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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Pe-ru-na Cures Catarrh: 1903

Pe-ru-na Cures Catarrh: 1903

New York circa 1903. "Detroit Photographic Company, 229 Fifth Avenue." On this block destined for demolition, Everything Must Go. And Everywhere a Sign. And, for connoisseurs of ghost pedestrians, two sets of spectral footfalls. Plus a Dept. of Sanitation sweeper! Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

 

Potato tonic

Peruna means potato in Finnish.

Safest summer drink

Ross's Royal Ginger Ale is described as "the safest summer drink." What on earth does that mean? Was root beer deadly back in '03?

Preface

The most shocking sign of the whole bunch is the small street-level sign for Doubleday, Page & Company at 219 Fifth Avenue. That is the ancestor to the great Doubleday publishing conglomerate of today!

Pe-ru-na History

I never heard of Pe-ru-na or the ailment called Catarrh. I did some research and found that Pe-ru-na has an interesting history.

http://www.fohbc.com/PDF_Files/Peruna_JSullivan.pdf

Cure-iously

Named after the patent medicine which contained 18 percent alcohol, "Peruna" is the Shetland pony mascot of the SMU Mustangs.

A little background on Pe-Ru-Na

"Peruna and the Bracers"

Any one wishing to make Peruna for home consumption may do so by mixing half a pint of cologne spirits, 190 proof, with a pint and a half of water, adding thereto a little cubebs for flavor and a little burned sugar for color.

The Newer Hotel Brunswick

The Hotel Brunswick that was built on the site is now known as the Grand Madison with luxury condos.

http://www.thegrandmadisonny.com/

The Garden

That cupola on the left is part of Stanford White's Madison Square Garden - when it was on Madison Square.

Long Exposure

It seems like a man had enough time to walk all the way across the picture, leaving ghostly rows of hats and shoes.

Cleaning Up

Brendan has it right, those sanitation workers were called "White Wings" and they supposedly were the first organized street cleaners in the US. In the 1950s Elgin Sweeper Co produced a street sweeper called the "White Wing" as a tribute to these pioneers.

A shady enterprise

Almost looks like Santa is stuck headfirst in the second chimney from the left edge.

I think that lamp store is still "Going Out of Business."

TMI

I am not sure I want to know what the "special toilet uses" are.

Poor Murray & Depierris

The southermost storefront here, with a sign saying "Murray - Depierris," appears vacant. That may place this photo in 1904, as it appears that this millinery business, only in business since January 1903, declared bankruptcy in June 1904.

http://www.slavens.net/news/bankruptcy.htm

And -- was that 20 story hotel ever built on the site of the Hotel Brunswick?

Short and to the point

Wilson High Ball -- that's all!

Hotel Brunswick

Although it doesn't look like much in these photos, at the end of the 19th century the Hotel Brunswick's restaurant was second only to Delmonico for the quality of its cuisine. Delmonico's flagship restaurant was just around the corner on 26th off Fifth and a young Louis Sherry was a wait captain at the Brunswick.

Wasn't 27th and Park a classy address even then?

Too bad none of the residents of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors got any views of the street - or light or ventilation, either.

Nowadays you will find multi-floor advertising billboards on the fronts of building in midtown, but they are on perforated vinyl.

White Wing in action

My great-great-grandfather was a New York City Department of Sanitation worker. I believe they called them the "White Wings" because of their white, military-like uniforms.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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