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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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West Street Story: 1912

West Street Story: 1912

New York circa 1912. "West Street north from the Battery." An amazing view of the Hudson River piers from the foot of Manhattan centered by the West Street Building, which sustained grave damage a decade ago when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed; to east is the massive Hudson Terminal, and faintly visible through the haze is the Metropolitan Life tower. Note the ant-like profusion of horse wagons along West Street. This 8x10 glass negative was exposed from the Whitehall Building annex just south of today's Battery Park City and World Financial Center. The view up West Street and 11th Avenue is continued here at the Chelsea Piers. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Fall River Line Steamers?

The two large steamboats appear to be Fall River Line steamers. Up until 1937, the night boats of the Fall River Line were the preferred way to travel between NYC and Boston. A "boat train" met the boat in Fall River, MA early each morning.

Can anyone identify these steamboats? The far one seems to me to be the "Commonwealth".

A REAL Seaport

This is wonderful evidence that, indeed, NY was once a great seaport. Look at all the piers with so much activity!

Whitehall Street

A few personal things come to mind when I read that The Whitehall Building was where this magnificent 1912 photo was taken. First, 39 Whitehall Street, was the building where I, and probably a million others were inducted into the US Army. The date I was there, October 8, 1956 and another momentous event was happening at the World Series in Yankee Stadium, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game.

Fast forward to 1995 and my wife and I are at the Whitehall Building looking at the Whitehall Club as a venue for my youngest daughter's wedding. The club occupied the entire top floor of the building with unobstructed views in all 4 directions. The views of the city, the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty were just amazing. We didn't use that setting, because on a Saturday night, that part of town is usually deserted.

West Street Building

It is absolutely incredible to see the West Street Building standing in so isolated a position - yet it is barely a quarter-mile away from Broadway! Such were the contours of real estate values in Lower Manhattan a century ago. The West Street Building (1906-1907) was designed by Cass Gilbert; as his first "Gothic" skyscraper, it became the model for his more famous Woolworth Building of 1911-1913. It is believed that Frank W. Woolworth chose Gilbert as his architect largely because he liked what he saw on West Street.



[Jawohl. - Dave]

Best of the Best

This photo will become my "forever" all time favorite. It evokes history at so many levels. Amazingly, the two bridges that cross West Street are in extreme close proximity to those that connected the World Trade Center to The World Financial Center at Battery Park City. Actually the northern one looks like it is in exactly the same place! All I can do is stare and marvel at this gem that we are lucky enough to view. Thanks Dave/Shorpy

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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