Building Broadway: Incredible Photographs from 1920
Here we are in the midst of the holiday season. The city was blanketed with snow this weekend and shoppers are frantically working through their holiday gift-giving lists. For today’s Building Broadway post, I’d like to share a wonderful gift that was left to all of us almost 100 years ago: Arthur Hosking’s photographs of Broadway taken in the spring of 1920.
All photographs and captions in this post are courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York‘s online collection.
If you ever wondered what the beautiful Grace Church and Rectory looked like on March 9, 1920, you’re in luck. The complex is a city, state, and national landmark and you can read more about its history on our Resources page.
This photo also features the side of a recent Building Broadway favorite, 808 Broadway, which now houses a costume shop and apartments.
Life sure was bustling on May 27, 1920 on this stretch of Broadway north of 10th Street. The former McCreery & Co. Dry Goods store, captured at the end of the row and across the intersection, still exists today. A particular favorite in this photo is the young man who is riding the delivery truck at the lower left-hand corner. Think you’d see that today on Broadway?
See how this stretch of Broadway has changed over 90 years later. You’ll hardly recognize it.
Here’s a great photo showing an era when trolley service ran up and down Broadway. This section is included in the NoHo Historic District, which was designated in 1999.
See how this stretch has changed over 90 years later. That charming two-story building at the corner sadly didn’t make it.
More trolleys and automobiles for all of you transportation lovers out there. This shot includes the lower floors of the Cable Building at the corner of Broadway and Houston Street, part of the NoHo Historic District and, no doubt, a future Building Broadway feature! You can also catch the buildings of SoHo in the background; they now form part of the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.
See how this stretch has changed over 90 years later.
Broadway wasn’t always full of tall loft buildings dedicated to commerce and manufacturing. Up until the mid-19th century, it was known as a fashionable residential thoroughfare. Though covered in signage in this shot, the 3 1/2-story Federal building at the corner of Broadway and West 3rd Street is a visual reminder of this residential past.
See how this stretch has changed more than 90 years later. If you’re familiar with this intersection, you’ll know that our little Federal (and its immediate neighbors) didn’t survive.
Did you spot the Woolworth Building in the background? Celebrating its 100 birthday this year, the soaring terra-cotta office building – the tallest in the world at that time – was a mere 7 years old when Arthur Hosking took this photo on May 27, 1920.
Let’s end where we began with a view of Grace Church. Looking north on Broadway, you can just catch a glimpse of the existing Wanamaker’s department store, part of the NoHo Historic District, on the far right. Perhaps even more interesting is seeing the original Wanamaker’s (now demolished) just north of the later building.
See how this stretch has changed more than 90 years later. By the way, anyone else concerned about that man making a dash across the street?
From Lower Manhattan all the way up to Yonkers, the Museum of the City of New York holds many more Hosking photos of Broadway. You can search through them to your heart’s content here. Happy holidays and see you again for more Building Broadway in the new year!