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About the Photos

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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Times Square: 1908

Times Square: 1908

"Long Acre (Times) Square, New York." Now playing: "Follies of 1908." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Interior shot of Rectors

I can find a couple on Ephemeral New York, but they're both small and blurry. They don't give a good sense of what a meal there was like. Anyone know of a Shorpy-sized image or two? Actually, restaurant interiors would be a good addition to this blog. People reveal a lot about themselves at meal times.

Balancing act

There's undoubtedly some hidden additional support for that rooftop cistern, but still, it looks like the kind of thing I used to do when erecting structures with building blocks, with the intention of causing a catastrophic collapse by means of a mere nudge.

Scratch scratch

Why might someone have been trying to remove the lamp posts from the right side of this photo? Or is this some photography thing I don't understand?

[Detroit Photo did that on glass plates that were part of a panorama. The idea seems to have been to get rid of things that don't match up on the edge that overlaps with the next plate. Whatever the reason, it is kind of annoying. - Dave]

Richard Carle

"Mary's Lamb" (1915) was the third of his 135 films. I guess the film of "Follies of 1908" got lost at the drug store.

The 1908 Bombing

Actually 1908 wasn't exactly peaceful for New Yorkers when it came to terrorist bombs. On March 28, 1908 Anarchist Selig Cohen (aka Selig Silverstein) threw a bomb at Union Square. The bomb exploded prematurely killing bystander Ignatz Hildebrand and mortally wounding Cohen, who died a month later.

About 10 blocks down

you can see Macy's at 34th Street.

Jardin de Paris

Another fascinating Shorpy pic that you could just step right into. According to IBDB, the Jardin de Paris was a rooftop theater on this building, the structure that looks like a greenhouse.

I guess Nora Bayes would have been the headliner in the Follies of 1908.

Shine On, Harvest Moon

The "Follies of 1908" was the only the second of Florenz Ziegfelds's long series of musical reviews to use this name. The show ran for 120 performances and was well received, although its performers, songs and skits are now almost completely forgotten. "Almost," because the show also introduced the song "Shine On, Harvest Moon," sung by Nora Bayes and her second husband, Jack Norworth, who were also the song's composers. And, the actress Mae Murray, later a major silent film star, also appeared in this edition of the Follies.

Clever Clothes

I need some.

Good old 1908

Back when the only bombs on Broadway were onstage.

What kind of cool am I?

Just to the left of the big marquee is the sign "Cool Carle Comedy." I'm wondering what the "cool" refers to: the temperature inside the theater, the actor, or the play. I thought the use of the word to mean "terrific" or "fashionable" didn't start until the 1930s or so.

I See Smoke!

Coming from that horse wagon on the left!

Public transport

Look at the lady, jumping out of the streetcar. What would she say to the low-floor trams of today?

After the show

We can go to Rector's for a bottle and a bird!

A dozen oysters from Rector's, please

So there's the famous Rector's Restaurant next to the Hotel Cadillac! I'll have a plate of oysters, please! Is this a view looking south on Broadway at about 45th Street?

 
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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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