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City Hall Park: 1905

City Hall Park: 1905

Manhattan circa 1905. "City Hall and Park, New York." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Still there

The three buildings on the Broadway block between Murray and Warren Streets are still standing. The two bigger ones are: at the left, the flat-topped Postal Telegraph Building of Harding & Gooch (1892-1894); in the middle of the block, the pointy topped Home Life Insurance Building of Napoleon Le Brun & Sons (1892-1894). These two buildings are now physically joined together. As for the shorter building at the right-hand side of the block (SW corner of B'way and Warren Street) - I don't know anything about it.

Flat steel tire?

I take it that the stone slabs along the curb are the "stone age" versions of the painted sheet metal no parking signs.

[Looks like a curbstone installation or replacement project in progress to me. -tterrace]

Just like the joke about the empty wheelbarrows . . .

maybe they are simply transporting empty barrels

The changes

Still around today is the narrow building with the ornate upper stories immediately to the right of City Hall's spire. Known as the Broadway-Chambers Building, at 277 Broadway, it was designed by the famous architect (or starchitect, if the word had existed then) Cass Gilbert and was just a few years old in this picture. Gilbert would soon go on to design the Woolworth Building a few blocks to the south, which for about 15 years was the world's tallest building. The Broadway-Chambers Building today houses a variety of tenants, especially lawyers.

Immediately behind City Hall is the Tweed Courthouse (1881), which due to rampant corruption took 20 years to build. Note: the Broadway-Chambers Building opened for business four months after the start of construction. A fictionalized account of the corruption surrounding the Tweed Courthouse's construction was a plot point in the famous novel "Time and Again." The building hasn't been used as a courthouse in decades, and now is the home of the city's schools department. Just behind the courthouse is 280 Broadway, built in sections over many years in the mid-1880's. It's better known as the Sun Building, after the New York Sun newspaper ("It Shines for All") which occupied it for many years.

As for City Hall itself, it hasn't changed much ... if you overlook the high fence around it, the guard booths, and even the vehicle traps :(

"Time and Again"

This is where Jake Pickering and Andrew Carmody met right before the horrendous fire in Jack Finney's marvelous time-travel novel! I recomend it to anyone who loves this website.

RE: Porous Barrels

Poor little kid; I just know he finally made it home rolling that thing and then cried, "Hey; where the heck is my hamster?!??!?"

Porous barrels

Omigod the detail. If only the whole world had been documented with glass negatives. Anyone know what the boys were transporting with the openwork barrels?

[Air! - Dave]

Pastimes of yore

It just hadn't occurred to me exactly how many different ways there are to lean on something. Fascinating! And in all corners of the photo. Now, if I were able to time travel to 1905, I'd be able to blend right in, as long as I leaned on something.

And what's the story with that unfortunate chap hopping the fence?


Four strands of wire to keep loiterers off the grass. Parks & Rec officials back then certainly had issues with public enjoyment of the facilities.

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