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Old New York: 1900

Old New York: 1900

Circa 1900. "A ferry boat, New York." The steamer Cincinnati off Manhattan. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Skyline IDs

Past the left edge of the "Cincinnati" is the Broadway Chambers building, still there at that corner. Just right of the ferry's stack are the tips of the cupolas on the Park Row Building; just left of the stack is the dome of the World building next to the Brooklyn Bridge approach. (Farther right, this pic helps with the identifications.) The guy with his hand on the rail at the front of the upper deck -- Trinity Church is past his arm, and the Gillender Building is past the church. The taller dark tower right of that is Manhattan Life, at 66 Broadway; at the right edge of the pic is the Bowling Green Offices, still there near the end of Broadway.

Toward the right edge of the railings at the left edge of the pic, the light NY Life building that's still there at 346 Broadway.

Stewarts Ferry Food Service

Back when I was a yute I worked in the snack bar on the Staten Island Ferry. Most of the boats I was on were from the 60's and 70's. But one old girl I got to work was the Mary Murray, built in the 1930's. Looked like something from a Popeye cartoon.


I recognize very few of these buildings. That may be Trinity Church about a third of the way from the right, with the Manhattan Municipal Building visible behind it.

East Coast vs. West Coast

The Cincinnati has the round pilothouses (aka wheelhouses) typical of New York harbor ferries during the era, while ferries on the West Coast had square pilothouses like on the ferry Berkeley.

Never could understand the reason for the difference. East Coast vs. West Coast thing, I guess.

Other Hudson/North River Ferries

The great picture of the "Cincinnati" on the North River in 1900 reminds me of the Ramsdell ferries "Newburgh", "Beacon", "Orange" and "Dutchess" that plied the Hudson between Newburgh and Beacon NY up until 1963 when the I-84 bridge first breached the waters. Two of the above had two decks, and the other two, just a single deck. I can never remember which had what.

Similar Ferries

This is an interesting view of a ferry showing very little change in shape or function for well over 100 years. I've used many auto ferries over the years and never considered that they were earlier used to move horse-drawn wagons long before the advent of cars.

Going Up

For 1900, that's actually a pretty darn impressive skyline. To think of what it would become in 100 years probably required quite the imagination at the time.

Happy New Year New York; happy New Year Shorpians!

Citizen Kane, Illustrated

Mr. Bernstein:

One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on a ferry and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it, there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on -- and she was carrying a white parasol -- and I only saw her for one second and she didn't see me at all -- but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl.

2 HP

Note the wagon with what looks to be a two-horse team.

Steamer Cincinnati

Built as railroad ferry for the Pennsylvania RR in 1891. Had a propeller at each end so it did not have to be turned. Notice it also has a bridge at each end.

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