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Dream Sequence: 1906

New York circa 1906. "Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, Brooklyn." Shades of Magritte or de Chirico. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

New York circa 1906. "Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, Brooklyn." Shades of Magritte or de Chirico. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.


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Full-size Layout

It's really an early prototype of the Monopoly board game.

Still There

The domed building in the distance is now an HSBC bank. The large building on the far left adjacent to the El still is there too. In fact, most of the buildings depicted along Broadway (as in Brooklyn) on the left side are still there. One thing I find amazing is that these buildings look old and rundown in 1906. When did they ever look new?

Speaking of Belgian surrealists

Instead of René Magritte, I'd rather say Paul Delvaux. He was the one obsessed with railways and streetcars in his paintings.

One detail of trolley operation of note

In the center right of the photo there is a man apparently getting ready to throw a switch in the street trackage. Notice the rod sticking up out of the pavement in front of his little shelter. This function would later be automated with electric switch motors controlled by the streetcar motorman.

B 46 and B 44 Lines

From 1980 to 1990 I worked for the New York Transit Authority as a bus operator. I had on several occasions had to work the Nostrand and Utica Avenue lines, these lines terminated at "Bridge Plaza." Late night Bridge Plaza looked like this minus the overhead contact wire.

I drive

past here every day going to work. Thanks for posting Dave. Here is a postcard image shortly after the el was connected to the bridge.

Ceci n'est pas une streetcar

Great picture. Looks like it was taken from the southeast corner of Havemeyer and South Fifth Street, maybe from a rooftop. That spectacular domed building just behind the Turkish bath is still standing (seems to be a bank now).


I can see in this picture the building I used to live in in around 1991. I also lived at the entrance to the other side of the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan. This area, besides the trolleys being gone and now being clogged with automobiles, has not changed much in the sense there has been little new construction and many of the buildings are intact, albeit in disrepair. There are so many ghost signs in present day Williamsburg and I see they had them back in 1901. Beyond those smokestacks in the background was the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The domed structure is the Williamsburg Savings Bank. Beautiful, thanks Shorpy.

On your mark

I'm wondering how all these good people know where to stand to catch a certain street car.


When I was growing up my mom would see me just standing around and she would ask "What are you doing...waiting for a streetcar?" Now I have a visual of what she was saying.

Shades of Dali

A few melting clocks scattered about, and the image would be complete.

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