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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

New York City Hall: 1903

New York City Hall: 1903

New York circa 1903. "City Hall." Note the building going up at left and construction at right. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Neither brownstone nor marble these days

AleHouseMug is correct in stating that the north side of City Hall was, for nearly 150 years, brownstone painted white to match the marble on the other three sides.

(City Hall was at the city's extreme north when it was first built, so they used the cheaper material on the north side on grounds that few people would ever see it. Ha!)

But both the marble and the brownstone deteriorated so much that they were both replaced with limestone during a major renovation in the mid-1950s.

There are those newsies again

Previously seen at Shorpy, two statues of newsboys on the building behind City Hall.

A year later?

The kiosks and skylights for the 1904 Interborough Rapid Transit Subway are complete and not barricaded, could this photo be a bit younger?

Tweed

And behind City Hall is the "New County Court House." (Official name)

Better known as the Tweed Court House, now the home of the Board of Education.

It is the only building named after a rouge, Boss Tweed, and while it was a knick name - it became that when it was re-dedicated as The Tweed Court House! It's even written in stone on the re dedicated corner stone.

For laughs once I asked 2 NYPD officers standing on the steps if they knew where the "New County Court House is" and they shrugged and pointed me up Centre Street.

The North side of City Hall is made of cheaper brownstone painted white while the rest of the building is marble. When built, the city fathers thought the city would never grow north, and saved the tax payers money on the backside of the building that would face away from town.

Next uptown on the left of frame is the building housing the NY Sun Newspaper. To the right of that, standing two stories taller is the Emigrant Savings Bank. Both still standing.

The fountain in the foreground ran on Croton water, and flowed freely without a pump from the gravity feed from the reservoir. (All water in NYC will go 6 stories high by natural pressure.)

180 degrees from this view would have been the main post office - an eyesore from the day it was new.

Changing views

The view would change dramatically in just a few years, with the construction of the 40-story Municipal Building on the right side of this picture.

299 Broadway?

That appears to be the building going up on the left at Duane Street. Known as the Ungar Building, it has 18 stories and was completed in 1905.

 
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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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