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

F.A.B.: 1910

F.A.B.: 1910

New York circa 1910. "Fifth Avenue Building at Broadway on Madison Square." Along with its celebrated sidewalk clock, the building now anchors the International Toy Center. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

 

Site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel

This handsome Beaux-Arts building replaced the once fashionable Fifth Avenue Hotel, which opened on this site in 1859 and closed its doors in 1908. This hotel originally included a great novelty - a steam powered passenger elevator designed by inventor Otis Tufts (not to be confused with Elisha Graves Otis or the Otis Elevator Company). This was the second elevator ever installed in New York City and the world, second only to the one installed by Elisha Otis in 1857 at the Haughwout Store, a cast iron fronted monument still standing at Broadway and Broome Street. The Tufts elevator design used a long vertical screw mechanism, rather than ropes and pulleys, to lift the elevator cab; thus it quickly lost out to the more practical designs of the other Otis.

Remodel Fail

My wife worked in this building in the late 80's, early 90's for Toy Manufacturer's of America and this building had one of the most beautiful lobbies I had ever seen (my engagement party was held in the lounge in the back of the lobby). We took our family back to this building in the summer of 2011 to relive our memories and show it off to the younger ones but found the lobby was not only closed off to the general public but was remodeled to a stark, featureless white room (at least the part we could see). As far as I could tell they completely covered up the uniqueness of this building on the inside. Also, the clock was gone from the street at that time although another comment here indicates they've since returned it.

The clock

A June 17, 2011 article in the New York Post stated that the restoration of the clock would replace the "Fifth Avenue Building" inscription on the face with "Tiffany & Co." who sponsored the job. But wiser heads apparently prevailed, placing their credit in a plaque on the base of the standard instead, leaving the clock itself as I photographed it in April this year.

 
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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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