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The Wild Bunch: 1905

New York circa 1905. "Unloading at banana docks." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

New York circa 1905. "Unloading at banana docks." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
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Sixty Wall Building

The tallest building on that photo is Sixty Wall Building. Built 1905, razed 1975 along with other buildings. Until 1987 a parking lot. 60 Wall Street built in 1989 is there now.


I love Shorpy and often feature the pictures on my blog - here's a little writeup I did after the reaction I got to posting this picture.

Proto AT&T

Can anyone identify the tallest building in the picture? Pretty conspicuous for this era but I've never seen it before.


The present banana variety does not taste nearly so good as the one I ate as a boy. I loved those bananas. The new variety I eat only as an addition to some other dish. BTW, I heard the other day bananas are Walmart's biggest selling item. Second: Avatar.

A bunch of ...

Took me a moment to grasp the "Wild Bunch" allusion. I was too busy thinking "Torrid Zone" (basically, The Front Page on a banana plantation), and wondering if Jimmy Cagney had gotten that shipment loaded.

Many bananas later

Image from Google Street View: Looks like only one building from those days survived. Here it is in a shot near FDR Drive, looking up Wall Street. I knew the Shorpy photo was taken near there, because the Hemmenway sail company was located at the foot of Wall Street.


Magnetic hats -- who'd have thought.

Same scene in 1954

February 1954 at New Orleans, our Navy destroyer tied up next to an unloading banana boat where bunches that were yellow were discarded at the dock. We had a field day until we got sick of them.

Yes, we have no bananas

These must be the "Big Mike" (Gros Michel) variety of banana. Susceptible to a fungus, it was virtually extinct by 1960.

Day, me say day, me say day......

Come Mister tally man, tally me banana....

Hey Mr. Tally Man!

Judging by everyone's faical expressions, nobody wants to be on that damn boat.

Bananas R Us

There certainly are a lot of serious men with a deep and abiding interest in bananas. I presume they are the brokers or buyers of bananas. It also appears that the bananas were unloaded by hand from the hold of the ship. No nets or other mechanical devices appear to be in use that might damage the fruit.

Hemmenway's Sail Loft

Recreation, Vol. 3, 1895

S. Hemmenway & Son,

60 South St., New York City.

Yacht and Canoe Sails.
Flags and Burgees.

Canvas Covers and Camp Furniture of Every Description.
Send 5-cent stamp for our Tent and Flag Catalogue.

Old Time Bananas

These bananas look to be of different shape (more like plantains) than the modern commercially available variety.

They are probably "Gros Michel"(Big Mike), which were the bananas commercially exported before "Panama disease" fungus ravaged commercial banana plantations. The switch was made to a resistant variety (Cavendish) in the 1950s and that variety has become ubiquitous at least in North America. Supposedly, the older Gros Michel bananas were better tasting, but I've yet to have one.

What a fantastic picture

All the detail. All the action.

All the people standing around doing nothing.

Normal life

I love that this photo doesn't look staged. It's just real life, capturing a second in time, long ago.

The ship on the right is listing to port, probably unloading cargo.


I think the guy in the bowler on the right is packing a Colt under his coat.

Work Ethic

Wow, it never changes does it: A bunch of people standing around while one or two people do all the work! Ha!

Watch your step!

That dock looks like a pratfall waiting to happen.

Oh yes, we have bananas

I hope the guy in the white shirt made enough money that day to buy the other suspender and the other half of his haircut.

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