulled from inscriptions on photographs, and from photographers’ logs, notes, and shot lists that were acquired along with many of the Museum’s major photographic collections, such the Wurts Brothers  or Byron Company.  When we notice something that seems incorrect, we conduct further research, but generally, we consider these materials primary sources, and with collections numbering in the tens of thousands of images, must trust that the photographers kept accurate records.   Nobody’s perfect of course, and from time to time a researcher, or just someone browsing images on the Collections Portal, comes across an image they feel has been misidentified and reaches out to us, often through the research@mcny.org email (to learn more about our collections research services, check out the research page on the Museum’s newly redesigned website!)

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 5 West 51st Street. 1932. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.14118

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Old Carnegie Residence. 5 West 51st Street. 1932. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.14118

One such situation occurred when we were contacted by a researcher from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which resides in the former Andrew Carnegie family residence on Fifth Avenue and East 90th Street.  The Cooper-Hewitt had, in turn, been contacted by a preservationist, who was seeking to confirm the address of an even earlier Carnegie residence.  That researcher referenced the photograph to the right from our collection, which at the time was identified on the Collections Portal as “Old Carnegie Residence. 15 West 51st Street.”  That description came directly from one of the Wurts Brothers photography logs, shown below. If you enlarge the image of the log book, you’ll see on the bottom right corner of the right page the description of the photograph: “Aug 19 1932. Fred R. King. […] Photo Old Carnegie Residence. 15 West 51 St.” Or does it actually say 5 West 51 St.? It’s hard to tell.

Wurts Bros. log book.

Wurts Bros. log book.

Detlef Lienau, Design for George Mosle Residence, 5 West 51st Street, N.Y., 1879. Courtesy of Detlef Lienau architectural drawings and papers, Department of Drawings and Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

Detlef Lienau, Design for George Mosle Residence, 5 West 51st Street, N.Y., 1879. Courtesy of Detlef Lienau architectural drawings and papers, Department of Drawings and Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

The preservationist who contacted the Cooper-Hewitt wasn’t even interested in the Carnegie Mansion, she was interested in 15 West 51st Street, in relation to a preservation project her firm had underway.  The Cooper-Hewitt confirmed that the Carnegies lived at 5 West 51st, not 15 West 51st, but they then looped us into the conversation to determine the actual address of the residence pictured above.  The Cooper-Hewitt had been seeking an image of the house at 5 West 51st Street, to no avail; all they had found was the elevation to the left, created when the house was originally built in 1879 for George Mosle by Detlef Lienau, which they supplied to us.

We  zoomed in on the photograph in question (you can do this too – clicking the photograph will take you directly to our Collections Portal, where you can use the magnifying glass icon to  see the details.) There was no address visible on the building, but there was a sign indicating that the structure had recently been sold. Going back to the log book, the name Fred R. King was associated with the address. Frederic Rhinelander King (1887-1972) was an architect; notably, he designed the Women’s National Republican Club at 3 West 51st Street, built from 1933-1934.  The Wurts Brothers probably took the photograph for King just before construction of the clubhouse.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 7 West 51st Street. Graves House. ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.796

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 7 West 51st Street. Graves House. ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.796

With over 125,000 images available online, our Collections Portal is often the best source for identifying discrepancies in catalog records. We found the image to the right, then identified as “[Perhaps] West 51st St. #7. Graves House.” It looks much the same as in the first photograph, and to the right of it is the original building in question. At this point we were confident in identifying the original image as 5 West 51st Street, and the image to the right as 7 West 51st Street.  When we looked back at the elevation supplied by the Cooper-Hewitt and compared it to the photograph, certain common architectural details – such as the balustrade under the third story windows – began to emerge, affirming that in fact we’d identified the early Carnegie Residence, 5 West 51st Street.  Good news for the Cooper-Hewitt; not so much help for for the preservation planner.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). St. Nicholas Rink. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10826

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). St. Nicholas Rink. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10826

Pictured to the left is another misidentified image brought to our attention by a researcher. The photograph was originally described by its creator Byron Company as “Rinks, Iceland Skating Rink, B’way 53rd Street & 7th Ave.” The date given was 1898. But as the researcher pointed out, Iceland skating rink did not open until 1916. We weren’t certain if the title, the date, or both were incorrect. We zoomed in on the image. This revealed a group of people sitting on the sidelines to the left. Their attire led us to believe that the given date of the photograph, 1898, was indeed correct. So now we knew that the photograph wasn’t of Iceland skating rink – but what was it? We looked at rinks on the Collections Portal, but nothing matched the image. We wondered if it could possibly be St. Nicholas Rink, before it became a full-time boxing arena.

St. Nicholas Rink opened in 1896 on 66th Street and Columbus Avenue and was one of the first enclosed ice skating rinks to take advantage of refrigeration technology. The facility has an entry in Wikipedia with an accompanying image. The image on the Wikipedia page gave us hope that the Museum’s photograph was of St. Nicholas Rink. In the Streetscapes column published February 6, 2005 in the New York Times, Christopher Gray writes that the building was “a broad, industrial-like structure with a procession of high brick arches in neo-Classical style…” After reading this description and seeing the photograph of the rink’s exterior published with the article, we believed that the Byron image showed St. Nicholas Rink.

We are grateful when someone points out questionable information on the portal, and continue to invite comments. If you have insight into an image on the portal, email us at portal@mcny.org.  In addition, the Museum shares a “Friday Mystery Image,” every week on our Facebook page.  Check in around lunchtime each Friday if you’d like to help us identify unknown images in our collection.

The Apartment That Wasn’t

John Williams Campbell was born in Brooklyn in 1880 into a well-to-do family. His father was treasurer of the Credit Clearing House, a credit bureau for merchandise wholesalers. At the age of 18, Campbell joined his father at the firm and moved up the ranks, becoming a senior executive seven years later. By the 1920s Campbell was making millions as president of the Credit Clearing House and served on the board of the New York Central Railroad. In 1923 he focused his attention on building a private office, one that would showcase his position and wealth. To that end, he hired architect Augustus N. Allen to design the space. Campbell’s choice of location – a 60-foot long, 30-foot wide single room on the ground floor of Grand Central Terminal – was a departure from the typical skyscraper suite.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24894

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24894

The office boasted a butler, a pipe organ, and a piano, as well as Campbell’s private art collection.  A mahogany musician’s gallery with carved quatrefoils was installed. After hours, Campbell’s office doubled as a private recital hall, where guests could relax on 19th century Italian seating furniture (masquerading as 13th century) and listen to famous musicians play.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.21631

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.21631

Hand-painted wooden beams adorned the 25-foot ceiling. The large stone fireplace behind Campbell’s desk housed a steel safe. Perhaps the most notable feature of all was the hand-woven Persian rug that covered almost the entire floor. It was rumored to have cost $300,000, nearly $4 million in today’s dollars.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24893

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24893

Perhaps because of all its amenities, the office was dubbed “Campbell’s Apartment,” but there is no evidence that he or anybody else lived there. After Campbell’s death in 1957, the space became a signalman’s office. It was later used by the Metro-North Railroad police, as gun storage and then as a jail. During these years, it seemed to follow the fate of its mother building Grand Central in neglect and decline: the leaded glass windows were covered with plywood board, the timbered ceiling was concealed unceremoniously with a dropped ceiling, and the beautiful furnishings gradually disappeared (current whereabouts are unknown). Luckily, the restoration of Grand Central that began in 1993 saved Campbell’s office from a fluorescent-lighted fate. Two costly renovations in 1999 and again in 2007 ($1.5 million and $350,000, respectively) restored the office to its former glory and transformed it into a luxury cocktail bar and lounge with the purposely adopted misnomer, Campbell Apartment.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24895

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Credit Clearing House. Office of John W. Campbell. ca. 1923. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.24895

Art Deco Treasures

Art Deco architecture flourished in Europe and the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Spurred by the 1925 Paris exhibition Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes which boasted over 16 million visitors, structures such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building began dotting the New York City skyline. Below are some recently digitized photographs, not yet available on the Museum’s portal, that struck me as particularly beautiful in their exemplification of Art Deco architecture.

The Ziegfeld Theatre opened to audiences on February 2, 1927 with the musical comedy “Rio Rita”. The 1,638-seat theater, named in honor of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, was financed by William Randolph Hearst and Arthur Brisbane and designed by Joseph Urban and Thomas W. Lamb. Located at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 54th Street, the theater dazzled audiences during its 38-year tenure with original productions of “Ziegfeld Follies of 1931″ and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, to name a few. The limestone structure was razed in 1966 to make way for an office building. In 1969 a 1,131-seat movie palace named after the original Ziegfeld Theatre opened just a few hundred feet away.

Ziegfeld Theatre. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.84

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Ziegfeld Theatre. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.84

Graybar built their namesake building at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street from 1926-27, which served as the distribution company’s corporate headquarters until 1982 . In 2012, New York City Department of Planning (DEP) announced a proposal to rezone East Midtown, the area generally located between Second and Fifth Avenues, from 39th to 57th Streets. Some people are worried that the proposed rezoning could lead to the demolition of older buildings which are not protected by landmark status. Following the DEP’s announcement, the Municipal Art Society of New York submitted the Graybar Building as well as 16 other structures in East Midtown to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for evaluation.

420 Lexington Avenue. Graybar Building, detail of middle entrance. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.2609

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 420 Lexington Avenue. Graybar Building, detail of middle entrance. 1927. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.2609

The Goelet Building, now called the Swiss Center Building, was built from 1930-32 and designed by Victor L. S. Hafner. The engineering firm E.H. Faile & Co. produced the building’s structural frame. Commissioned by Robert Goelet, the building was constructed at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 49th Street, on land previously occupied by the Goelet family mansion. The building’s heritage was beautifully displayed on the main entrance at 608 Fifth Avenue: the cast metal tympanum, shown in the three photographs below, featured a shield with the family monogram “G” as well as the family crest, the swan. Subsequent modifications to the building in 1965 by the Swiss Center included removal of the entrance arch on Fifth Avenue.

608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Detail of metalwork over entrance. 1931. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4841

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Detail of metalwork over entrance. 1931. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4841

608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Detail of metalwork over entrance. 1931. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4842

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Detail of metalwork over entrance. 1931. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4842

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Entrance. 1930. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4906

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 608 Fifth Avenue. Goelet Building. Entrance. 1930. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.4906

The Herman Ridder Junior High School (Public School 98) in the Crotona Park East section of the Bronx was designed by the Board of Education’s Bureau of Design and Construction and built from 1929-31 in response to the borough’s rapid increase in population during the 1920s. The concept of junior high schools, where young teenagers could transition to high school or prepare to enter the workforce, was relatively recent at that time.  The junior high schools in existence were modeled after elementary school plans, albeit with some modifications. The Herman Ridder Junior High school was the first school in New York City built specifically with the needs of junior high students in mind.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Boston Road and 173rd Street. PS 98, Herman Ridder Junior High School. 1933. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.5573

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Boston Road and 173rd Street. PS 98, Herman Ridder Junior High School. 1933. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.5573

The Bronx had become a magnet for the middle class with upwardly mobile aspirations, an affordable alternative to pricey Manhattan real estate. The completion of the Jerome Avenue subway line in 1918 made the area more accessible and therefore, more desirable. Scores of Art Deco apartment houses were being constructed during this time. The boom was particularly evident along Grand Concourse. Perhaps one of the most beautiful examples is 888 Grand Concourse, shown in the photographs below. It was designed by renowned architect Emery Roth in 1937.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7464

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7464

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7465

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. Entrance. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7465

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. Entrance. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7467

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) 888 Grand Concourse. Apartment building. Entrance. 1937. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.7467

Digitization of the Wurts Bros. Collection was made possible by the generous funding and support of the Leon Levy Foundation.

Temple Emanu-El

Temple Emanu-El was established in 1845 as New York City’s first Reform congregation. 33 members met in a loft at the intersection of Clinton and Grand Streets on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As the congregation grew, Emanu-El moved further and further uptown. In 1854, it moved to its third location at 110 East 12th Street, which later housed St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, seen in this 1914 photograph.

George F. Arata. St. Ann's Church on East 12th Street. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.5283

By 1868, the congregation had built a permanent structure on Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street, designed by Leopold Eidlitz and Henry Fernbach. At that time, Temple Emanu-El was the largest synagogue building in the United States. This photograph was taken around 1900.

Temple Emanu-El. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.4629

Much fanfare surrounded its consecration on September 11, 1868. The following day, The New York Times reported that a limited number of tickets available for the ceremony sold out several days in advance. “The anxiety to secure them was very great. When the doors were opened there was a crushing and crowding in which ladies’ crinoline and gentlemen’s hats suffered severely.” This photograph of the interior of the temple was taken around 1900.

Inside of Temple Emanu-El. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.4622

The tranquil neighborhood was an ideal location for the temple, showcased in this 1904 lithograph and in the photograph taken around 1900.

Lithograph issued by Robert A. Welcke. From an old photograph by John Bachmann. Fifth Avenue from 42nd Street, Looking North. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.5.107

5th Avenue north from 42nd Street. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.4628

Over time, however, the neighborhood became increasingly commercial and Temple Emanu-El was unable to expand to accommodate its growing membership, as seen in this 1923 photograph and the etching below from 1926.

Byron Company. East Side of Fifth Ave. from 44 to 43 Sts. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.15280

Anton Joseph Friedrich Schutz. Temple Emanu-El. Museum of the City of New York. 49.369.1

In 1925, Temple Emanu-El sold the building and purchased property at Fifth Avenue and 65th Street, the site of the John Jacob Astor mansion. This photograph shows the property in 1926, shortly before it was torn down.

Wurts Bros. 65th Street at the N.E. corner of 5th Avenue. John Jacob Astor residence, general exterior. X2010.7.1.6053

In 1927, the building at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street was demolished, and the neighborhood became a commercial district. Here is a photo of the location in 1936.

Byron Company. Buildings, 521 Fifth Avenue. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.16715

Construction of the new temple at the site of the Astor mansion began in 1927 and would last two years. Architects Robert D. Kohn, Charles Butler, and Clarence Stein designed the building. This photograph shows the progress in 1928.

Temple Emanu-El under construction. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.5652

In the meantime, services were held 11 blocks uptown at Temple Beth-El, another Reform synagogue. Temple Beth-El was founded in 1874 and had occupied the space on Fifth Avenue and 76th Street since 1891. Temple Beth-El and Temple Emanu-El merged in 1927, although services continued to be held at Temple Beth-El until 1946. That building was demolished in 1947.

Byron Company. Street Scene - 1901, 5th Ave. - South from 76th St. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.18070

On January 10, 1930, 2,500 people attended Temple Emanu-El’s formal dedication at 1 East 65th Street, where it remains to this day. For more information about Emanu-El, please visit http://www.emanuelnyc.org/

Wurts Bros. 5th Avenue and 65th Street. Temple Emanu-el, general view. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.6838

A Trip Up Broadway

From 1916 to 1921, Arthur Hosking photographed Broadway, from its southernmost leg at Bowling Green all the way north to Yonkers. Here are some highlights, all taken in 1920 unless otherwise noted.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. Bowling Green looking north from Custom House steps. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.4

At the far right of this photo is the Produce Exchange, which was demolished in 1957. This photo was taken in 1921, when both street trolleys and horse-drawn carriages competed as viable means of transportation.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. Broadway looking north from Rector Street. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.18

A photo taken a few blocks north at Broadway and Rector Street shows pedestrians, automobiles, and street trolleys competing with each other for space. Trinity Church is on the left.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. Looking north from 2nd floor window at corner of Fulton Street. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.30

Broadway is bustling at the intersection of Fulton Street. St. Paul’s Chapel, seen on the left, was built from 1764 to 1766 and is Manhattan’s oldest continuously-used public building. In 1966, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The City Hall Post Office on the right did not fare so well. Built in 1878, it was immediately despised by city officials and the public alike. It was razed in 1938 in anticipation of the 1939 World Fair. (See http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GON/GON022.htmfor more details.)

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. View of east side of Bway, looking north from Lispenard and Canal Street, where the two streets converge. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.58

Taken in TriBeCa, this photo shows an advertisement for Nehemiah Gitelson & Sons. Nehemiah Gitelson immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1880. In addition to running the family company, he supported Jewish scholarship. In honor of his patronage, the Jewish Theological Seminary named his donation of over 1,100 volumes the Nehemiah Gitelson Talmudic Library.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. View looking south from 18th Street taken from 3rd floor fire escape. 17th Street foreground, and Union Square in center. 1920. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.85

In 1815, the intersection of Broadway and the Bowery (now 4thAvenue) was designated a public meeting space and named Union Place for the convergence of the city’s main thoroughfares. The city gradually began to acquire surrounding land, and in 1832 Union Place was renamed Union Square.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. View looking north from “El” station at 33rd Street and 6th Ave, showing Herald Square. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.108

This photo shows Saks & Co. on the left, then Macy’s. To the right is the New York Herald building. Only the Macy’s building survives today. Saks & Co. merged with Gimbels  to form Saks 5th Avenue in 1932. However, the original Saks building in this photo operated under the name Saks 34thStreet until its closure in 1965. The New York Herald building was designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White in 1894 and demolished in 1921.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. View looking north from 44th Street (Times Square), where Broadway crosses 7th Avenue. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.117

This photo shows the heart of Times Square. To the left is Hotel Astor, built in 1904. Before 1904, the area was known as Longacre Square, but Adolph Ochs, owner and publisher of the New York Times, convinced the city to officially rename the space Times Square. Hotel Astor remained until its demolition in 1967.

Arthur Hosking. View of the southeast corner of Broadway and 155th Street. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.158

Here is the Church of the Intercession in Hamilton Heights. It was only 8 years old when this photo was taken.

The photo below shows Broadway at a much slower pace in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Broadway Inn is to the left.

Arthur Hosking. Broadway Series. View looking north from Mosholu Ave with Broadway Inn at left. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.18.190