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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Neither Snow Nor Rain: 1900

Neither Snow Nor Rain: 1900

Circa 1912. "Post Office, New York City." Although it looks about a million years old, the Eighth Avenue post office is still under construction in this view. Enlarged in 1934, it's now called the James Farley Building and has the zip code 10001. The famous motto "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is inscribed on the entablature. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

What kind of tracks?

There aren't any catenary lines overhead to power electric street cars so the tracks are somewhat interesting. Upon close inspection, it looks as if there is a middle slot between the tracks which would indicate that cable cars (much like the ones still in San Francisco) once passed in front of this building.

New Your, surprisingly, did have cable cars back in "the day," but I wasn't aware that they extended this far north into Midtown.

[These are electric streetcar tracks with access to the power supply via the central slot. - Dave]

In the Shot

I assume in the lower left corner is the roof edge of the neighboring building serving as the photographer's vantage point. I don't recall seeing this kind of context often in these types of photos. At first glance I thought I was looking at 31st Street dug up for pipe laying!

Private Dick

"That guy on the corner's been shadowing me all day!"

Almost the same

Pretty much the same angle though not quite the elevation. She hasn't changed much in the decades.

Light poles

What beautiful light poles and fixtures now replaced with the incredibly ugly 34th Street Partnership poles.

Letters

I read that this is the longest inscription on any building in the world.

Sign Of The Times

If the US Postal Service stays the course, there'll soon be condominium space available in this building.

Those Were the Days

It was good to be the P.O. back then but no longer. Can you say "email"?

From Pennsylvania Station

The view is looking northwest across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, where trains from New Jersey entered via tunnels under the Post Office. You can still see the Post Office "yard" where the mail cars were accessed under the Post Office Building, in the ancient daze of old.

The inside is just as impressive.

Soon to be the New Penn Station

The Post Office was designed by McKim, Mead and White to complement the old Penn Station, located just across the street (Eighth Avenue). MM&W also designed the very elegant lampposts that stood around both buildings. In a singular twist of fate, the Post Office is slated to be transformed into the newest version of Penn Station, to be called Moynihan Station in honor of the late Senator from New York. The main entrances will be located on the side streets midway down the block at street level, not on the front facade, so the passengers of the future will not be forced to lug their bags up that impressive flight of steps.

+99

Not quite the same angle, but the Farley Building is still going strong.

 
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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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