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About the Photos

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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Chelsea Piers: 1912

Chelsea Piers: 1912

New York, 1912. "New Chelsea Piers on the Hudson." Feast your eyes on this veritable visual smorgasbord. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Nebo Man

Years before the Marlboro man rode the range there was Nebo man looking so cool with color coordinated tie and hat plus I'm sure he lit that match with the tip of his thumb's fingernail.
Shorpy Nebo Man

Dog Park

Is that where the dog park is now? In the bottom right hand corner, where all the train/trolley cars are parked?

Mercantile Marine Co.

Interesting story about the company that owned all of the ship lines at these piers here.

And on our left

in the distance is 463 West Street home of Bell Labs, where many devices we take for granted were invented. And in the distance to the right, over in Hoboken one can see the North German Lloyd piers, and to their right the Holland America pier which appeared earlier in Shorpy.

Two largest ships

The twin funneled liner at Pier 60 appears to be the White Star Liner RMS Oceanic (1899) and, further away at Pier 56 is the RMS Campania (1893).

Henry B. Harris of Titanic fame presents - "The Talker"

Interesting that a partially hidden billboard for the 1912 play "The Talker" produced by Henry B Harris would be so close the the White Star Line pier. Harris being a celebrity who lost his life on board the Titanic in April of 1912.

I can tell you

The girderwork at the edges of the finger piers can also be used in conjunction with ships' tackle to extend the reach for loading and unloading cargo.

Broadway Jones

The great George M. Cohan wrote the script, composed the score, directed, and starred in "Broadway Jones," a comedy about a boy who inherits a chewing gum factory, saves the company, and wins the heart of the girl. His father, Jere, and his mother, Nellie, costarred.

One of the few...

trucks in this picture: just above the Old Quaker whiskey sign.

Chelsea Piers

The steel frameworks on the roofs held the tracks for the rigid or roll-up heavy pier side doors during vessel unloading.

Highly sought after

but rarely found; honesty in a rye whiskey.

Can anyone tell me

The purpose of the frameworks that extend above the edges of the pier roofs? My guess is that they re to prevent the rigging of masted ships from tearing into the roofs themselves - anyone have a better guess?

Quaker State

Attached is an advertisement, perhaps another Billboard, flacking Old Quaker Rye Whiskey. Looks like 3 Clubmen welcoming their Bootlegger, possibly Benjamin Franklin. Quakers are allowed to imbibe but not at the Meeting House.

Pier 62

On the west side of Manhattan piers are numbered by this method: the cross street plus 40. Thus, Pier 62 (the number above the "American Line" pier) is located on 22nd Street. Therefore Peter's estimation that the streetcar yard is on 23rd Street appears to be correct.

Interestingly, this photo captures a streetcar about to enter or exit the yard. If there is a clock in view, a date in 1912 for the photo, a streetcar schedule and some streetcar records still around, we might know which streetcar, which direction it was heading and who was driving it. Might even find the fare collection records and know how many people rode that run that day. Ahhh, history's mysteries.

Not just a flash in the pan

"A Scrape O' The Pen" apparently entertained a worldwide audience over several years. Here's a 1915 review from a run in Adelaide, Australia:

A Scrape o' the Pen.

In the olden days in Scotland no funeral was complete without its professional mourner, and in Mr. Graham Moffat's Scottish comedy, "A Scrape o' the Pen," which opens at the Theatre Royal on Saturday, Mr. David Urquhart, who delighted theatregoers here as Weelum in "Bunty Pulls the Strings" will humorously depict Peter Dalkeith, a paid mourner, which profession he has adopted, owing to his being jilted by the girl of his choice. This, and such old-time customs as Hogmanay, first footing, &c, have provided Mr. Moffat with excellent material for his new comedy. The story of the play is concerned with the romantic marriage of a young boy and girl according to Scottish law, the young fellow leaving for Africa immediately after signing the papers, and the subsequent adventures of the wife he leaves behind. Mr. and Mrs. Moffat are appearing in the original parts of Mattha and Leezie Inglis, and will have the support of a newly-augmented company of Scottish players.

Strictly Limited Engagement

A swift plummet down the Google hole reveals that "A Scrape o' the Pen" was a Scottish comedy that ran for just under three months at Weber's Music Hall. The names of the actors in the cast read like pitch-perfect parodies of themselves, perhaps from a unmade Coen Brothers period film. I note only the delightful Fawcett Lomax, who sailed back without delay after the show closed to Liverpool, aboard the Lusitania, in December, 1912.

Drafting - the old way!

My eyes, too, were drawn to the top floor of the steel construction building. The white shirts and ties, and the tell-tale bend of the torso, makes me believe that this is the drafting room. No CAD terminals, just wonderful old T-squares, triangles, and compasses. Those were the days!

Somewhere out there

A traction modeler is dreaming of the layout he'll base on this photo as soon as his Significant Other agrees to give up the spare room.

Not the Night before Christmas

The Cross & Brown Company has leased
for the Clement Moore estate the plot 100 X 95 feet
at 548 to 554 West Twenty-second
street for a term of years at an aggregate
rent of $250,000. The property will be improved
with a four story and basement
fireproof building, to be occupied by the
Hopkins Manufacturing Company of Hanover.
Pa., as a carriage factory. James
N Wells's Sons were associated as brokers
In the transaction.'

NY Sun - Oct 15 1911

Would you stay at the TERMINAL Hotel? Does anyone ever check out?

Funnels and masts

The sight of all those funnels and masts poking up from the successive piers is a visual tease of the very best kind.

Working hard

They're working up a sweat in the upper floor offices of the Steel Construction building!

Play ball! (or anything else)

With commercial* and passenger shipping long gone, several of the piers have now been repurposed into a huge, multi-sport athletic facility. Their nautical past hasn't completely vanished, however, as they contain docking facilities for several party/dinner-cruise ships and a marina. Prior to the athletic facility's opening about 15 years ago the piers had been decrepit for many years.

The streetcar yard in the lower right is most likely that of the 23rd Street Crosstown Line, which ran along the street of that name from river to river. It was among the last of Manhattan's streetcar lines to be "bustituted" in the mid-1930's. Today the athletic facility is a fairly long walk from the nearest subway station, that of the C and E trains at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue, but that certainly hasn't hurt its popularity.

* = shipping certainly hasn't disappeared from New York Harbor, it's just that with the advent of container shipping most activity has relocated to New Jersey, with some in Staten Island and Brooklyn

Gloriously Good! Cork Tipped

Probably my favorite things to look for in these pictures are the advertising signs. I never smoked or even saw a Nebo cigarette, but now I'd like to just because of that sign. One of the things I miss the most from my childhood and early adulthood is the wide variety of tobacco advertising and many of these old signs are getting to be valuable to collectors. Imagine the price of a big Nebo sign if you could even find one!

Here's your Hopkins Manufacturing Building....

White Star Lines

Where the Titanic was headed when it had an unexpected detour.

The Carpathia would tie up there and discharge the survivors.

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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