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October 7, 2015

37 Rare and Interesting Vintage Photographs That Capture Street Scenes of New York City in the Early 20th Century

From 1890 to 1930, the larger cities were the focus of national attention. The skyscrapers and tourist attractions were widely publicized. Suburbs existed, but they were largely bedroom communities for commuters to the central city. San Francisco dominated the West, Atlanta dominated the South, Boston dominated New England; Chicago, the nation's railroad hub, dominated the Midwest United States; however, New York City dominated the entire nation in terms of communications, trade, finance, popular culture, and high culture. More than a fourth of the 300 largest corporations in 1920 were headquartered in New York City.

Below is a collection of 37 interesting vintage photographs afford us the opportunity to look back at New York when it was just entering the 20th century.

Children playing in garbage can, ca. 1918

Candy store, ca. 1918

People in front of J. Lacov Woolens, ca. 1900

Fruit pushcarts

Police officer and crowd on Grand Street, ca. 1910

The push-carts selling "Hot Frankfurters 3 cents and 2 for 5 cents" are parked on Broad Street, ca. 1905

Maiden Lane, ca. 1905

Street cleaning, ca. 1910s

Three children with carriage

Boy sitting on stoop

Boy leaning against window

Boys and storefront windows

Child in hat and coat

Looking north on Orchard Street, ca. 1909

Two children near grate

Boy with box near empty pushcarts

Boy in hat

Girl near storefront window

Boy in front of bread shop

Looking North on Elizabeth Street. The crosstown street is Prince (see sign on corner building at right.) Note the street car track on Prince. Street cars crossed town West on Prince and returned East on Spring. Buses now travel the same route.

Street with carriage, cat, car

Street with cars, ca. 1918

Looking north on Mulberry Street from Canal. The building housing the Villa Rosa Cafe (first on left) is one of the few in the photo no longer in existence. It is now part of the site of the Rectory of the Church of the Most Precious Blood. The cornerstone of the Church (113 Baxter Street, with the property running through to Mulberry) has the date 1901, but the Mulberry Street rectory is of more recent construction.

Looking north on Mulberry Street between Canal and Hester. The number on the store window at right is 126 Mulberry Street.The building has been modernized in recent years and is Vitale's Florist Shop, F. Vitale, proprietor.

High angle view of street

Looking east on East Houston. The street on the right, where the street lamp is, is Orchard, 1939.

Looking north on Orchard St from Delancey

Stamped Weissner Studio Corner of Elizabeth and Prince Streets, looking north on Elizabeth. The lights strung overhead along Elizabeth are in celebration of a feast day, probably that of St. Anthony of Padua which is celebrated the week of June 13th, ca. 1937.

Looking north on Orchard Street between Stanton and Rivington. The light colored building on the left with the decorative balconies is 159-161 Orchard.

East Houston and Orchard Street, 1939

Surf Avenue in front of Sea Breeze

Pushcart in front of meat market

Man and girl in front of shop

Little girl on sidewalk near elevated subway

Pushcart Boulevard Lower East Side, 1932

Typical old law tenements, 1907

Open door next to storefronts


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