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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Upper Lower Manhattan: 1917

Upper Lower Manhattan: 1917

New York circa 1917. "Skyscrapers, looking north toward towers of Woolworth and Singer buildings." Double-barreled tower in the foreground is the Adams Express Building. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Awnings anyone?

When I view these wonderful glimpses back into the past, I am in awe of all of the awnings gracing the windows. They have gone the way of the "records" of my youth. Interesting...the awning business must have been tremendous back in the days before air conditioning.


Near the left edge of the pic, between the camera and the Metropolitan Life tower in the distance... think that building is still there, but it's been much expanded into the Walker-Lispenard building. It housed hardware for long-distance phone lines, didn't it? What's in it now?


Adams Express, a freight company not unlike American Express at that time and now a publicly-traded diversified equity fund again not unlike American Express but not as encompassing. At the beginning of the US involvement in WW1, both firms, along with several others, were taken over by the Government, merged into the newly formed Railway Express Company (REA). This was done to insure uninterrupted rail service during that emergency.

Very Good

I like the way you added Shorpy to the side of the building in the lower left as though it were a painted on ad as was popular in the past. Clever!

That architecture

is truly magnificent, Oh to return to to some visual eye candy, now we see glass covered macaroni boxes filling the skyline.

Tops of skyscrapers

The views from above of the tops of tall buildings today look entirely different from these beauties thanks to HVAC machinery, but I still can't account for the delightful sight of all those cabanes on the roof of the still-existing building to the left of the tower under construction. (I put this shorter building at the northwest corner of Trinity Place and Rector St., although I heartily welcome correction and/or elucidation from Peter or any other NYC specialist.)

[You mean cabañas, right? -tterrace]

I was using the Quebec word. But what are those things, anyway?

[Ah; merci. But if you mean these, they're skylights. -tterrace]

The Double Barreled Building

Is still there; here's a bing map bird's eye view

New name

The Adams Express Building lost that moniker over the years and today is known simply as 61 Broadway. It is occupied by a number of different businesses and turned 100 last year. Part of the famous Trinity Church can be seen a short distance to its north. The building with the ziggurat top to its right is 14 Wall Street, built around the same time and originally known as the Bankers Trust Building. It's across Wall Street from the New York Stock Exchange and across Broad Street from Federal Hall National Memorial. Like 61 Broadway, it is occupied by a variety of businesses.

Toward the left of the photo you can see two elevated transit lines complete with stations and trains on each. Immediately to the left of the Adams Express Building is the Sixth Avenue El, running along Trinity Place, while a short block further left is the Ninth Avenue El on Greenwich Street. Each line's station at Rector Street is visible. A couple blocks further south the lines merged, shortly before ending at the South Ferry terminal. Both lines were gone by 1940, although a some remnants of the Ninth Avenue line including an abandoned tunnel are still visible in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium (note: I *may* have sort of, ahem, not-quite-legally "urban explored" the abandoned tunnel about ten years ago).

The building right between the elevated lines, with the elaborate stonework near the top, is 62 Trinity Place, an office building that was about ten years old at the time of this photo.

In the 1930's the Walker-Lispenard building was incorporated into the much larger building known as 32 Sixth Avenue. For a while the building was AT&T's corporate headquarters. It now has a variety of tenants, including a number in the telecommunications industry, though there is no longer any AT&T presence.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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