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The Billboard Jungle: 1907

The Billboard Jungle: 1907

The Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and Manhattan Terminal in 1907 -- a view glimpsed earlier on Shorpy, with the addition of a train. Here we have a better view of the signs. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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The Elevated trains

While both of the El trains are purely electric and also have trolley poles on the roofs for use on ground level tracks at the ends of the lines in Coney Island, Canarsie Shore, and Fresh Pond, there are still cables between the rails. For one more year, the rush hour shuttle El trains that just ran across the Bridge were cable powered, although by now they also had electric motors so a steam engine was no longer needed in the terminals or for emergencies!

The cables and the rails are in duplicate. There is no switch where the two tracks from the Park Row Terminal come "together"; the rails are just next to each other, interlaced.

The Library of Congress website has an older movie of this, search for "New Brooklyn to New York."

One of the trolleys on the right from the Myrtle Avenue line survives, search the collection at for "1792."


Meyer Brothers Druggist, Vol. 26, 1905.

Neuralgine Mfg. Co.,

24 and 26 Vandewater St., New York.

Special offer to the trade: Save 10% now by ordering 3 doz. or more Neuralgine from your jobber. With every order for 3 doz. of either the 25¢ or 50¢ size, we will instruct your jobber to deliver to you 10% extra in Neuralgine.

Neuralgine is an old-time remedy, has been on the market over 25 years. It is a reliable remedy for neuralgia, headache, sore throat, rheumatism, sprains, bruises, etc. It comes in two sizes, 25¢ and 50¢ a bottle. Order from your jobber at once 3 doz. as a trial lot, and take advantage of the above generous offer.

The Newer Remedies, The Apothecary Publishing Co., 1908.

Neuralgine. (a) a mixture of antipyrin, caffein and citric acid (migranin).
(b) a mixture of acetanilid, sodium salicylate and caffein.


I have noticed in several of these photos that some people's personal interaction space seems much more intimate than we would be comfortable with today. Have Americans' intimate zones changed over time? If so, is it somehow related to having spent more generations away from Europe, where they have similarly close comfort zones? Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

Another survivor

is 31 Chambers, the old Hall of Records now known as the Surrogates Courthouse. It is nestled between the German Herold and the Technical Press buildings.

Either that's a negative scratch

or Rapunzel is living in the tall building!

No fatties

Look, people walking! And not a single one of them is overweight!

A day in the life of . . .

. . . so many people! People in the photos always fascinate me. Who were they, what were they doing and talking about and coming from or going to. A folded newspaper, a man appearing to look at a wrist watch, a man carrying a child, the streetcar and interurban operators -- and a borken and missing stanchion on a railing. Best of all, what appears to be graffiti "Feb 26 '05" -- of importance to someone who put it there, but the significance of which escapes me.

So, so much in every photo -- like signage that has long faded even in 1907. This photo is particularly nice!


This is where (Rank) Xerox came from, it's the same origin.


Is this neat graffiti or does it have an official purpose? Is it a date, maybe Feb 26 (19)05? There are some other neatly painted numbers a little further to the right: 19-8-15 and 18-16-25.

Close Clearance

Boy! A Teamster really had to trust his horse or team of horses! Look at that wagon or carriage near the center of the picture! That carriage is right against the curb, and with that train passing by, it would seem that if the horse or team were to drift slightly toward the track, another 10 o'clock "news item" would occur! (Or whatever form of "news item" there would have been in those days!)


I think the Carters sign refers to "Carter's Little Liver Pills", a nostrum even available in my youth. They were major radio program sponsors in the the 1930s and 40s. In later years the dropped the "Little" from their name and the medicine was known as "Carters Liver Pills". Milton Berle told of an Uncle that had taken those pills most of his life. He died at age 90, and two weeks later they had to beat his liver to death with a stick.

Sign painting

I would have loved being a sign painter back then. People put so much effort into their lettering. Even the most mundane signs used fancy lettering, drop shadows, gold leafing, etc.


I lost you after you said "Orpheumorpheum" !

I'm intrigued by the dates? on the right foreground such as "Feb 26 05" and the others on the lidded box "19-8-15 and 18-16-25". Any Shorpologists that can appease my curiosity?

Fletcher's Castoria

God forbid you were a constipated child when your mom kept a bottle of this in the house. YECH!

Annnd - they still make it. "Root Beer Flavor" my aunt Fanny!


"Sign, Sign everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

Not exactly highbrow

In addition to Francis Wilson, we have Marie Lloyd, known for her suggestive lyrics.

Marie Lloyd

Interesting to see the name of Marie Lloyd above the Francis Wilson sign. She was the most famous and highest paid entertainer on the British "music hall" at the time as well.

In 1907 she was in a major confrontation between performers and theatre owners in the UK.

Tweed Courthouse

I believe just about everything in this picture is gone now (except of course for the Brooklyn Bridge). One exception is that hexagonal dome in the middle distance. That belongs to the infamous New York County Courthouse. In the 1870s William Macy "Boss" Tweed managed to charge the taxpayers of New York a total of about $12 million for building that actually wound up costing $476,000. Now that's BIG TIME graft.

The courthouse stood for a century, an embarrassing reminder of New York's Gilded Age heyday of corruption. It finally got a beautiful restoration over that last few years, and has had a new lease on life. Quite a grand structure, after all.

Francis Wilson (1854–1935)

The Philadelphia‐born comedian began performing while still a youngster and spent time in minstrelsy before acting in plays. Most notable among his later successes were his Sir Guy De Vere in "When Knights Were Bold" (1907) and Thomas Beach in his own play, "The Bachelor's Baby" (1909).


ce·ro·type (sîr-tp, sr-) n. The process of preparing a printing surface for electrotyping by first engraving on a wax-coated metal plate. [Greek kros, wax + type.]

I wasn't familiar with this term.

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