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The Powers That Be: 1908

The Powers That Be: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Trinity churchyard and skyscrapers." God and Mammon in Manhattan. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Ghost Town

I worked weekends on the Staten Island Ferry in the early Seventies (hey Dave, maybe a picture of the Mary Murray someday?). We would park on the street and walk to the terminal. There was a flagpole in front of one of the buildings, on a windy day you could hear the rope banging against it for blocks, like something from an old western.

Less change that you'd expect

Even the passage of 105 years hasn't changed this view too much. Three buildings prominently featured in the picture are still around today, in addition of course to Trinity Church itself.

On the right side of the photo is the Empire Building at 71 Broadway. In 1997 it was one of the first older office buildings in Lower Manhattan to be converted to expensive apartments, a bold move because at the time the area was nearly deserted after hours, largely devoid of the shops and delis and drug stores and other sorts of small businesses taken for granted in residential neighborhoods. On the building's rear elevation on Trinity Place metal louvers over the entrance mark the site of a former passageway to the long-gone Ninth Avenue Elevated.

Just visible on the left is the Trinity Building at 111 Broadway. Trinity Church constructed the building around 1900 as a money-making venture, in fact to this day it's one of Manhattan's largest commercial real estate owners. Unlike 71 Broadway, 111 is still an office building. It also has some really interesting gargoyles. Several years after 111's completion the church built a near-twin building to its north at no. 115, right across the very narrow Trinity Place.

Finally, just to the left of center, across Broadway from the church, is the former American Surety Building at 100 Broadway. Like 111 Broadway, it's still being used as an office building, though the church wasn't involved in its construction.

Thanks to Queen Anne

Trinity Church owns many of the parcels surrounding it.

Amazing City

I've worked right across the street from Trinity for some time now -- This photo is AMAZING!

I know I'm Prejudiced

Having been born and raised a NYC kind of guy, but that is one beautiful photo....

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