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Gotham Hotel: 1905

Gotham Hotel: 1905

New York circa 1905. "Gotham and St. Regis hotels." Looking south along Fifth Avenue at East 56th Street. On the right, the Gotham rising behind Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.


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The car in the photo is not a De Dion Bouton. The hood shape, the lack of a curved front axle, the missing hood louvers, the absence of the horizontal chassis piece in front of the radiator, and other details point to another marque.

The automobile appears to be a Charron, Girardot et Voigt which was known by the initials C.G.V. The C.G.V. in the photo below has all of the attributes that are nonextant in the De Dion Bouton photo. Additionally, although faint, details in the Gotham car, such as the hinges for the door on top of the hood, the hinges for the entire hood, the handle for the door on the front of the hood, the makers plate on the dashboard, and the shape of the dashboard, all match the C.G.V. photo. Also shown below is a another view of the same Gotham car from another angle taken the same day which was found in the Library of Congress photo collection.

The car seems to be

A De Dion Bouton. Although does not have the characteristic shroud louvers.

Dancing buildings

I like how the Gotham has a setback at the top, while the St. Regis has a corresponding overhang.

That Car

Who can identify it? At first I thought Renault (seen here on Shorpy), maybe a Type AG taxi, but the radiator in this photo is up front instead of behind the motor, as on a Renault.

[Maybe someone at the New Jersey DMV can look up 11045? - Dave]


Below is the identical perspective from April of 2006.


What a vista! Fifth Avenue was the creme-de-la-creme of NYC at the turn of the 20th century (and still is in many respects). You can see St. Thomas on the right at 53rd street, and the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral on the left at 50th street. The spire directly above the parked auto doesn't exist anymore -- not sure what church it belonged to.


I've worked in this area for more than a decade. It's hard to imagine sometimes that it was once primarily a residential neighborhood.

Absolutely Stunning!

Now THIS is what I call a picture, the detail is incredible. As I stare into the scene I just imagine myself walking these streets everyday. I think my neck would hurt most of the time from looking up at the gorgeous building details. I experience this same problem a couple of summers ago when my wife and I spent a few days in NY. I kept nearly running into things and people because I was always looking up!

Soul Street

No restaurants nearby, but plenty of churches for your spiritual needs.

Horseless carriage

Wow! This must be one of the earliest autos. Could it be a Duryea? In 1905 even in a downtown NYC, only one auto on a busy city street, within a few years most of the horses would be gone. Great snapshot of the beginning of the automobile in America.

Grandes Dames

The St Regis and Gotham Hotels still stand at their exact locations 105 years later. The only change, the name of the Gotham, it is now the Peninsula. Both are high end digs.

Fifth Avenue

Doesn't look much different today.

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