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Frosted Fifth: 1905

New York circa 1905. "Fifth Avenue after a snow storm." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

New York circa 1905. "Fifth Avenue after a snow storm." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

This morning in Sunny California

In answer to Ron's request. I hereby present this shot taken a little before noon from my back yard. Actually, we're in a break from what looks to be a gratifyingly wet winter out here.

Picture Windows

Could you do a close-up of those enormous plate glass windows on the right? Might be the biggest single piece of glass I've seen and too ripe a target for bored young vandals - then or today.

This morning

My street looks like this picture this morning and it's still snowing, keep posting Dave!!! And wake up tterrace so he can send some shots of California.

Post Apartments

The building the northeast corner of Fifth and 28th is still there. Built in 1872-74, it's one of the oldest apartment buildings in New York and one of the few surviving French-flat-style apartment blocks.

Unfortunately, much of the lower Fifth Avenue facade has been replaced. It was designed by George B. Post in the Queen Anne style, with brownstone details. The pyramidal crown with dormer windows has been removed.

Knickerbocker Apartments

Number 243-279 is the 12 storey Knickerbocker Apartments (built 1881-84). It was torn down and replaced in 1926-27 by the New York Times Annex building designed by George Pelham.

Jan or Feb of 1905

January of 1905 was notable for two big blizzards that occurred in New York City and environs - one on Jan. 5, and the other on Jan 25. New York was better off than the rural areas because of its underground subway system. Surface-area trains were hard hit, though, because the snow interfered with their electrical systems and shorted out the lines. Coal-powered passenger and freight trains on the Pennsylvania Central and other lines were kept in the city, because of snow drifts in the surrounding areas trapped many cars on the line. Milk supplies in town ran out.

The New York Times has an archive of all its articles dating back to 1851, so anyone interested can read of the many tales of carriages overturned in snowbanks, drunks frozen to death, and snow shovellers dropping dead while trying to clear the streets.

Like a time machine

So clear!

Any Shorpsters living in Manhattan?

It appears the the two buildings on the NE corner of 5th Ave and 27th may still be in existence. Their facades have been denuded considerably, and their windows replaced. But the buildings there now, if these Google views are correct, seem to be of the appropriate height - 4 or 5 stories above the ground floors of the mercantile establishments.

Can anybody "on the street" verify this? It would be a small comfort to know that at least a bit of that century-old elegance has survived. So much else has been bulldozed to be replaced with purely commercial brutalism.

Are there any harness and saddleries left in operation on Fifth Avenue? I wonder when the last one would have closed.

Long Dresses

It looks as if it could be messy wearing a long skirt in winter but, to this day, in really cold weather I wear a long wool skirt under my long wool coat. I find it warmer than any pair of pants I've tried. These ladies had no choice so they were just plain lucky I guess.

Goodbye Dorothy

Five years later, on another cold day, Dorothy Arnold disappeared from this block. She was never found. One of the great mysteries of the 20th century.

243 Fifth Avenue

We have had our last two Chili Cook-Offs on the penthouse roof of the new 243 Fifth Avenue. The Aggie Club of New York and the Texas Exes have been using that space for the last few years. Wonder what these folks would have thought to have heard "The Eyes of Texas" being sung by 450 expat Texans ?

"Outing" again

"Outing" and "Forest and Stream" were the principal outdoor magazines of the day, covering every conceivable sport.

City Sidewalks

I can almost feel the cold stinging my cheek and the fresh snow crunching underfoot.

Anyone who lives in Manhattan today will marvel at the attention paid in to clearing the way for pedestrians, especially at the curb corners.

Fifth at 27th

The view today. Note that Martin's Harness and Saddlery in the 1905 shot is located where the Museum of Sex stands today. Seems appropriate.

View Larger Map

Philly and DC

May look like this Monday morning. The winter of 1904-05 was a severe one east of the Rockies.


Too bad the magazine didn't survive a few more decades to confuse people.

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