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Big Town: 1906

Big Town: 1906

New York circa 1906. "42nd Street at Park Avenue, looking west." With Grand Central Station at right and the Hotel Manhattan center stage. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


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Horses being phased out?

The year 1905 was right at the beginning of the auto age. The reality is, horses in New York City -- and by the 1880s there were over 100,000 of them in the city -- created quite a sanitary challenge. The average horse produced 22 pounds of manure a day plus a quart of urine. (You can't housebreak a horse, by the way.) I recently attended a presentation about Manhattan history by author Kurt Schlichting. He said, when he sees these street scene photos from one hundred plus years ago, he often thinks: "Wonder what it smelled like?"

Look Out

J-walking. New york's favourite pastime for over 150 years.

Citizen Cane

At least two that I see. It never ceases to amaze when you see men with canes in this era. And not for stability it seems, as verified by the gentleman lighting up on the corner.

Fallen Eagles

This variation of Grand Central had quite a few of those eagles we see here perched above the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt, and today two remain at the site: One over the Grand Central Market entrance on Lexington Avenue, and one about five stories below its perch in the photo, still lording over the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt.

The eagles join then-new Times Building down the street as the only things I see that still exist here 115 years later.

Drugs are where the money is!

Nothing has changed -- every vintage picture I see from a cityscape in the early 20th century has at least one sign that says "Drugs".

What's in a name?

It really WAS "Grand Central Station" in 1905. Before that, Grand Central Depot. After 1910 and still: Grand Central Terminal. As a transit complex, though, just "Grand Central."

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