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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Chinatown: 1900

Chinatown: 1900

New York circa 1900. "Chinatown -- Mott Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Step styles

It is a fascinating picture, but one thing that struck me of all things is the variety of styles of steps, and that most are constructed out of wood, for a city block made of brick and stone, I thought this a little odd, not what I expected to see.


The candle lantern on the front of the horse cart should be adequate at 5 mph.

Across the street

Is the WO HOP Chinese restaurant. A world famous institution since the 1930s, for all late night club-goers, at 17 Mott Street. This view is facing south.

Chinatown: 1900

"And tell me what street
Compares with Mott Street
In July?
Sweet pushcarts gently gliding by.
The great big city's a wondrous toy
Just made for a girl and boy.
We'll turn Manhattan
Into an isle of joy."
-Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Am I seeing things?

In the street, to the front and to the right of the horse-drawn wagon, there is something on the road itself -- a puddle, a piece of debris, something -- and the odd thing is it looks like it has letters on it? I see "ROBDEV"? It really does look like a puddle, but if the letters were a reflection, wouldn't they be backwards?

I also thought that maybe the photographer playfully left his name on the spot?

Dunno, would love to hear what y'all think.

[The thing you're seeing is a manhole cover with holes in it. -Dave]

Interesting architexture

The railings on the buildings on the right hand side of the street are reminiscent of the ones in New Orleans.

[A delight to the touch as well as the eyes. - tterrace]

I should have used spell-check...:-)


Half an hour after looking at this Shorpy photo, I felt the need to look at Shorpy again.

Where Dr. C.S. Bok lived

This postcard is in my family’s collection. Dr. Chu Soule Bok lived on Mott St. near the place pictured on the postcard which was sent in 1911. Dr. Bok and my grandfather C.M. Austin became friends after meeting at Centenary Collegiate Institute in Hackettstown, NJ, in 1891. Several of C.S. Bok's letters are also in the family collection.

The view today

Many of the buildings are still there, and looks like as fun a place as ever to explore!

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SHORPY OLD 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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