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Chatham Square: 1905

Chatham Square: 1905

New York City circa 1905. "'L' Station, Chatham Square." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
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Theater Lore

We still have a functioning Proctor's here in Schenectady NY, with a defunct one in nearby Troy, NY. Our theater was completely refurbished, including 'Goldie", the grand organ.

Chinese Tuxedo

On the wall slightly to the left of center in the frame is a sign for the "Chinese Tuxedo" restaurant seen here. Doyers Street by the turn of the century was a major center in Chinatown; the other end of this short street appeared here on Shorpy.

Proctor's Pleasure Palace

Yes, "Ladies in the Afternoon" means exactly what you think it does: discount theater tickets for families at a popular vaudeville house of the day.

The Union County Standard NJ newspaper for 2/17/1899 helpfully explains: "The new venture at the Palace of giving ladies in the afternoon the best seats for 25c is proving extremely popular and the result is the big Palace is filled every matinee with ladies and children."

I guess the Palace was forced to cut its prices by 15 cents by 1905.

An 1899 view of the audience:

Chatham Square

Chatham Square in the Bowery was the heart NYC's popular theater and public amusements in the late 1800s. It got rougher and raunchier, and for most of 20th century was home to derelicts, drunkards, served by many bars and flophouses and famous missions, to feed and save the men that haunted its shadows.

Proctor's 58th Street was a vaudeville house, one of several Proctor Theaters, later part of the Keith's Circuit, then RKO.

The brewery shown in the color film of the 3rd Avenue "L" was Jacob Ruppert's. Jake owned the New York Yankees. The last product of the brewery was marketed as Ruppert's "Knickerbocker Beer," which sponsored NY Giants games in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Ladies in the Afternoon

So just what do you get for your 10 cents at Proctor's?

Chinatown Today

What a difference 100 years makes.

Parsons Printery

I'd stop off at the Printery before I took the train uptown to Proctor's at 58th Street. Then I'd go visit a neighborhood Fruiterer before returning home to Chinatown.

Lovely video of 3rd Avenue El.

Afternoon Ladies

"Go to Proctor's 58th Street, Ladies in the Afternoon 10 cents" -- Can anyone explain this?

Classy stack

I get a kick out of the lion heads gracing the smokestack.

On the Clubhouse turn

Notice that the horses are running clockwise in the illustration, the way they still run in Europe. Belmont ran clockwise until 1921, when they changed course to counterclockwise, which is the direction all horse racing in the United States is run. The Belmont Stakes was already 38 years old when the new Belmont Park opened to great fanfare in 1905, and is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, inaugurated in 1867, 8 years before the Kentucky Derby. Over a hundred years later a day at Belmont is still a great way to while away the afternoon under the beautiful trees.


Check out Google Maps street view for Chatham Square. You will be astounded at how many of the buildings are still there. Interesting to note is that even in this picture, many of the buildings look old. I wonder how old some of these "high rises" were in 1905. I have to believe they were already 30 years old, minimum, at the time of this photograph. Also, for you non-New Yorkers, this area is at the edge of Chinatown today. No sign of it in 1905.

Chatham Sq. today

A few buildings still stand, as seen on Google Street View

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Ladies in the afternoon

Only 10¢. Hmmmm.

Going to the Track?

1905 was the first year for racing at Belmont Park.

I would die happy

if I could go back and spend an hour or so in Barnum's Old Bargain House. I wonder if he would accept Visa?

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