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Broadway Blizzard: 1905

New York, 1905. "Piles of snow on Broadway after storm." Funny-sign photobomb! 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

New York, 1905. "Piles of snow on Broadway after storm." Funny-sign photobomb! 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Interesting left side of the street

The block between West 29th and West 30th streets, today the site of the Virgin Hotel was home to a prominent theater row. Daly's Theatre started as theater-museum built by John Banvard, where the “Three-Mile Painting”, a gigantic moving panorama of the Mississippi River, said to be the world’s longest painting, has been exposed.
Below an image of a moving panorama, in the article "John Banvard and His Panorama" in Scientific American magazine in 1848.

Fear Not

The New Grand Hotel proclaims on the side wall signage 'Fire Proof'.
Presumably this is referring to the Hotel itself, in which case we can rest assured that it was as safe as the 'unsinkable' Titanic, a few years hence.

Hofbräu is one of the smallest Munich breweries

Hopefully it was the real thing served here and not a locally made ripoff. The real Hofbräu brewery is owned by the Bavarian Government, one of two that I know of, the other being Weihenstephaner (St. Stephens) brewed in Freising, north of Munich. Hofbräu was founded in the 17th century to provide beer to the court of the Elector of Bavaria,and the name means "court beer". Weihenstephaner is a little less straight forward. It's alleged that the beer is the oldest in Germany, originally brewed by monks at the Weihenstephaner monastery in Freising. The monastery may have had imperial immediacy, meaning it was its own microscopic country within the Holy Roman Empire. Certainly, the surrounding Archbishopric of Freising was a good sized ecclesiastical principality. In 1803, the HRE kicked all church princes off their thrones, and Bavaria quickly took over everything, including the monastery and the brewery. The monks were told to leave. Then in 1918, the Bavarian king lost his throne, and the state government took over the brewery and still operates it.

Brewers Star

The six pointed star is also known as the Brewers Star. It is biblical without being Jewish; King Solomon was a brewer, and many brewers used this symbol branding it on their kegs. It was supposed to represent purity. It didn't hurt that many of New York's brewers were Jewish (Liebmann = Rheingold Koehler = Fidelio) but this place was serving HB - or Hoffbrau House - imported from Munich.

In the long run, it just wasn't Kosher!

Voyeur or ne'er do well?

So, is the guy on the left checking out the woman he’s just passed hoping for a flash of ankle or is he a ne'er do well looking over his shoulder to see if the man in the double breasted coat and peaked cap is a following policeman (doesn’t look like one to me)?

Also - what *is* an ‘earlap’? Google gives me plenty of images of straps and flaps but no ‘laps’. I can’t imagine you’d want earflaps on a Summer hat and a strap usually goes under the chin. I’m imagining little loops that go under the ears - not practical for people without earlobes and probably not comfortable for people with.

[That archaic resource known as a dictionary relates the following. - Dave]


Seems like the Sarnoff Hat Stores were the Starbucks of their day -- three stores on Broadway within 11 blocks!

Is that Guy Fawkes

driving the cab?

Hats for sale?

Has anyone noticed that the sign is placed directly across the sidewalk from 1211 Broadway? This is the business of Marcus & Marcus, MEN'S FURNISHINGS. I suggest that would include hats, straw and otherwise.

[Directly across 1211 would be a couple of snow-piles to the rear. The Sarnoff Hat Store is out of frame to the left, at 1205 Broadway. - Dave]

Re: Sarnoff sign

I think it’s funny that jepkid thinks the Sarnoff sign was photoshopped into this picture either by Dave or some previous photo handler. The only manipulation of this sign was performed by human hands in 1905 when those hands stuffed the sign into the pile of snow. The only shopping involved would have been at the hat store itself. Actual shopping for photos would have happened at Sol Young across the street.

[Below, a closeup of the sign. Click to embiggen. - Dave]

Grand Hotel is Still There

The Grand Hotel is located at 1232–1238 Broadway at the corner of West 31st Street. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.


I'm assuming that Dave simply doesn't want to spend his time taking the bait, but I'll comment on the putatively photoshopped sign because it segues into a bigger issue that I find very interesting.

In this case, one can simply look at the LOC high resolution original to see that the sign has not been photoshopped by anyone. Of course, the LOC could have faked it, but then we could just look at the glass negative to disprove that conspiracy theory.

Anyhow, the bigger issue is what will occur in the future (hopefully not in my lifetime) where a faked image or video will be absolutely indistinguishable from a real one, and any controversy such as the one regarding this hat sign will only be solved by a preponderance of opinion. It is already theoretically possible, since digital imagery is made of pixels dictated by binary code, and there is no difference between ones and zeros that are created "naturally" or artificially. The implications are frightening.

Times Tower in the Distance

In the far distance, seemingly standing in the middle of Broadway, is the just completed Times Tower, on the far side of 42nd Street. This Gothic Revival skyscraper was designed by C. L. W. Eidlitz and Andrew McKenzie and built in 1903-1905. When the New York Times moved into its new home, the name of the square behind it was changed from Longacre Square to Times Square. The Times Tower is still standing today but completely unrecognizable. It is best known as the place where the ball drops at midnight on New Year's Eve.

Old even then!

Agree with Doug on Maurice Rogaliner. The left side of the street was probably replaced within a decade or two of the photo; 2009 Street View shows all blocky 1920s piles. But there's one other recognizable building in the photo that's still standing -- and it was already pushing 40 in 1905!

Disunswelterized straw

The social standards that led to the Straw Hat Riot seventeen years thence apparently did not exist in 1905. No need for "earlaps" (if they are what I think they are) when your boater is not going to survive past September 15. Hopefully, the attachments were connected by a nice, warm felt or knit beanie to do the job properly.

Or you could invest in a Stormy Kromer for winter wear. They've been around since 1903, but were/are likely far too stylish for the average New Yorker.

Hofbrau Star

I am captivated by the Hofbrau Haus building with its prominent Star of David on the facade. Would love to know more.

Great Winter Photo!

Makes me want to wear a straw hat as I take a stroll through a pile of cold, wet, snow. The man, on the right, driving the horse drawn "cab" is looking at the photographer as he wears a black top hat.

Thanks for posting this neat photograph!

On Broadway steht ein Hofbräuhaus

Eins, zwei, g'suffa!

Sarnoff sign

Why would you photo-shop the Sarnoff sign in the picture?

[Seriously? - Dave]

Blow the picture up, and look at the focus compared to the rest of the picture, look at the edges of the sign. I'm not saying you photo shopped it, but somebody did.

[Um, no. Click the link below. - Dave]

Well, the evidence certainly supports you. Maybe the current state of the world just makes me overly suspicious ...

A Sign Planted in a Heap of Irony

"Earlaps" on a straw boater -- now that's something I'd like to see.

Or reading the marquee at Wallack's Theater

The man at far left is walking on an icy sidewalk while craning his head around to look behind him. My guess is he is admiring the receding woman in the heavy coat.

This is Broadway between 29th and 30th Streets, looking north. Brickwork detail on the three-story building, painted white at right confirms this is the Maurice Rogaliner building in the 1905 photograph. Most everything else has changed. Everything on the immediate left is definitely gone; a glass and steel skyscraper is going up in its place.

Sol Young Photography

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