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About the Photos

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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

The Heart of New York: 1908

The Heart of New York: 1908

Manhattan circa 1908. "The Heart of New York." Landmarks in this panorama of four 8x10 glass plates include Broadway, City Hall Park, the City Hall Post Office, the Singer, Park Row, Home Life Insurance and City Investing buildings and, far left, Manhattan Terminal. Note the observer taking in the scene from the cupola atop the domed New York World building. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Tribune building

Wikipedia's entry on the Tribune building features before and after shots of the building's height adjustment. How on earth were 9 stories added to the middle of the building? Were the roof and tower dismantled, stored somewhere, and just slapped back on? I've never heard of this being done to a building before.

[This New York Times article of May 3, 2012 says that's exactly what was done - tterrace]

Broadway-Chambers Building

At the extreme right-hand edge of this panorama is the upper part of the Broadway-Chambers Building, built in 1899-1900. This 18-story building was Cass Gilbert's first New York commission; it is decidely different from his later Gothic Revival skyscrapers like the West Street and Woolworth Buildings (both seen previously on Shorpy). I've always known this as a very colorful building (the middle part of the shaft is clad in red and blue bricks), but I've never seen such a great view of the sculptures at the top! The copper cresting at the very top (called a cheneau) was removed a long time ago, but the rest of the exterior is pretty much intact.

Is that a Newsie on the lower left?

Looks like newspapers under his arm. A statue I hope.

More info: There are actually two similar statues on that building. Looking from the other direction in LoC 4a11542 shows them both.

Wouldn't it be strange for a publisher to memorialize newsies? The newsies didn't work for the papers, and had staged a week-long strike against them not many years prior (see Kid Blink).

Yet more info: While working my way back through Shorpy images I found another view of the two statues, in Shorpy's "New York: 1908" ( http://www.shorpy.com/node/2629 ) The savvy commenter there did not identify this particular building, however.

New York observer

Clearly it's two ladies checking out the view, both in hats.

New York Observer

That's a pretty long stretch for accuracy in defining it is actually an observer, if so, it's a woman with a large hat and she is kneeling. Note the "man" about to walk off the top of the building in the lower left.

[It's really not much of a stretch. - Dave]

Piper Heidsieck

... indeed.

Marvelous imagery.

The Boss

The building directly behind City Hall with the pagoda like skylight is the Tweed Court House (now the Board of Education). It is quite spectacular both inside and out. This was the building that caused the end of Mayor Tweed's reign. I was standing in front of it on 9/11 when 7 World Trade Center came down. We were moving the Office of Emergency Operations to its new temporary head quarters from its old HQ in 7 WTC.

Shorpy sign

I wonder if that huge Shorpy 'sign' on the building is real or not?

[Pssst... Shhhh! - tterrace]

Lawlessness

There seems to be a severe jaywalking problem. 1908 was before Bloomberg.

 
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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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