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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

New York Nuts: 1900

New York Nuts: 1900

New York circa 1900. "Peanut stand, West 42nd Street." Note the horsecar heading this way. Detroit Photographic Company glass negative. View full size.
UPDATE: A bit of sleuthing reveals the location here to be 230 Grand Street.

 

Liverpool & London

The address for the Branch office of Liverpool & London is 230 Grand Street. The Bowery Savings Bank address is 130 Bowery Street (main entrance). This photo is the view of the side entrance to the bank on Grand Street.

[Dingdingding. Retroactive winner! Gustav Frank was the manager at Liverpool & London & Globe. - Dave]


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230 Grand Street

It's 230 Grand just of off Bowery.

I can go back to work now!

[Dingdingding. We have a winner! - Dave]


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Williams Street

Williams Street near Wall Street?

[Noop. - Dave]

It's not 42nd Street!

It's not a photo of 42nd Street. This is The Bowery Savings Bank built in 1895 by Stanford White. The location of this photo is 130 Bowery Street. The peanut seller is standing on Grand Street. It's no longer a bank but is the Capitale (restaurant/wedding event hall). The view of this photo is looking toward Little Italy and Chinatown. It's a beautiful landmark building.

[You are right about some of the details, although the address is not 130. Next! - Dave]

Liverpool and London

Anybody have an old phone book in which they can look up the address of the Liverpool & London Insurance office in New York, circa 1900?

[Hint: N.Y. Times archive. - Dave]

I'll hazard a guess

I believe the company whose sign you can partially see is the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company. The pillars indicate the financial district, but the street seems too wide for most of it.

But the L&L&G Co. did have an office on Broadway, or so Google tells me. Exactly where on Broadway, I don't know.

[Not Broadway. - Dave]

Liverpool and London

I looked up the Liverpool and London insurance company. They had a branch office at 66 Wall Street. Could that be right? The building with the large columns in the background doesn't look the kind usually find on 42nd Street, no matter the century.

[Not Wall Street. - Dave]

I think it's 230 W 42

The address looks to be 230 W 42 St which means the building is the one with a McDonalds at street level. The magnificent pillars (and building I am sure) next door are gone, replaced by The Amsterdam Theatre.

[As it turns out, this is not 42nd Street at all, and the foreground buildings still exist. Who can figure it out from the clues in the photo? - Dave]

W. 42nd

The address behind them looks to be 280 West 42nd, which would be on the south side of the street, meaning that the camera is pointed east toward Times Square. Probably none of the buildings shown still exist.

The horse-drawn trolley may be the least anachronistic thing here. There are stables just a couple of blocks south of this location, and one often sees horses and carts in the street today.

[If we're looking east, it means the sun is shining from the north -- a neat trick in the Northern Hemisphere. - Dave]


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Lost smells

Any given space that has survived a century or more will sound and smell very differently than it once did. An 1880 house has known sounds and scents that are now lost to us.

Same deal with this street. It is hard for us to imagine what this street sounded like, with no (or rare) horns (that sounded very different anyway), no cars and their many levels of sound, no booming stereos. Wagon wheels on cobbles or bricks. Hooves. Trolley bells. Hobnails. The smells are easier. Mostly horse dung, outhouses, sweaty people, and this fellow's peanuts.

East and West

The shadows would indicate that this is looking west toward the Hudson, but the photos show buildings at the end of the street, rather than it being open to the river view. That doesn't seem right to me. It would also be interesting to learn what the building with the large columns on its facade might have been -- a bank, a theater or a church, maybe. Anyone have the answer?

Directions

I don't see a single familiar landmark. What's really confusing is the mass of buildings blocking the horizon.

Hot Peanuts! Hot Peanuts!

From Jakey the Peanut Man ...

(Dave, if you want to use this track, please fix it up to work with that built-in music player the way you did with "Yellow Dog Blues").

[All you need to do is copy and paste the "embed" code on your download page into the comments box. - Dave]

 
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