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Fifth Avenue Stage: 1900

New York circa 1900. "A Fifth Avenue stage." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

New York circa 1900. "A Fifth Avenue stage." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


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It certainly looks strange that there is no breeching on the harness. Maybe they never thought they would have to back up the wagon. At least no one had decided to put diapers on the pretty horses like they have in many cities these days.

Also, the wagon/omnibus/ whatever, has no through braces so it must have been a bear to ride in.


I passed this image along to my wife, as I do with many which have horses and carriages. She drives a couple of carriages herself and so has a bit of expertise. Her comment:

"WOW...or more rightly WHOA...Never ever seen a "big rig" driving harness WITHOUT a saddle, side straps, britchen, etc...these horses just have the neck collar. Good grief Charlie Brown!"

Demise of the 5th Avenue Coach Co.

That firm went bankrupt back in around 1955-1960, and with it, all of the pensions of former and existing employees. The grandfather of a friend of mine was a victim.

Perfectly in step

Beautiful team of horses who know exactly what they are doing.
Whenever a team of two (horses or humans) is carrying or pulling a shared load they must be in step so far as stride and gait are concerned, but must be a mirror image or each will be fighting the other for control of the load.
It's not at all the same as the "in step" we learned in the military for marching.

A Gripping Tale

I kind of feel sorry for the guy in the middle up on top. The men to either side of him are clearly gripping the side rail, but he doesn't have anything to hold onto except ... wait a second -- is that an iPhone he's holding?

Cross Chambers

According to New York Songlines site, the Mark Cross store/Cross Chambers dates to 1901. And the building next to it on the corner of 26th Street would have been Cafe Martin, formerly Delmonico's. An interesting wideangle view of the corner can be seen here dating from around 1911. Unfortunately not in as high a resolution as the images here.

Sic transit gloria mundi

You wouldn't see these magnificent (if dangerous) horse carriages galloping up and down Fifth Avenue much longer at the time this photo was taken. 1900 was the year that the NY State Senate approved a bill allowing the Fifth Avenue Stage to run automobiles along the length of its newly-extended route (up to 110th St.) By 1903, the horse carriages had been retired for "motor buses."

This was a relief to the residents of the apartment blocks near the "big stable" of the Fifth Avenue Stage located uptown. The stables took up the whole block between 88th and 89th Streets, were four stories tall, and housed over 250 horses. Its neighbors were continually filing complaints with the city because of the "noxious odors", as well as perpetual stamping and neighing of horses in their stalls, which made sleep impossible.

Cross Chambers, with its shop cat in the window, 210 Fifth Avenue, was a 12 story building with the Cross business establishment on the four lowest floors, and "Bachelor Apartments" above. While considered imposing at the time of its opening, it was soon to be dwarfed by the first iron-framed "skyscraper," that would soon be constructed a block away. Construction of the Flatiron Building, at 175 Fifth Avenue, began in 1901 and was finished a year later. The Manhattan skyline would never be the same.

210 Fifth Avenue

This shot was taken just one block south of where Detroit Publishing had its offices (seen here and here previously). The building with the ornate details and "Cross" in the window still stands at 210 Fifth Avenue.

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This is what the ride to hell feels like

I don't know what amazes me more, how high the thing rides or how low it is sitting on the axles.

Left, right, left

Which horse is out of step?

A real New York bargain!

The townhouse in the former Mark Cross building at 210 Fifth Avenue is yours -- for $18,500 a month!

Last days of the omnibus

What a fantastic image! The street railway had largely replaced the horse-drawn omnibus in most cities by the dawn of the 20th century, but they persisted in places, like Fifth Ave., where tracks couldn't be laid in the street. The horses were retired when Fifth Avenue Coach became one of the country's earliest motor bus routes in 1907.

I love the details of the building, the street lighting, etc. -- truly the "City Beautiful."

Cat in the window

He seems to be watching the world go by. Wonder what he thinks of two horses being harnessed and forced to pull a lot of humans around the streets of New York. Might be, "My peeps can't even get me to walk on a leash with them."

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