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Herald Square: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Herald Square." Panorama composed of two 8x10 inch glass negatives, digitally merged, showing Broadway at 34th Street. Landmarks include the the New York Herald newspaper building (with its clockwork blacksmith bell-ringers and electrified owls), Sixth Avenue elevated tracks, New York Times building and Hotel Astor. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

New York circa 1908. "Herald Square." Panorama composed of two 8x10 inch glass negatives, digitally merged, showing Broadway at 34th Street. Landmarks include the the New York Herald newspaper building (with its clockwork blacksmith bell-ringers and electrified owls), Sixth Avenue elevated tracks, New York Times building and Hotel Astor. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Metropolitan opera house

Also visible is the original Metropolitan opera house at Bway and 39th...

Nobody remembers Rogers Peet anymore

Of course, few people remembered them when they were still open. I got one of my first suits on sale there, but I think that store was uptown from here on 42d Street. It was full of what seemed to be very old people.

There is one hatless head

and it is in a very prominent position in the square. It belongs to the fine statue of William Dodge (now in Bryant Park) in front of the Herald.

Outstanding photograph and merge!

WatchYour Step!

There is an open access panel in the roadway right where the tracks cross. Interestingly enough, it does not seem to be visible in the left hand of two images, but is quite clear in the right hand one and in the composite photo.

The menace of lunch wagons

In the center right sits "Lunch Wagon No.9" - precursor to today's bustling midtown street food scene. Wish I knew what was on the menu.

Here is a 1907 letter to the New York Times complaining about this very lunch wagon for being obstructive. A letter the day before in the Times complained about a food wagon at Union Square that had wheels but hadn't moved in years. This one looks like it could be the same deal.

A couple of years later, there were Suffragette Food Wagons that offered a free side of feminism along with "Suffragette Sandwiches" - shades of Govinda's, a Hare Krishna food cart that has recently disappeared.

We may never know

What is so fascinating about the carriage with the umbrella? The driver of the Packard, the second wagon and the nearby pedestrians all appear to engrossed. I have visions of a patent medicine barker making an unscheduled pitch, or perhaps a local celebrity on his or her way from the Hippodrome. That Packard, BTW, is one gorgeous automobile.

Right Hand Drive

Anyone know when American autos converted to left hand drive.

[The transition was a gradual one, with right- and left-hand-drive autos sharing the roads for many years. - Dave]


The forearms of the young woman in the lower left are entirely exposed. What was the world coming to?


Let's not forget Macy's Department store right there on the corner. I used to walk through that very spot almost everyday, and to be honest, it hasn't really changed all that much.

No point in directing the traffic,

may as well stand in the middle of the road and have a chat instead. An amazing photo with superb detail. Excellent piece of stitching.

The horseless hansom

There is a very interesting cab (?) with a driver up behind in the middle right. Can anyone ID it?

[It's an electric hansom cab. - Dave]

Herald Square Park

Nice 2007 article in the New York Times about the statue of Minerva and her bell ringers, "Stuff" and "Guff" (or "Gog" and Magog"), seen here atop the Herald Building. The Herald Building was demolished in 1923, the statue stored, and then in 1939-40 permanently installed back in Herald Square Park.

Present day Herald Square Park as well as the adjacent Greeley Square Park are gores--that is, triangular. Several New York City parks are gores.

But, in front of the Herald Building, is the statue that of Horace Greeley, publisher of the rival Tribune?

"Electrified" owls

So what did Herald's "electrified" owls do? Light up or move? And what is the tall skinny building just left of the Hotel Astor?

[The owls' eyes lit up at night. The skinny building is the New York Times. - Dave]

Credit where credit is due.

Don Y's post was just fabulous. Thank you Dave and thank you Don Y !!!!

All those people

Didn't anyone work? This must be the ultimate Shorpy photo, almost too much to fathom. The city of Vancouver, B.C., had a population of 70,000 in 1907; today the greater Vancouver area is 2.25 million, which most Canadians think of as an unlivable population.

Streetcars or cable cars

Are those streetcars or cable cars? The center slot between the rails could hold either the electrical source for streetcars (the "conduit" type) or the moving cable for cable cars. I don't seem to see any trolleys on the cars or overhead trolley wires.

[New York's streetcars drew their power from an underground electrical supply. - Dave]

Jaywalkers everywhere

I have no idea how I could safely drive that street without flattening a well dressed pedestrian or two. The most I can see vaguely in the way of traffic safety is a sign on a lamppost warning about slow moving vehicles. Not even a bollard in sight.


Who are those people on the elevated tracks in the distance? And what are they doing? One looks like a kid on a bicycle, dropping something on the people below.

[That's a man standing with his hand on the railing. - Dave]


That Fox Real Estate branding would stand the test of time by today's standards, what a classic. Although the fox better watch out for that self-stropping razor up above.

James Gordon Bennett Monument

The New York Herald Building was built in 1893 and demolished in 1921. The statue of Minerva, the clock and two owls were saved and are now part of a monument to James Gordon Bennett.

Herald Square

That answered my question about why the two clocks had different times.

[There's only one clock here. The dial on the right is a wind rose. - Dave]

The Mighty Hippodrome

The largest theatre in the world at the time, the Hippodrome, can be seen far down the tracks on the right.

Still Where The Action Is!

I So LOVE this photo! I would give almost anything to be able to go back to this very spot for a few days to shop, sightsee and experience life during this time. The buildings are lovely, the clothing elegant, the cabs very dapper. I will be studying this one for a long while. Thank you Dave posting this one and for such a wonderful merger of pics.

An amazing photo

The details are unbelievable. Hours can be spent just studying this photo and I likely will.

Hotel Normandie

"Absolutely Fireproof"

Made of 100% Asbestos.

Too much...

This one is giving me data overload! So much to see in the image!

It must be a warm Spring or Summer day because I see a lot of men sporting skimmers (flat topped straw hats) and the women are wearing blouses with shorter sleeves and fancy hats.

Toward the lower left of the photo we see a cab (horse drawn type) with the driver, in his top hat, waiting patiently. I suspect that I can see a slight smile on his face. Perhaps there is a pretty girl in his field of view.

Then, there are the two members of the constabulary conversing together, in the lower center of the picture. maybe they are talking about going over to the Lunch wagon on the far right to grab a bite to eat.

What, I ask, is the "House of Hits"? That phrase seems to me to right out of the early '60s Motown, not 1910 New York.

Then there is the Hotel Normandie - Absolutely Fireproof!

It seems that Otard Brandy is still available, even today!

I find it a bit hard to believe, but there seems to be a casino in Midtown Manhattan.

I can't forget Lucio's Pearls. They defy detection! and right above them we have "Paul Jones Pure Rye - Remember the bottle!"

There is so much more to take in, in this photograph.

[In answer to your questions: Jos. W. Stern ("The House of Hits") was a music publisher. The Casino was a theater at 39th and Broadway. - Dave]

Can you find?

A head without a hat. I couldn't.


Just WOW!

80 minutes apart

The glass plates making up the panorama, exposed at 12:04 and 1:24 p.m. Click to enlarge.

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