New York Times Building Under Construction

The Times Square Building as it appeared during its construction, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

204_1904c-loc

The building in 2014:

204_2014

As mentioned in this post, the New York Times Building is literally a shell of its former self.  Because of its narrow dimensions, it is more profitable to rent out the outside of the billboards, than to rent out the interior for offices.  Today, only the ground floor is used; as of 2014, it was the home to a Walgreens.  It looks completely different from the 1904 photo; it wasn’t even completed, and it still easily towered over its surroundings at Times Square.  Both the building and the square were named after the New York Times, and although the paper moved to a new location in 1913, the name stuck.

Seeing New York City, at the Flatiron Building

New York tours at the Flatiron Building, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

186_1904c-loc

The same scene in 2014:

186_2014

New York City sightseeing tours are nothing new, although the vehicles in the 1904 photo hardly resemble the tour buses that now roam the streets of New York.  Taken along the Fifth Avenue side of the Flatiron Building, the 1904 vehicles advertise that tours start at the “Flat Iron Building,” even though the sign above the door of the building is marked with its then-official name, the Fuller Building.  The vehicles also state “Telephone Connection,” which I presume means that the tour offices have a telephone.  One would think that the number would also be provided, though, but perhaps back then all one needed to do was tell the operator to connect them with “Seeing New York.”  The tour buses also look incredibly dangerous – there are no seat belts or other safety equipment, and it’s a long way down if anyone falls off.  I don’t know what eventually became of the company, but the Flatiron Building is still there, as is the other building visible to the right.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, New York City

The view of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, looking east on 23rd Street in New York City, in 1900. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

184_1900c-loc

The same view in 2014:

184_2014

Prior to the construction of the tower, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was headquartered in the 11-story building at the corner of Madison Avenue and 23rd Street.  It was built in 1893, and appears to dominate over its surroundings.  However, as seen here, it was soon dwarfed by the tower when it was completed in 1909.  It was demolished in the 1950s and replaced with the current, nondescript concrete and glass structure at the same location.

As an interesting historical note, the building in the 1900 photo has a banner on it that reads “Headquarters Republican National Committee,” and a huge banner over 23rd Street to promote the candidacy of William McKinley for president and Theodore Roosevelt for vice president.  They would go on to win the election in the fall, and a year later Roosevelt became president after McKinley’s assassination.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, New York City

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, between 1909 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

185_1900-1915-loc

The same building in 2014:

185_2014

Completed in 1909, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Woolworth Building in 1913.  It was the company’s headquarters until 2005, and the tower portion is now being converted into a hotel.  At the base of the tower in the first photo, to the right, is the original office building, which built in 1893 and replaced by the current one in the 1950s.

Flatiron Building, New York City

The view of the Flatiron Building around 1902. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

181_1902c-loc.tif

The same scene in 2014:

181_2014

Another view of the Flatiron Building, looking south with Broadway on the left and Fifth Avenue on the right.  Besides the Flatiron Building, a few other ones still exist from the 1902 photo, including the  building with the gold dome to the right, and the short, yellow brick building just beyond the Flatiron Building along Broadway.  Notice the horse-drawn cabs along the side of Broadway – this photo was taken from almost the same location as this one, except in the road instead of along the sidewalk.

Flatiron Building from Madison Square Park, New York City

View of the Flatiron Building around 1903. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The same view in 2014:

182_2014

Built in 1902 on a triangular plot of land between Broadway and Fifth Avenue at Madison Square, the Flatiron Building remains one of New York’s most distinctive skyscraper.  At the time of its completion, it was one of the first skyscrapers outside of the downtown area, and the first north of 14th Street, which set the stage for subsequent skyscrapers that now dominate the midtown skyline.